By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER
Keep your Mum Festival energy going, the 49 annual Mum-A-Thon Road Race, one of the oldest continuously held races in Connecticut, will return on Sunday, Oct. 21, at St. Paul Catholic High School, 1001 Stafford Ave.
Andrew Barton took over as organizer in 2016, after learning that the Bristol Sports Hall of Fame planned to “shelf the race” in 2015. He partnered with the Veterans Strong Community Center, a 501(c)(3) run by Donna Dognin, and together they have hosted the race for three years.
“Bristol has a lot of neat traditions and this is one of them, we want to keep it going,” said Barton.
Dognin agreed, saying that the history of the road race and “the history of Bristol in general,” motivated her to want to take part in the Mum-A-Thon.
“The Mum-A-Thon and the Mum Festival are very important to the city. The veterans are very important to this city, so I think it was a good fit to be involved,” said Dognin. “It really has turned into the biggest fundraiser for the center right now.”
All of the funds that are raised will benefit The VSCC, a regional information and resource center for veterans, service members, and their families.
Barton explained that there will be two races; one that will follow an 8 kilometer course (roughly 5 miles), which is timed, and a brand new course that is one mile, named The Monster Mile, which will not be timed.
Runners in the 8 km race will be competing for the top three fastest times, as new this year, the first three men and the first three women to cross the finish line will walk away with a cash prize. First place will receive $150, second place will receive $100, and third place will receive $50. And, all six winners will walk away with the signature, glow-in-the-dark, mummy trophy.
Each of the six mummy trophies are hand cut and painted. Barton said that Home Depot, one of the sponsors, gives him the lumber; Staples prints the mummies; members of the Bristol Senior Center woodshop paste the mummies on the lumber to stencil and carve the shape; and then they are painted and sealed.
“I get giddy [when I see them] because they’re so cool looking,” said Barton. “And, where else are you going to go to find those?”
Before the Mum-A-Thon offered the Monster Mile, there was a 5 km (roughly 3 mile) course that offered trick-or-treating stations. Now, Barton said, there will be trunk-or-treating held in the parking lot of the high school. If pre-registered, trunk-or-treating is included in the entry fee, if not, trunk-or-treating will cost $5.
Trunk-or-treating is open to all community organizations and companies that would like a chance to interact more directly with the public.
The wearing of costumes is welcome and encouraged, as Barton said, “It’s a Halloween-themed event, you have to come in costume, and when you see the costumes, some of them are just fantastic!”
Participants who pre-register for the 8 km will have a $25 entry fee, and pre-registered Monster Mile runners will have a $15 fee. It will cost $30 or $20, respectively, on race day. Monster Mile participants under the age of 4 can enter for free. Pre-registered runners also receive a glow-in-the-dark race day shirt, featuring the mummy mascot.
The night before race day, there will be a pasta dinner held at Nuchies, 164 Central St. Tickets are $15 for attendees aged 14 or older, children between the ages of 5 and 13 can attend for $10, and children under the age of 5 are free. Tickets are available at the Veterans Strong Community Center, located in City Hall, City True Value Hardware (Farmington Avenue, Bristol), or through Paypal, via firstname.lastname@example.org. All funds raised will benefit the Veterans Strong Community Center.
For more information regarding the Mum-A-Thon road race, visit www.bristolct.net/roadraces/Mumathon.aspx.
Comments? Email tmurchison@BristolObserver.com.