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5k_race_04_ 3.jpg (201814 bytes) 3rd ANNUAL "BRENDAN'S HOME RUNTM" KEEPS THE WINNING PACE
This Year's Father's Day Event Once Again A Success



 BELMONT, MA.   The Brendan Grant FoundationTM once again proved that it can go the distance with another picture-perfect Father's Day event.  The third annual "Brendan's Home RunTM" 5K race/walk was held on Sunday, 20 June and 5k_race_04_ 1.jpg (226849 bytes) raised additional funds to benefit charities supported by the Foundation, including The Brendan Grant Scholarship Fund.  It was all smiles and sunshine, with a great crowd on hand.

This year the final participant count has topped out at approximately 900 runners, walkers, and kids in the youth race, and this doesn’t include the estimated 70 plus hard-working volunteers, which brings the event grand total to just under a thousand attendees. The increase over the approximate  550 participants from last year is noteworthy, and because of the extensive pre-event planning, all went 5k_race_04_12a.jpg (41754 bytes) relatively smoothly. 

The theme for 2004 was "go the distance" and the first 760 applicants received a T-Shirt that included those words commemorating the event.   Meanwhile, in a tribute consistent with the day's theme, a banner was prominently displayed for everyone to sign as a gift to5k_race_04_2.jpg (201111 bytes) local legend and high school track champion Victor Gras, BHS class of 2004, who was away attending the U.S. Nationals in North Carolina where he placed second in the country the previous night.

 In this year's race the best overall time was claimed by repeat champion Dan Vassallo of Wilmington, MA at 16:31, which also places him as the best time for a male runner.  Dan was in top form, and is a track star who is now attending Colby College.  Dan just missed setting a new course record in the male category, which is 16:21 set in 2002 by Jon Rosen.  The overall female winner of the day was Lauren Caputo of Belmont, MA with a time of 19:50, who beat the second place female runner, Liz Brown also of Belmont, by 2/10ths of a second.  This is a new course record for the top female runner, which was previously set in 2002 also by Lauren Caputo at 20:35.  
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All the times for the  runners who completed the course are now posted on coolrunning.com.  Perhaps the most impressive times of the day were the fastest runners in the very young and very old categories, with 11 year old Jamie Fischer of Belmont posting an impressive time of 21:50.4, and equally impressive was the time of 26:58.9 by John DiComandrea of Revere who is still going strong at 76 years of age.

The event had something for everyone, regardless of age or skill.. The 3.1 – mile walk began at 9:30 a.m.; the5k_race_04_4.jpg (149092 bytes) wheelchair category started one minute prior to the 5K runners at 9:59 am; the 5K road race starting gun was fired promptly at 10 a.m.; and the 400/800 – meter races for children ages 6-8 and 9-12 began once the runners cleared the track area. There were six categories for the 5K road race entrants for both male and female runners – 19 and under, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, and 60 and over.  

5k_race_04_14.jpg (96429 bytes) The wheelchair division was won by Masashi Shinoda at 23:20, and in keeping with the event's family theme, trophies were also  awarded to the fastest parent/child tandems.  First place in this category was won by Will and Rae Brownsberger of Belmont with a combined time of 41:33, followed second by Tim and Michael Stratford of Belmont at 44:01, and with third place captured by Apo and Garineh Ashjian of Belmont at 45:48.  Among the crowd favorites were some unexpected runners who turned in amazingly fast times, with perhaps the most notable standout being the second place finisher in the under 19 male category with the afore-mentioned eleven-year old James Fisher, who had an eye-catching time of 21:50 and placed 57th in the overall field.

The following is a summary of top runners in each category:5k_race_04_15.jpg (67628 bytes)

Men
1. Dan Vassallo, Wilmington 16:31 (back-to-back champion) 
2. Carmen Monks, Belmont 16:57 (fastest Belmontian of the day) 
3. Robert Cipriano, Belmont 17:12 
4. Jack Fahey, Belmont 17:18 
5. Larry Olsen, Milford 17:42 
Women 
1. Lauren Caputo, Belmont 19:50 (new course record) 
2. Liz Brown, Belmont 19:50 
3. Judy Sears, Stratham, NH 20:15 5k_race_04_5.jpg (153109 bytes)
4. Karin Koehn, Somerville 20:23 
5. Pamela Mann, Lexington 21:01 

Wheelchair 
1. Masashi Shinoda, Belmont 23:20 

Parent/Child teams 
1. Will and Rae Brownsberger, Belmont 41:33 
2. Tim and Michael Stratford, Belmont 44:01 
3. Apo and Garineh Ashjian, Watertown 45:48

The 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners of each specific age bracket for female and male runners are as follows: 

Female overall winner - Lauren Caputo; 19 and under - Bridget Sears, Kristi Caputo, Rae Brownsberger; 20 to 29 - Liz Brown, Caitlin O'Connor, Leanne Smith; 30 to 39 - Karin Koehn, Betsy Lipson, Karingaggi Destefanis; 40 to 49 - Judy Sears, Pamela Mann, Diane Monteith; 50 to 59 - Diane McLaughlin, Norma Deproso, Arlene Taylor; 60 and over - Sue Rasala.
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 Male overall winner - Dan Vassallo; 19 and under - Jimmy Siracusa, James Fisher, Thomas Hernon; 20 to 29 - Chris Stager, Bryan LeDuc, Ben Johnston; 30 to 39 - Carmen Monks, Joe O'Leary, Marcus Alexanser; 40 to 49 - Robert Cipriano, Jack Fahey, Frank Row; 50 to 59 - Laurence Olsen, George Snowdon, Bruno Gallinelli; 60 and over - Joseph Pellegrino, Joseph Drugan, Richard Paulsen.

As far as funds generated for the charitable causes of The Brendan Grant Foundation, it will take some time to do the accounting, but at this time it appears we've been able to raise more than $20,000... well in excess of what was raised last year.  This year a special tip of the hat goes to the Belmont Little League and their 9 through 12 year olds players, in which 17 teams took the initiative to raise pledges totaling more than $7,000.  One team in particular, the minor league team "Rangers", raised an amazing $1,113 on their own!  In similar fashion, the single highest pledge amount raised by any single individual outside these teams was from Robin Grant, who raised a 2004 record $1,300 in individual pledges... way to go Robin!5k_race_04_ 9.jpg (114810 bytes)

Each year “Brendan’s Home Run” has continued to grow, and last year over 550 individuals participated either as a runner, walker,  volunteer, or in the youth races. One significant enhancement for this year’s race over earlier races is that the course is now officially measured and certified in accordance with the guidelines of the U.S.A Track & Field (USATF certification code MA03028RN©).  For any serious runner this is a big plus, and any records that are set are eligible for higher qualification.    A printable color map of the course can be obtained by clicking here (and you can obtain additional directions from Mapquest).

5k_race_04_ 8.jpg (117537 bytes) Everyone who has participated this year or in the past will tell you that the recently accredited 5K course is an ideal layout. With plenty of shade and primarily flat, it allows the best runners to capture excellent times. Starting and  finishing at the newly refurbished High School Track – which provides a perfect staging area – the course loops out through the Winnbrook neighborhood and back upon itself. This means that halfway into the walk, the fastest runners begin passing the walkers, while the slower runners ultimately finish at about the same time as the walkers. Some will tell you that there is no better vantage point to watch the runners and cheer them on than to participate as a walker!

This year’s presenting sponsor – Belmont Savings Bank – has underwriten the event’s primary production costs, with additional support provided by Hammond/Natoli Real Estate, Champions Sporting Goods and Belmont Wheelworks. A sweeping range of individuals and organizations helped make this year’s race/walk the great success that it was. Several are worthy of special mention, and foremost in this regard is our Presenting Sponsor that provided5k_race_04_ 10.jpg (89415 bytes) the primary funding for the event: Belmont Savings Bank. Contributing supporters were Belmont Wheelworks, Champion Sporting Goods, and Hammond/Natoli Realty. Significant in-kind donations were also provided by: All-Saints Episcopal Church, Cliff Bars, Dannon Yogurt, Shaw’s Supermarket, Stonyfield Farms, and Very Fine. Numerous outstanding raffle prizes were awarded, and a special tip-of-the-hat goes to all who donated these prizes and helped make it a special Father’s Day for all the raffle prize winners.

One reason the event went smoothly was because of the dependable support provided by the staff of the Belmont Department of Public Works, as well as important traffic control from the Belmont Police Department and the standby assistance of the Belmont Fire Department. The individuals that directly helped make the day a success number more than 70 people, and include volunteers that came or contributed their time from the BHS Baseball, Wrestling, and Track teams, and the staff of the National Fire Protection Association. 5k_race_04_17.jpg (35109 bytes) Finally, and above all, the event was again blessed with marvelous weather conditions, and we quietly nod our profound appreciation to the powers that govern all of nature’s mysteries. 

 Brendan’s Home Run is a cornerstone of development efforts on behalf of The Brendan Grant Foundation. The Foundation is dedicated to enhancing youth development, and carries out its mission through clinic/mentoring programs, field/facility enhancements, and scholarships given annually to two graduating high school seniors. 

The Foundation and it’s various events like the 5K race/walk, honor the memory of Brendan Grant, the accomplished 19-year-old Belmont baseball player who was fatally injured in an outfield collision during a Senior Babe Ruth game in June 2001. Brendan was a three-season athlete in the BHS class of 2000, where he was the captain of the wrestling and baseball teams, and in 2001 he was the starting third baseman during his freshman year for American International College.

Perhaps the most visible Foundation project is the rebuilding of the Belmont High School varsity field where Brendan played his last game. Also of note are the annual scholarships that provide financial assistance to qualified seniors from Belmont High School who will be attending an institution of higher 5k_race_04_ 11.jpg (107188 bytes) learning after graduation. The scholarship is awarded to one graduating member each from the varsity baseball and softball teams, who are recognized for the same positive spirit and leadership skills – both on the field and in the community – for which Brendan was known. 5k_race_04_16.jpg (21142 bytes)

We’ve definitely learned a lot since the first “Brendan’s Home Run” two short years ago, and the event has truly established itself as a premier local event of its kind.  Click here for the story about the 2003 race/walk or the inaugural event in 2002.

With the support of great weather, this year's race/walk resulted in a great day with many smiles from everyone in attendance.   This has becomes a great community Father's Day event. We're already excited for next year!

We hope that you can join us for next year's 2005 race!