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The 2005 Father's Day Event Repeats Last Year's Success

05_runners_start.jpg (63881 bytes)BELMONT, MA.   For another straight year The Brendan Grant FoundationTM once again kept the pace with it continuing tradition of a memorable Father's Day event.  The fourth annual "Brendan's Home RunTM" 5K race/walk was held on Sunday, 19 June was all smiles with a great crowd on hand, and  along with record breaking race times raised  additional funds to benefit charities supported by the Foundation, including The Brendan Grant Scholarship Fund.  Click here for a printable post race flyer.

This year the final participant count equaled last year's with close to 900 runners, walkers, and kids in the youth race, and this doesn’t include the almost 100 plus hard-working volunteers, which brings the event grand total to just under a thousand attendees. Although the number of 5K walkers was down slightly, the number of runners increased by more than 40 to 368.  In 2003 there were approximately 550 overall participants, so at the moment it appears that the attendance has comfortably stabilized.  

The 2005 theme was a repeat of last year's "go the distance" and the first 800 applicants received a T-Shirt commemorating the event, which some participants had mentioned has become a collectors item.   All went  relatively smoothly because of the extensive pre-event planning and the tremendous work of numerous volunteers behind the scenes who have been working months in advance of the event. 

One very notable difference of this year's race over the preceding years was the smashing of a number of course records.  Indeed, the weather was outstanding for the runners with cooler temperatures and overcast skies early in the morning.  This resulted in the  a new overall course record by the top male finisher, and the top three female racers all broke the old course record in the female division.  The competitive edge of Brendan's Home Run clearly appears to have been ratcheted-up a notch.

In this year's race the best overall time was claimed for the third year in a row by repeat champion Dan Vassallo of Wilmington, MA at 16:19.7, which replaces the old course record of 16:21 set by Jon Rosen in 2002.  Dan  is a track star who is now attending Colby College, and he seems to only improve each year.  The overall female winner of the day was accomplished triathlete Karen Monks of Belmont, MA with a time of 19:16.7.  This likewise set a new course record for the top female runner, which was previously set in 2004 by Lauren Caputo at 19:50.  In fact, the female course record was smashed by both the 2nd and 3rd place female finishers, which were Jennifer Edelmann of Boston MA at 19:28.0 and Larissa Bifano of Somerville MA at 19:44.0.  

All the times for the  runners who completed the course are now posted on coolrunning.com, first sorted by overall results and second sorted by age group results.  The event had something for everyone, regardless of age or skill.  The 3.1 – mile walk began at 9:30 a.m.; 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.  

In keeping with the event's family theme, trophies were also  awarded to the top three fastest parent/child tandems.  First place in this category was won by Will and Rae Brownsberger of Belmont with an average time of 20:34:00, followed second by Bill and Mark Dillon of Belmont MA at 21:47.80, and with third place captured by Richard Sr. and Richard Jr. Mulroy of Wellesley MA at 22:27.70.  Honorable mention goes to the 4th place team of Michael Sr. and Michael Jr. Griffin of Belmont MA at 23:30.75, followed in 5th place by Andrew and Chris Kelliher of Belmont MA at 24:04.00, with 6th place taken by the team of Tom and Travis Spinelli of Leominster MA at 24:34.55.

 The following is a summary of top runners in each category:

1. Dan Vassallo, Wilmington, MA 16:19 (third year champion, broke course record) 
2. Joshua Gordon, Boston, MA 16:45 
3. Don Nikosey, Wakefield, MA 17:10 
4. Jack Fahey, Belmont, MA 17:14 (fastest Belmontian of the day)
5. Fred Criniti, Belmont, MA 17:20
1. Karen Monks, Belmont, MA 19:16 (broke course record) 
2. Jennifer Edelmann, Boston, MA 19:28 (broke course record)
3. Larissa Bifano, Somerville, MA 19:44 (broke course record)
4. Julie Kandrut, Methuen, MA 21:13 
5. Jane Karolow, Arlington, MA 21:14 

Parent/Child teams 
1. Will and Rae Brownsberger, Belmont MA, 20:34:00
2. Bill and Mark Dillon, Belmont MA, 21:47.80 
3. Richard Sr. and Richard Jr. Mulroy, Wellesley MA, 22:27.70 

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

Female overall winner - Karen Monks; 19 and under - Rae Brownsberger, Rebecca Cottam, Sharon Kelleher; 20 to 29 - Jennifer Edelmann, Larissa Bifano, Julie Kandrut; 30 to 39 - Karin Monks, Barbara Bell, Joanie Kelly; 40 to 49 - Dorothy Bowe, Annie Gardner, Annette Downing; 50 to 59 - Paula Desmond, Jan Mokros, Betsy Pridham; 60 and over - Sue Rasala.

 Male overall winner - Dan Vassallo; 19 and under - Gabe Topping, Phil Wolf, Jason Caputo; 20 to 29 - Dan Vassallo, Kevin Gravina, Bryan LeDuc; 30 to 39 - Joshua Gordon, David Nerrow, Matt Youmell; 40 to 49 - Don Nikosey, Jack Fahey, Fred Criniti; 50 to 59 - George Snowdon, Bruno Gallinelli, Paul Hughes; 60 and over - Steven Rosenberg, Joseph Pellegrino, Don Doherty.

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 equal last year's total of more than $20,000.  This year a special tip of the hat goes to the Belmont Little League and their 9 through 12 year olds players, in which 15 teams took the initiative to raise significant pledges, with the most from a single team coming from the Majors North Red Sox who raised just under $600!  In similar fashion, the single highest pledge amount raised by any single individual outside these teams was from Robin Grant, who raised a 2005 record $1,550 in individual pledges... way to go Robin!

This year “Brendan’s Home Run” has equaled last year's fantastic turnout with close to 1,000 individuals participated either as a runner, walker,  volunteer, or in the youth races. A recent significant enhancement for the race occurred two years ago when it was 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).

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 provided 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, Shaw’s Supermarket, and Verizon. 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 number close to 100 people, and include volunteers that came or contributed their time from the BHS Baseball and Wrestling teams, and the staff of the National Fire Protection Association.  This year we had excellent weather conditions for the runners, and course records fell by the wayside with cool temperatures and an overcast morning. 

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  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. 

We’ve definitely learned a lot since the first “Brendan’s Home Run” in 2002, and the event has truly established itself as a premier local event of its kind and community tradition.  Click here for the story about last year's 2004 event, 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 2006 race!