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HEAT CAN’T SLOW THE PACE AT THE 5th ANNUAL "BRENDAN'S HOME RUNTM" 5K ROAD RACE/WALK

Held Sunday, 18 June 2006 in Belmont, MA

road_race_06_runners1.jpg (59755 bytes)Belmont, MA – It may have been “Summer in the City” on Father’s Day in Belmont, but the fastest runners in the Fifth Annual Brendan’s Home RunTM” were undeterred by the heat.  road_race_06_crowd2.jpg (60232 bytes)Brendan's Home Run traverses an officially measured and certified course in accordance with the requirements of the USA Track & Field Road Running Technical Council (Certification Code: MA03028RN©). For any serious runner this is a big plus, as any records that are set will be eligible for higher qualification.

Dan Vassallo of Wilmington smashed the course record of 16:19 by posting a time of 15:59, set by Dan himself in 2005. road_race_06_runners2.jpg (136654 bytes) Former BHS track team standout Elizabeth Brown of Belmont finished number one in the women's division at 19:19, only 3 seconds off the women’s course record set by Karen Monks in 2005. Their performances put the exclamation point on another successful running of what has become an entrenched community event.
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The event has something for everyone, regardless of age or skill (or lack thereof). The 3.1-mile walk stepped out at 9:30 a.m. and the 5K road race starting gun was fired at 10 a.m. As the runners took to the streets, 400-meter and 800-meter races for children ages 6-8 and 9-12 were held on the Belmont High School track.  There were six age categories in which 5K road race entrants registered: 19 and under; 20-29; 30-39; 40-49; 50-59; and 60 and over. Thus, age was not road_race_06_crowd3.jpg (66970 bytes) an acceptable excuse for non-participation. Awards were presented in each category and, in keeping with the event's family theme, the road race acknowledges the fastest parent-child tandems with trophies.
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Brendan’s Home Run, which celebrates parent-child relationships and is purposefully scheduled each year on Father’s Day, also encourages parent-child participants to run in tandem for a best combined time. The winners in 2006 were Joel and Luke Bradford of Natick with a combined time of 41:36. They were followed by Steve and Nate Perry, also of Natick, and Belmont’s own father-daughter team of Will and Rae Brownsberger.

road_race_06_walkers1.jpg (71542 bytes)In what has become a highlight of Brendan’s Home Run, kids’ races on the track are open to 6-8 year olds who run once around the track, as well as 9-12 years olds who must complete the circuit twice. Top finishers in the 6-8 class were: Girls- Grace Eysenbach, Kate McCarthy, and Kayla Kaloostian; and Boys- Danny Rizzo, Ian Bowe, and Michael Armstrong. Winners in the 9-12 group were: Girls – Esne Valette, Brenna Sorkin, and Valerie Fisher; and, Boys – Eric Putte, Ben Eysenbach, and Alex Griffin. But then, every child’s efforts are acknowledged with a ribbon, and each wears the number “1”, commemorating Brendan Grant’s uniform number for the Belmont High School baseball team.

road_race_06_walkers2.jpg (69922 bytes)The full race results are available on CoolRunning.com, and can be reached by clicking here. The winners in each category are as follows:

Women 19 and Under 
1. Rebecca Cottam, Belmont MA 
2. Rae Brownsberger, Belmont MA
3. Sabina Hartnett, Wellesley MA

Men 19 and Under
1. Nate Perry, Natick MA
2. Gabe Topping, Belmont MAroad_race_06_walkers3.jpg (59742 bytes)
3. Chandler Hartnett, Wellesley MA

Women, 20-29 
1. Elizabeth Brown, Belmont MA
2. Larissa Bilano, Somerville MA 
3. Lauren Caputo, Belmont MA 

Men, 20-29
1. Dan Vassallo, Wilmington MA
2. Chris Kearney, Watertown MA
3. Jon Trafton, Wayland MAroad_race_06_walkers4.jpg (110436 bytes)

Women, 30-39 
1. Karen Lehr, Belmont MA
2. Chris McVay, Belmont MA 
3. Kirsten Hashemi, Watertown MA 

Men, 30-39
1. Gregory Picklesimer, Newton MA
2. Michael Libenson, Belmont MA
3. Jason Kramer, Watertown MA

Women, 40-49 road_race_06_crowd4.jpg (44843 bytes)
1. Carolyn Mehaffey, Belmont MA 
2. Dorothy Bowe, Belmont MA 
3. Kerry O’Donovan, Belmont MA 

Men, 40-49
1. Paul Sorkin, Belmont MA
2. Bill Brean, Waltham MA
3. Will Brownsberger, Belmont MA

Women, 50-59 
1. Anna Foulds, Reading MA 
2. June Roberts, Belmont MA road_race_06_kidsrace1.jpg (106796 bytes)
3. Arlene Taylor, Belmont MA

 Men, 50-59
1. Ken Leinbach, Belmont MA
2. Jack Fahey, Belmont MA
 3. Robert Carey, Belmont MA

Women, 60 and over
1. Sue Rasala, Newton MA
road_race_06_kidsrace2.jpg (83658 bytes)
 Men, 60 and over
1. Peter Bleiberg, Belmont MA
2. Jim Foster, Boston MA
3. Rob Riordan, Cambridge MA

road_race_06_winner_mens.jpg (96621 bytes)A small army of volunteers was on hand early Sunday morning to set up registration and refreshment booths, prepare the track and sound system – attending to the hundreds of details that result in the efficient execution of top notch road race in a very short time frame. The rising numbers of entrants coming from areas other than Belmont attest to the increasing skill with which The Brendan Grant Foundation pulls off this event each year. road_race_06_winner_womens.jpg (95699 bytes)

Much has been learned since the inaugural run in 2002. Similarly, the sheer numbers of runners and walkers have increased each year. The 2006 edition featured close to 400 runners and a similar number of walkers. As the final statistics continue to be finalized, we’re happy to report that we replicated last year’s participant numbers with an estimated 950 individuals participating as runners, walkers, volunteers, or in the kids race. Among the walkers this year were 20 of Belmont’s youth baseball teams who are learning early about the town’s baseball traditions and the high standards of performance and teamwork set by Brendan Grant.

Of course, Brendan’s Home Run also owes much of its success to the support of its presenting sponsor, Belmont Savings Bank, and its contributing sponsors – Belmont Wheelworks, Champions Sporting Goods, and the Waltham YMCA. Their contributions help the event to maximize the funds it raises for the efforts of The Brendan Grant Foundation and its scholarship program. 

A sweeping range of individuals and organizations helped make this year’s race/walk the great success that it was. In addition to the afore-mentioned sponsors, significant in-kind donations were also provided by: All-Saints Episcopal Church, Belmont Lions Club, Cliff Bars, Shaw’s Supermarket, and others. Numerous outstanding raffle prizes were awarded including lots of tickets to the Boston Red Sox, 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.

road_race_06_runners3.jpg (75254 bytes)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 close to 100 people, and although they are too many to mention here, we are deeply appreciative for their important volunteerroad_race_06_crowd1.jpg (64994 bytes) efforts. But in particular, we would like to express our special thanks to those involved with the core planning activities, as well as the volunteers that came or contributed their time from the BHS Baseball, Softball and Wrestling teams, and the staff of the National Fire Protection Association in Quincy, MA. 

The accredited 5K course is primarily flat, features plenty of shade, and allows the best runners to capture excellent times. The race starts and ends at the Belmont High School Track, and the course loops out through the Winn Brook 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. road_race_06_runners6.jpg (60408 bytes) 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.   A printable color map of the course can be obtained by clicking here (and you can obtain additional directions from Mapquest).   

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 clinics, mentoring programs, field/facility enhancements, and scholarships given annually to two graduating high school seniors.
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The foundation, and its various events such as the 5K race/walk, honors the memory of Brendan Grant, the 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. 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 baseball 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 a senior member of the varsity baseball and softball teams that demonstratesroad_race_06_runners5.jpg (55915 bytes) the same positive spirit and leadership skills - both on the field and in the community - for which Brendan was known.  Those who cannot participate in Brendan's Home Run but wish to contribute to The Brendan Grant Foundation may send donations to P.O. Box 184, Belmont, MA 02478.
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The efforts expended by everyone – volunteers, participants, town departments, high school athletes – each year have helped make this race an annual tradition that gets better and better over time. Some see Brendan’s Home Run becoming a perennial event that will endure for years to come, bringing families, and the town as a whole, together to celebrate parents and children, teamwork, and community.

Whether you were a runner, walker, volunteer, contributor, or a supporter in spirit but unable to attend, I'm sure that you'll agree that it was great day and a lot of fun for a very worthy cause.  We're already excited for Father’s Day 2007, and we hope to see you then!