NEW COURSE RECORDS SET AT THE 6th ANNUAL "BRENDAN'S HOME
RUNTM" 5K ROAD
Held Sunday, 17 June 2007 in Belmont, MA
Belmont, MA – Once again some top local speedsters appeared in the Sixth Annual Brendan’s Home
RunTM”, and new course records were set for both the men's and women's division. A large crowd of runners and walkers turned out under beautiful warm sunny skies to participate in "Brendan's Home Run", making great use of the newly refurbished Belmont community track facility and operating under the direction of The Brendan Grant Foundation.
For the fifth straight year Dan Vassallo of Wilmington was the top
overall finisher. He beat his own record with a new overall time of 15:55.2, beating his old course record of 15:59.8 set in 2006. Former BHS track team standout Elizabeth Brown of Belmont finished number one in the women's division. Her time also set a new course record at 19:15.8, just edging the women’s course record
of 19:16.7 set by Karen Monks in 2005.
Brendan's Home Run, continues to attract excellent runners from the local area. The top five fastest men overall were: (1) Dan Vassallo, Wilmington MA 15:55 (course record); (2) Joshua Gordon, Boston MA 16:19; (3) Ken Leinbach, Belmont MA 17:13; (4) David Campisano, Dorchester MA 17:22; and (5) A. R. Paine, Somerville MA 17:36. The top five fastest women overall were: (1) Liz Brown, Belmont MA 19:15 (course record); (2) Jennifer Rapaport, Melrose MA 19:46; (3) Lara Johnson, Newton MA 19:51; (4) Anya Price, Natick MA 20:09; and (5) Lauren Caputo, Belmont MA 20:52.
Their performances put the exclamation point on another successful running of what has become an entrenched and well-functioning community event. 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©). 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. 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.
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. 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.
There were lots of fathers who were running as a team with their son or daughter. Brendan’s Home Run, which celebrates parent-child relationships and is purposefully scheduled each year on Father’s Day, encourages parent-child participants to run in tandem for a best combined time. The winners in 2007 had the following combined times: 1) Tom & Greg Kinneman, North Andover MA - 37:43; 2) Scott & Patrick Jamison, Natick MA - 39:32; and 3) Michael & Chandler Harnett, Wellesley MA - 41:59.
This year awards were also provided for the fastest members of the Belmont Little League, as the teams of Belmont Youth Baseball have traditionally turned-out in large numbers to support the event, most often by walking as individual teams. This year 24 teams were represented from Belmont Babe Ruth, Little League and Instructional League. A few running protégés always enter the 5K run instead of walking with their team, and it has been noted that some of these future track stars post amazingly fast times. The 2007 awards for the fastest 5K runners from Belmont Little League were presented to: 1) Kevin Conners - 21:41 (age 12, Braves); 2) Michael Daskalakas - 24:35 (age 12, Braves); and 3) Sami Belkadi - 25:01 (age 10, Rockies).
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 for 400 meters, as well as 9-12 years olds who must complete the circuit twice for an 800 meter contest. The race begins with the classic "Charge of the Light Brigade" and awards are provided for the fastest boy and girl in each race. 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.
The full race results for all the 5K runners are available on
CoolRunning.com, and awards were presented to the fastest runners in each of the 12 age and gender categories. The winners represent the geographic diversity of the participants at Brendan's Home Run (from 3 states and 21 communities) and are as follows:
Women 19 and Under
1) Anya Price, Natick MA, 20:09.8
2) Cori Polonski, Hingham MA, 22:41.0
3) Kate Desimone, Fort Wayne IN 23:46.8
Men 19 and Under
1) Greg Kinneman, North Andover MA, 18:15.9
2) Ben Alexander, Duxbury MA, 18:23.1
3) Chris Stadler, Belmont MA, 18:53.1
1) Elizabeth Brown, Belmont MA, 19:15.8
2) Lara Johnson, Newton MA, 19:51.6
3) Lauren Caputo, Belmont MA, 20:52.7
1) Dan Vassallo, Wilmington MA, 15:55.2
2) David Campisano, Dorchester MA, 17:22.4
3) Kevin Gravina, Cambridge MA, 17:43.4
1) Karin Lehr, Belmont MA, 21:09.6
2) Sara Coulter, Woburn MA, 22:10.8
3) Kristen Hanson, Belmont MA, 23:41.0
1) Joshua Gordon, Boston MA, 16:19.9
2) Chris Bougopoulos, Merrimack NH, 19:21.4
3) Jeffrey Dreyfus, Belmont MA, 20:01.6
1) Jennifer Rappaport, Melrose MA, 19:46.5
2) Linda Sutherland, Walpole MA, 21:54.8
3) Dorothy Bowe, Belmont MA, 21:57.9
1) A.R. Paine, Somerville MA, 17:36.9
2) Frank Row, North Reading MA, 18:13.0
3) Jonathon Wymer, Arlington MA, 18:20.3
1) Sue Fowler-Finn, Medford MA, 22:57.1
2) Kwan Kew Lai, Belmont MA, 27:21.6
3) Marianne Leahy, Belmont MA, 29:41.2
1) Ken Leinback, Belmont MA, 17:13.7
2) Jose Solorzano, Woburn MA, 19:00.5
3) Tom Kinneman, North Andover MA, 19:35.2
Women, 60 and over
1) Laura Simmons, Belmont MA, 34:06.0
2) Carol Carr, Maynard MA, 34:27.1
3) Susan Weddig, Waltham MA, 36:54.7
Men, 60 and over
1) Steven Rosenburg, Waltham MA, 21:20.4
2) Rich Paulsen, Woburn MA, 23:32.6
3) Jim Foster, Boston MA, 25:45.3
A small army of volunteers were on hand early Sunday morning to set up registration and refreshment booths, prepare the track and sound system, and 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.
Much has been learned since the inaugural run in 2002. Similarly, the sheer numbers of runners and walkers have increased each year. The 2007 edition featured close to 400 runners and an even higher 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 1000 individuals participating as runners, walkers, volunteers, or in the kids
Of course, Brendan’s Home Run also owes much of its success to the support of its sponsors, led by Belmont Savings Bank, and also including Ameriprise Financial Services, Belmont Lions Club, Belmont Wheelworks, Champions Sporting Goods, Mt. Auburn Hospital, and the Waltham YMCA. Their contributions help the event maximize the funds it raises for the various initiatives of The Brendan Grant Foundation and its associated 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 POMS, Cliff Bars, Conley's Pub, General Mills (Yoplait), Russo'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.
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 volunteer 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, Field Hockey, Softball and Wrestling teams, and the staff of the National Fire Protection Association in Quincy, MA.
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. 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 demonstrates 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.
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 2008, and we hope to see you then!