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A NEW COURSE RECORD AT THE 14th ANNUAL “BRENDAN’S HOME RUN”™

Held Sunday, 21 June 2015 in Belmont, MA
(Story by Casey Grant, Belmont MA; Photos by Fred Field, Cumberland, ME)

Belmont, MA – "Brendan's Home Run™” 5K Road Race/Walk was once again the host for top New England runners at the 14th annual 5K race/walk.

2015 Road RaceIt was yet another successful race/walk event, though the day did come with multiple curve balls. Most notably the weather forecast was very threatening, but lightning in the metro area passed far to the South out of harms-way, and the heavens cooperated by providing a distinctly clear time frame without hard rain. A strong crowd of runners showed their allegiance and were undaunted by the wet conditions.

The weather was perhaps ideal for the runners, as exemplified by the top two runners finishing under the previous course record. Zack Schwartz of Brookline crossed the line at 14:44 just edging New Zealander Eric Speakman (now from Centereach NY) at 14:52. They both finished ahead of third place overall runner Dan Vassallo of Peabody at 15:21, seven time champion of Brendan’s Home run, and a qualifier for the upcoming Olympics in the Marathon. 2015 Road Race

The top female runner was newcomer Stephanie Reilly of Northbridge at 17:22, a former national champion in Ireland and a 2012 Olympian. She just missed setting a new course female record by four seconds, edging last year’s champion and course record holder Karen Roa of Boston who finished second at 17:48. Third place among the female runners was awarded to Cathryn Chviruk of Worcester with a strong finishing time of 18:43.

Brendan's Home Run continues to attract top runners in the metro Boston area, and the organizers and participants salute all of these great athletes, and the legendary stature they enjoy among the Belmont faithful. The times for all the 5K runners are available from www.CoolRunning.com. Overall, the fastest male finishers in the 2015 5K race were:

1. Zack Schwartz, Brookline MA, 14:44
2. Eric Speakman, Centereach NY, 14:52
3. Dan Vassallo, Peabody MA, 15:21
4. Ryan McCalmon, Belmont MA, 16:51
5. Joe Shaw, Belmont MA, 16:56

2015 Road RaceThe fastest 2015 female finishers were:

1. Stephanie Reilly, Northbridge MA, 17:22
2. Karen Roa, Boston MA, 17:48
3. Cathryn Chviruk, Worcester MA, 18:43
4. Madeline Celi Kitch, Belmont MA, 20:10
5. Erica Carere, Belmont MA, 21:39

The race results for all runners are available at coolrunning.com.  Enhancing youth development and fostering positive parent-child relationships is a guiding principle of The Brendan Grant Foundation. On this basis, Brendan's Home Run always acknowledges the fastest parent-child tandems for the day. For some Father’s, there is no better way to spend Father’s Day. Awards are provided in this category, and the top finishers for the parent-child teams:

1. Barry & James Kitch (39:00) Belmont, MA
2. Daniel & Jeffrey Rizzo (39:54) Belmont, MA
3. Charlie & Charlotte Conroy (41:05) Belmont, MA

While these top-notch runners were busy burning up the 3.1 miles, the spotlight fell on the kids’ races on the oval at the Belmont High School track. Races for 6-8 year olds (one lap of the track at 400 M) and 9-12 year olds (also 400 M) attracted all the best young racers in the area. For many this event is the highlight of the day, with speedy youngsters racing around the track to the classic music of "Charge of the Light Brigade" and finishing before the fastest 5K adult runners return.

In the 6-8 year old category (400 M), the first place finisher for the boys was Adam O’Shaughnessy, followed closely by the girls champion (6-8 year old) Monique Bennett-Richard. Perhaps the most memorable scene of the day were the final stragglers of the 6-8 race, who were slowed because they were catching raindrops on their tongues as they came down the home stretch. 2015 Road Race

In the 9-12 year old group (400 M), Rachel November led the race wire-to-wire and was crowned champion with an exciting photo finish over her younger brother Charlie who captured the crown for the males. While these were the fastest runners, all of the children who participate are awarded a ribbon and each wears a race bib with the number “1”, Brendan Grant’s uniform number retired by the Belmont High School varsity baseball team. Meanwhile, with similar salute, none of the 5K runners use bib #1.

As a recap of the 5K race, the following are the top three winners in each gender and age bracket, each of whom were awarded a medal for their accomplishments:

19 & Under Results - Women 5000 Run
1 Madeline Celi Kitch, 13, Belmont, MA, 20:10
2 Shea Brams, 12, Belmont, MA, 22:27
3 Charlotte Conroy, 12, Belmont, MA, 22:45

20-29 Results - Women 5000 Run
1 Karen Roa, 24, Boston, MA, 17:48
2 Cathryn Chviruk, 28, Worcester, MA, 18:43
3 Erika Shay, 22, Waltham, MA, 22:08

30-39 Results - Women 5000 Run
1 Steph Reilly, 37, Northbridge, MA, 17:22
2 Emily Seaver, 30, Belmont, MA, 22:54
3 Jennifer Barnes, 32, Watertown, MA, 24:39
2015 Road Race
40-49 Results - Women 5000 Run
1 Erica Carere, 44, Belmont, MA, 21:39
2 Karin Lehr, 46, Belmont, MA, 22:14
3 Kate Christo, 47, Belmont, MA, 25:01

50-59 Results - Women 5000 Run
1 Mimi Englander, 54, Littleton, MA, 24:05
2 Mary O’Gorman- Cannistraro, 53, Somerville, MA, 26:11
3 Kerry O'Donovan, 53, Belmont, MA, 26:11

60 & Over Results - Women 5000 Run
1 Deborah Falvey, 64, Belmont, MA, 29:52
2 Kwan Kew Lai,64, Belmont, MA, 30:28
3 Cathy Couture, 60, Belmont, MA, 35:47

19 & Under Results - Men 5000 Run
1 Daniel Rizzo, 17, Belmont, MA, 17:36
2 Zachary Tseng, 15, Belmont, MA, 18:13
3 James Kitch, 15, Belmont, MA, 18:14

20-29 Results - Men 5000 Run
1 Zack Schwartz, 26, Brookline, MA, 14:44
2 Eric Speakman, 24, Centereach, MA, 14:52
3 Peter Craffey, 25, Boston, MA, 20:22

30-39 Results - Men 5000 Run 2015 Road Race
1 Dan Vassallo, 30, Peabody, MA, 15:21
2 Ryan Mcalmon, 39, Belmont, MA, 16:51
3 Joe Shaw, 34, Belmont, MA, 16:56

40-49 Results - Men 5000 Run
1 Mark Marall, 43, Maynard, MA, 17:20
2 Charlie Conroy, 45, Belmont, MA, 18:20
3 Mark Tebbe, 49, Arlington, MA, 18:43
2015 Road Race
50-59 Results - Men 5000 Run
1 Kevin Richard, 55, Cambridge, MA, 19:51
2 Patrick Mcveigh, 59, Waltham, MA, 20:19
3 Dean Murphy, 53, Watertown, MA, 20:42

60 & Over Results - Men 5000 Run
1 Richard Campbell, 60, Newtonville, MA, 21:19
2 Dick Lehr, 61, Belmont, MA, 22:55
3 Peter Hoffmann, 65, Belmont, MA, 25:07

Brendan’s Home Run would not be the well-oiled event it has evolved into over the past dozen plus years without the dedicated corps of volunteers who do everything from setting up tents, to registering entrants, to slicing watermelons. This small army of volunteers takes care of the many details that result in the efficient execution of top notch road race in a very short time frame. Rain or shine, they are undeterred from the mission of making the event the best it can be. 2015 Road Race

Of course, Brendan’s Home Run also owes much of its success to the support of its sponsors, led by our Presenting Sponsors: Belmont Savings Bank, Belmont Dental Group, Fitness Together Belmont, and Alan & Isabelle DerKazarian & Family. Also providing significant support are our Contributing Sponsors who include: Belmont Wheelworks, Champions Sporting Goods, Heartbreak Hill Running Company, Waltham YMCA, Marathon Sports and Belmont Lions Club. Numerous outstanding refreshment and raffle prizes were awarded, including tickets to the Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins. A special tip-of-the-hat goes to all who donated these prizes and helped make this a special event.

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: General Mills (Yoplait), WT Phelan Insurance, and multiple others. Numerous outstanding raffle prizes were awarded including lots of tickets to the Boston Red Sox, Boston Bruins, and other great Father’s Day gift venues. 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.

2015 Road RaceAnother 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 they are too many to mention by name here. We are deeply appreciative for their important volunteer efforts. A special salute is extended to the young people of the community who directly assisted, such as members of the following BHS sports teams: Baseball, Softball and Wrestling teams.
2015 Road Race
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: MA14012JK©). 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.  Additional information is available on the special race/walk website.

As has been the case in past years, the walkers departed on the 5K course at 9:30 am with a half hour head-start before the runners. This year the driving rain challenged the walkers, and it was inspiring to see the dedicated walkers who participated undeterred. As many of them will tell you, they are out on the course when the runners pass them and really have the best seat in the house to watch the 5K race. Information about last year's successful 2014 race/walk is available by clicking here.

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 three 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.

2015 Road RacePerhaps 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, softball and wrestling teams’ that demonstrates the same positive spirit and leadership skills - both on the field and in the community - for which Brendan was known. The Brendan Grant Foundation is proud to have provided scholarships to 34 previous recipients. Those who cannot participate in Brendan's Home Run but wish to contribute to 2015 Road RaceThe Brendan Grant Foundation may send donations to P.O. Box 184, Belmont, MA 02478.

Whether you were a runner, walker, volunteer, contributor, or a supporter in spirit but unable to attend, it was another great event with lots of fun for a worthy cause. Brendan’s Home Run shows that it has what it takes to endure and prevail, shining with a quality event under the most challenging weather conditions. We're already excited for next year and hope to see you on Father’s Day 2016!

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