Tag Archives: Minute Man Race

Minute Man Race: The WYWL Back Story

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Which makes this a perfect opportunity to highlight the Westport Young Woman’s League’s $20,000 Super Grant recipient: the Rowan Center.

Formerly known as the Center for Sexual Assault Crisis and Counseling Education, the Stamford-based organization empowers clients to find strength, resilience and courage — while educating Fairfield County communities to help change social norms.

In Westport, the Rowan Center puts the WYWL’s grant toward programs in the elementary schools, and Staples High.

In addition, the Young Woman’s League is partnering with the Rowan Center and Westport Library to screen the documentary “Roll Red Roll” (Tuesday, April 30, 6:30 p.m., Christ & Holy Trinity Church). A panel discussion follows.

The film uncovers the “rape culture” in Steubenville, Ohio, brought to light at a high school football party. Teenage social media bullying ran rampant, as adults looked away.

The Rowan Center grant is just part of what the Westport Young Woman’s League does. Last year they gave over $80,000 to local and education-based charitable organization. Recipients include A Better Chance of Westport, the Bridgeport Rescue Mission, Caroline House, CLASP Homes, Homes with Hope, Family & Children’s Agency, Mercy Learning Center and Positive Directions.

But that money does not fall from the sky.

One of the WYWL’s major fundraising events is the Minute Man Race.

Actually, “races.” This year there are 10K and 5K runs, a 5K walk, and a Kids Fun Run with Kids Zone.

The 41st annual Minute Man Race is set for Sunday, April 28. It starts and ends at Compo Beach.

The start of a Minute Man race is always exciting.

It’s 4 decades old, but there are always new twists. For the first time this year, there’s a “corporate and small business team” category. The WYWL encourages local businesses to sign up and compete together, for a fun team-builder that helps good causes.

You’ve seen the signs. You know the Minute Man Race.

Now that you know the back story — where the money goes — there’s even more incentive to run. Or walk.

Or just donate and cheer.

(For more information on the Minute Man Race — including registration and sponsorships — click here.)

 

A Fabled Road Race Returns

Remember 1978? The year that President Carter convened the Camp David summit; Rev. Jim Jones’ followers committed mass suicide in Guyana, and Sony introduced the Walkman.

It was also the year the Westport Young Woman’s League introduced a 10K race.

The women’s organization and road running may not seem a natural fit, but 35 years ago 10K races were all the rage. Members traveled around the state to watch other races. They set a course and rounded up business sponsors.

By 1979 they were, um, off to the races. Running past the Minuteman statue near Compo Beach gave the April event a name it’s had ever since.

600 runners paid the initial $3 registration fee, and started at Jesup Green. The League provided coffee and donuts, water stations, electronic timers and t-shirts. The Staples Jazz Band played at the finish line.

The 2nd year, rain turned everyone’s labels to mush. But the race was a hit. Within a few years, proceeds contributed to charity doubled.

In 1985 the starting point was moved to the beach. The distance was changed to 5 miles. Two years later, a “scamper” race was added.

The start of a Minute Man race is always fun. This was the scene at last year's 10K.

The 1999 event featured online registration. The technological change met an immovable force — snow, hail and rain — but by then nothing could stop the Minute Man Race.

For the 25th annual running in 2003 the length was changed again, to a 5K. The hope — that more recreational runners would sign up for a shorter race — worked.

A 10K was added later, in honor of the League’s 50th anniversary.

Last year's kids' race. On your mark, get set, go!

This year’s events — a 5K, 10K and kids’ fun run — is set for Sunday, April 29. There will be over 1,000 runners. 120 volunteers will coordinate everything — including 4 water stations.

Participants can pick the recipient of their registration donation from over 2 dozen local charities. Alphabetically, they range from A Better Chance and Al’s Angels to the Westport Public Library.

Much has changed since 1978, including the course, distance and number of participants.

But it’s still one of Westport’s favorite events. It still benefits many worthy organizations.

And runners still listen to music as they pound the pavement.

On iPods. Not Walkmen.

(Click here for information on the Minute Man race, including registration.)