The New Haven Green was abuzz Monday morning as runners from across the country and state gathered for the Faxon Law New Haven Road Race.
Over 5,000 people ran in the event, which actually consisted of five races — the half marathon, half-marathon relay, kid’s fun run, 5K and 20K. The 20K race also served as the United States 20K Championship. Two-time NCAA champion and Olympian Leonard Korir of Colorado Springs, Colo. won the 20K event with a time of 1:00:17, while high schooler Matthew Farrell from Glastonbury, Connecticut, won the 5K with a time of 15:19. Jacob Edwards, from Morristown, New Jersey won the half marathon with a time of 1:16:23.
“[The race] is really a showcase of the city of New Haven,” said John Bysiewicz, the race director. “It’s a big part of the community in terms of getting people together.”
Over the years, Bysiewicz emphasized, the race has strived to show the best of New Haven to a field of runners who come from all across the country. He explained that the race is a nonprofit endeavor that splits its proceeds among dozens of local charities. This year, recipients included the Children’s Tumor Foundation and New Haven Legal Assistance Association.
Brendan Mellitt, a high school runner from Cheshire who finished eighth in the 5K, agreed that the race is important to the New Haven community.
“I think it really helps [New Haven] come together, especially after what happened a couple of weeks ago on the New Haven Green,” he said. “I think that this is really good, [as] a community builder and really helps the morale in the town.”
Three weeks ago, over 80 people overdosed on the Green as a result of laced K2.
Many runners mentioned the added difficulty of heat.
“It was really, really hot. I cramped up around a mile and a half in,” said Mellitt. Kiya Dandena, who finished third in the 20K championship agreed, contrasting the “very warm and humid” weather against the thinner air in his home 7,000 feet above sea level in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Despite the weather, most runners the News spoke to were satisfied with their performances.
Dandena said he thought his time of 1:00:34 — 17 seconds behind Korir’s winning mark — was “decent.” While Mellitt hopes to perform even better next time, he said his 16:35 time in Monday’s race was a 5K personal record.
Allen Siegler ’20, a cross country team member, went to the race to cheer on friends. He said the event was an “awesome” celebration of the sport.
Xander Mitchell ’19 arrived with a group of Morse College students. He said students from Morse compete in the race every year, adding that the event is a great way to start off the academic year and meet Morsels from different class years.
Other colleges, including Pauli Murray and Hopper, also fielded groups of student runners.
While for many Yalies this race marks the start of the school year, for some elite runners it is more of a culmination. For Dandena, Monday’s race was the last before the Chicago Marathon. Dandena, who finished third at the U.S. Marathon Championships in 2017, said he enjoys racing in the Elm City.
“This is my third year in a row coming back,” he said. “I love the atmosphere, I love John [Tolbert], who is the elite director. It’s just a great place to come.”
Keshav Raghavan | firstname.lastname@example.org