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'Race in the Park' returns with new format for Mother's Day weekend

The popular annual event is put on by The Connecticut Breast Health initiative to support breast cancer research in the state.

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. — Get ready to lace up your sneakers because registration is now open for teams and individuals to sign up for The Connecticut Breast Health initiative's Race In the Park.

The popular annual event returns for Mother’s Day Weekend 2021 with an all-new, ‘do-it-yourself’ format that will bring family, friends and neighbors together – wherever they choose – to support breast cancer research in Connecticut.

After 17 years of gathering at New Britain’s Walnut Hill Park, this year’s virtual event is being reformatted to give participants a chance to run or walk after the race was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic.

This was done in partnership with the Hartford Marathon Foundation. The annual Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon went virtual last year.

Participants can pick a location of their choice – such as closer to home in their own local neighborhoods – as they keep track of their time (if they wish), and share a photo of their efforts in support of much-needed Connecticut-based breast cancer research and education.

“Like so many of us in so many aspects of our lives, we’ve had to adapt the RACE to the realities of 2021. But we’re excited about the prospects, and we’ve already received tremendous positive feedback,” said Joyce Bray, Board President of the Connecticut Breast Health Initiative. “The need is important. Each person is important.”

The 2021 Race In The Park will be Thursday, May 6 through Sunday, May 9. Anyone can participate from anywhere, at any time during the four-day period.

Registration is now open. Fees are: Early Bird Special, $21, through February 22; Standard Pricing, $25, through May 2; or Race Week, $30, May 3-9, at www.ctbhi.org/the-race. Youth under 17 can be registered for $15.

All registered participants will receive a distinctive CT Breast Health Initiative blue face mask, exclusively designed for this year’s virtual event! All survivors will receive a special pink CT Breast Health Initiative branded mask. Participants can also download an official Race Bib and a customizable Finisher Certificate.

“We will be saving lives together – at a safe distance – here, there and everywhere. So much has changed during the past year, but breast cancer continues. It does not stop,” Bray said. “CT BHI is committed to funding research in Connecticut. Our vision is a world without breast cancer, and we know that research is the answer to cancer.”

Photos sent in will be posted on the CT BHI website and social media, with the appreciation of CT BHI. Limited edition 2021 RACE IN THE PARK masks will be available; details on pick-up locations will be announced. Participants may opt-out of receiving “swag” to increase their donation.

Through almost two decades, $4.1 million and 102 grants have been provided to research and education initiatives across the state, including in Bridgeport, Danbury, Farmington, Hartford, Middletown, New Britain, New Haven, Norwalk and Stamford.

Last year, despite the fact that the RACE was not held due to COVID-19 safety restrictions, a total of $80,000 in research grants were awarded to Saint Francis Hospital, The Hospital of Central Connecticut, and UConn Health. In recent years, researchers at MidState Medical Center, Yale University, Middlesex Hospital, Norwalk Hospital and Stamford Health have also been among the CT BHI grant recipients.

This year’s race and walk options include 5K, 1 mile, and Kids’ Challenges (1 mile and ½ mile). In addition, participants this year can choose to do a 10K – or whatever distance they decide. They can clock their time, and submit it to CT BHI.

Teams, times, and other RACE-related information will be posted on the RACE IN THE PARK website.

“We know that teams and groups of friends, and families that have made participation an annual tradition are already beginning to make plans as to where to do their own walks and runs, selecting their routes, and even connecting with family members in locations throughout the region and beyond, to ‘race together virtually’ while they’re apart,” Bray said.

It is estimated that about 3,500 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in Connecticut women this year. A woman living in the United States has a 12.3%, or 1 in 8, lifetime risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer.

The rate of female breast cancer in Connecticut’s population is the second-highest in the U.S. Exclusive of skin cancers, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women.

“100% raised in Connecticut. 100% stays in Connecticut,” Bray noted. “Every person who participates, every dollar donated, brings us closer to the next breakthrough and ultimately a cure. And there is groundbreaking research underway right here in Connecticut that we are proud to support, thanks to our dedicated donors, participants and volunteers.”

For more information, or to make a donation, visit www.ctbhi.org



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