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"Run it back!" - National basketball event comes to Connecticut

The national pop-up event uses basketball to bring people together from all walks of life. It's latest stop was in Harwinton.

HARWINTON, Conn. — HARWINTON -- The “Run It Back” tour made its first ever stop in Connecticut at the Courtside Sports Center on Saturday afternoon. The national pop-up event uses basketball to bring people together from all walks of life.

Originally founded in New York, “Run It Back" aims to give people a place to play pickup basketball because court space and the right amount of players are not always available.

Connecticut is the last stop on the tour’s We Are Hoops partnership with Eastbay -- which provided every player a new set of shoes, but it's the off-court connections and networking opportunities that matter the most.

“We actually offer professional development,” said “Run It Back” founder Lexi Valentin. “We have opportunities for photographers and videographers to meet others within their specific states.”

Valentin, who grew up in Queens, New York, played on the boys’ varsity basketball team at her high school as the only girl on the team. Her passion for the game took her around the country, eventually leading to a collegiate basketball career.

“If you’re just from the tri-state area…all those places become your home,” she said. “Especially playing on the AAU [high school] basketball circuit growing up, you go to these different states all the time. Being able to bring this run to Connecticut is really special.”

“Run It Back” has held 15 open runs in 10 different states this year – both co-ed and ladies-only. All players 18 and older are welcome to join online and follow “Run It Back” on Instagram.

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