NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk’s Liz Campbell fought mixed emotions as she approached Saturday’s Sandy Hook Run For The Families in Hartford. After finishing first overall in the women’s division, she fought back tears.
“When I crossed the finish line, I had tears in my eyes,’’ Campbell said. “I wanted to be linked to this race, and really wanted to win. It was that important to me.”
Campbell said the mixed emotions stemmed from the atmosphere surrounding the race, which supported the Sandy Hook School Support Fund. A gunman killed 26 people at the elementary school in Newtown in December. She also feared the start of the race because of the large crowd. “I thought I might get trampled, or I might trample someone,’’ she said.
She found her way to the front of the pack at the start of the race and led virtually the entire way. She finished the 5-kilometer course in 18:31 to win the women’s race by five seconds over Catherine McClure. Campbell, who works in Danbury and graduated from the University of New Hampshire last year, finished 17th overall in the field of 9,480 runners. There were 6,049 in the women’s division. Results are online .
While Campbell has won her fair share of races, the victory at Hartford ranks among her top achievements. “There are a couple of races that stick out, but this definitely makes the top three,’’ Campbell said. “Honestly, I didn’t think I was going to win. I’m so thankful that I did.”
More than the victory, however, Campbell was thrilled to be part of the healing process as people all over the world cope with the tragedy.
“I was planning to do it when it was scheduled for Danbury,’’ Campbell said. (The race was later moved to Hartford.) “I really wanted to do it. There was no way I couldn’t do it. I wanted to because of what it represented. The whole day was just surreal.”
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