NORWALK, Conn. -- Runners and community members came together at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk Sunday to support a healthy lifestyle at the Ian James Eaccarino Memorial 9-Mile Running Race.
The race was sponsored by the Lightfoot Running Club, the Norwalk Recreation and Parks Department, Booth Financial and the Courage to Speak Foundation. Mayor Harry Rilling kicked off the race, and Don Capone served as Race Director.
This year, 130 runners participated in the community race. A plaque was given to Frank Bonaddio 13, of Norwalk for crossing the finish line as the youngest participant in the race. This demonstrates the commitment to a healthy drug-free lifestyle – the essence of the Courage to Speak Foundation's message to young people. Frank attends Our Lady of Fatima in Wilton.
The first male finisher was Mitch West, 41, with a time of 58.06 and the first place female finisher was Laura Dorsky, 21, with a time of 105.37.
This annual race is run each year in memory of Ian James Eaccarino, who died in 1996 of an accidental heroin and prescription drug overdose. Following his death, his mother Ginger Katz started the Courage to Speak Foundation , a non-profit organization whose mission is to save lives by empowering youth to be drug free and parents to communicate effectively with their children about the dangers of drugs.
Over the past 20 years, Katz and her husband Larry together have presented Ian’s story to hundreds of thousands of people across the country and have been recognized on a state and national level for their work.
The Courage to Speak Foundation has developed drug prevention education programs taught in Connecticut schools and beyond, and Courage to Speak - Courageous Parenting 101, a free course offered in English and Spanish evaluated and recommend by Yale University that educates parents on how to keep their children safe from drugs. Over one thousand parents have attended the program and over 130 facilitators are trained to teach the course throughout Connecticut as well as many other states.
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