Walkers prepare for Oct 2 marathon
With the sun low on the horizon and trying to peek through the morning clouds, a hearty group took off from Saybrook Point early Sunday morning for an 18-mile training walk to prepare for the Oct. 2, 2021, Terri Brodeur Foundation Walk for a Cure.
The group left at a brisk pace crossing causeways and meandering through the Fenwick neighborhood. It was the third of four training walks TBF hosts to prepare walkers for the full, half, or quarter marathon held each year starting in Old Saybrook and ending at Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford. All proceeds go directly to research grants, which are awarded by the foundation to those trying to find a cure for cancer and better treatments for those who already have the disease.
Vera Neuman of Groton was among the handful of early risers who set out at 7 a.m. Sunday morning. She first walked in the 2006 marathon – then called the Walk Across Southeastern Connecticut – but got busy with her life and wasn’t able to participate again. Now retired and facing Covid restrictions, she said it was time to get out and walk for a good cause.
Barb Avery of Old Lyme has participated in every walking fundraiser since 2006, finishing all but one, when she was forced to stop at the halfway point because she hadn’t trained properly. She’s completed 14 full marathons and one half marathon.
“You have to make sure you train,” she said, as she kept a quick pace. “You have to stop ev
ery three miles and stretch.” And, she said, walkers have to remember to stay hydrated. She also advised praying for good weather, adding, she has walked in the rain and walked when it was 90 degrees.
But she said the most important aspect of the walk is that she is doing something to help find a cure for breast cancer
Gabby Gualtieri and Samantha Jordan were also part of the early morning training walk. They are both recent college grads and now work for Pfizer Inc. Gabby has participated in 15 walks, mostly as a volunteer with her mother, Stacie Gualtieri, TBF’s founding treasurer. Oct 2 will be Samantha’s first walk and she said she’s ready.
The training walks include support cars that carry drinks and snacks. Anne Rochette coordinates the training walks, and is known for the thousands of peanut butter sandwiches she has made over the years that she shares with the walkers along the route. Sandy Maniscalco, TBF founder and board member, was stationed Sunday at designated pit stops to offer help with water, energy bars and other snacks.
The fourth and final training walk is a 20-mile route through Mystic on Sept. 18. Walkers will meet at 6:45 a.m. at Mystic River Park, on Cottrell Street and can do 6- or 8-mile laps. The walk begins promptly at 7 a.m. More information can be found at TBBCF.org.