Close to 2,500 runners expected as Faxon Law Fairfield Races return to live racing

There are more than 2,000 runners registered for the Faxon Law Fairfield Road Races, and organizers are expecting around 2,500 participants making it the largest Connecticut road race in nearly two years.

The two-day event begins Saturday at Jennings Beach in Fairfield with the 5K and the Lil’ Stags Fun race while the half marathon event will take place on Sunday.

“What we found out in the Branford Road Race and other races was it looks like most races are back to around 80-85% of what they were pre-COVID,” Event coordinator John Bysiewicz said. “Before COVID we had around 3,300 and I think we are going to be a number between 2,500 and 3,000 participants.”

The Fairfield University sponsored “Lucas Challenge” challenges runners to participate in both the 5K and half marathon, completing 16.2 total miles over two days.

Among the participants will be Everett Hackett, a 2008 Hall high school graduate who in 2017 became the first Connecticut male to win the Faxon Law half marathon in over a decade.

“He is one of the favorites and he is a Connecticut runner and he has won it before,” Bysiewicz said. “He was the first Connecticut runner (to win) we had in about 20 years, so we could see another Connecticut winner.”

Last year the race, like many others, was held virtually. Runners submitted times for the 5K event and/or the half marathon, and times were compiled and scored digitally.

“Last year we had a virtual race and we had about 800 people who did a half marathon or a 5K,” Bysiewicz said. “We scored the race based on their virtual times, we did a lot of virtual events last year and it was a lot of work. It was not the same fun you get with putting on a live event.”

In regards to fun this year is the post-race beach party returns, featuring live music, food vendors and a live awards ceremony.

“We always had a beach party before last year,” Bysiewicz said. “We have made some precautions, such as not serving any watermelon like we have in the past. We have bananas and oranges that are pre-packaged and food will not be buffet style, people will be handed their food individually.”

A weekend after the Branford Road Race had over 1,000 participants, Faxon Law will be yet another step towards normalcy within the running community.

“There are a lot of people chomping at the bit because they haven’t raced in a long time, but there are still other people who are apprehensive about coming out,” Bysiewicz said. “We have seen that a lot of people really do want to socialize and get back to a more normal life.”

“I am really happy that people are back and they can still register for the race,” Bysiewicz said. “We are also going to take race day registration so we are getting back to normal in pretty much all aspects. Hopefully COVID rates will continue to decline and we can keep having live events in Connecticut.”