Final Race: Brendan’s Home Run 5K Ends After 18 Years This Father’s Day

Photo: The start of the Brendan’s Home Run 5K.

For 17 years, Belmont celebrated the life of a young resident with a road race that became a Father’s Day tradition.

But the 18th edition will be the last as the Brendan’s Home Run 5K finishes its long successful run on Sunday, June 16.

“This is the final year of the road race,” said Casey Grant, president of the Brendan Grant Foundation and father of Brendan who died in 2001 after a collision while playing baseball.

“There’s a lot of good memories. And we’ve done a lot of good. But the effort to put on a race that both residents and some really good runners want to attend is just enormous,” he said during a break at the Memorial Weekend Baseball Tournament that took place Saturday.

(In a related note, due to the construction of the Belmont Middle and High School, this year will be the last for the tournament at its present location, the Brendan Grant Memorial Field.)

Grant cited a number of factors for ending the event, but foremost was losing key people who supported it for two decades. The most significant loss was race director and vice president of the foundation Brian Rogers who died suddenly last year, which Grant called a “shock beyond shock.”

“[Rogers] was quite honestly, the champion of that whole effort from the very beginning” when the race started in 2002, said Grant.

The race – which serves as a fundraiser for the foundation – started small but grew each year under Rogers’ tutelage. An experienced runner, Rogers handled the “incredibly intense volunteer effort” that attracted young up-and-coming runners including an Olympian (London 2012’s Steph Reilly from Ireland), numerous US Olympic Trails participants, NCAA national champions, marathon winners (Belmont’s own Becca Pizzi), families, joggers, plodders, walkers and for many years a famous astronaut, Apollo 11’s Micheal Collins.

“It’s just people generally do not understand how much work goes into. It’s enormous and it’s brutal,” Grant said.

While the race was successful, Grant said he and Rogers felt for the past few years the time was approaching for the race to come to a conclusion.

“Brian and I used to talk about having a logical end for the race and actually going out on top, and not withering on the vine,” said Grant. Rather than find a replacement for Rogers – “You know that was impossible” – Grant and the foundation decided this year would be the last.

“Here it is, the race’s 18th year, and Brendan was 18 when he passed on, and we thought, you know, it was time,” said Grant. “We clearly want to do it one last time, and honor all these wonderful people have done so much over the years, and really, given tremendous amounts.”

Each participant will receive a tribute booklet in their runners packet “to honor all these great athletes as well as all these people who’ve passed on and support them,” said Grant.

Celebrate Father’s Day On The Run At Brendan’s Home Run 5K

Photo: And they’re off!

Father’s Day. It’s when the family has a relaxing Sunday with dear ol’ dad.

But in Belmont, Father’s Day starts with a quick five kilometer ramble through town as the 16th Annual Brendan’s Home Run takes place on Father’s Day, June 18.

The certified 5K (3.1 miles) race and walk starts and finishes at Belmont High School Harris Field track (adjacent the Skating Rink on Concord Avenue) at 10 a.m. The walk will start at 9:30 a.m.

With its collection of really fast runners – Race Director Brian Rogers is predicting the women’s course record will be “smashed” – at the head of the race and a flat, easy course for the less-than-fast folks, the race has become a must-do early summer event in Belmont and in eastern Massachusetts.

Race participants will get the opportunity to take part in a standout raffle. There is also prize money for the fastest three male and female finishers, age-group and team awards including fastest parent/child tandems.

Cost: Pre-register before Thursday, June 16: $25. Register on day of race: $30. Download the entry form at

The first 400 entrants receive commemorative T-shirt.

Proceeds from the race go to benefit The Brendan Grant Foundation and Memorial Scholarships. The foundation noted the race’s presenting sponsors Belmont Savings Bank and Fitness Together are instrumental to the success of this great event and it’s deeply grateful for the support and generosity of the DerKazarian family.

Contact The Brendan Grant Foundation at 617-489-1514 or at for more information.

Start Father’s Day On The Roads At The 15th Annual Brendan’s Home Run

Photo: The race.

Rather than give dad a tie or take him out of dinner on Father’s Day, how about start the day running a quick five kilometers with the kids and help Belmont’s own Brendan Grant Foundation. 

The 15th annual Brendan’s Home Run will take place on Father’s Day, June 19.

The certified 5K (3.1 miles) race and walk starts and finishes at Belmont High School Harris Field track (adjacent the Skating Rink on Concord Avenue) at 10 a.m. The walk will start at 9:30 a.m.

With its collection of really fast runners – Olympic Trial qualifiers and a few NCAA Div. 3 champs – at the head of the race and a flat, easy course for the less than fast folks, the race has become a must-do Father’s Day event in Belmont and in Eastern Massachusetts.

Pre-register before Thursday, June 16: $25. Register on day of race: $30

Download an entry form at

The first 400 entrants receive commemorative T-shirt

To benefit The Brendan Grant Foundation and Memorial ScholarshipsOur presenting sponsors Belmont Savings Bank, Fitness Together, and Belmont Dental Group are instrumental to the success of this great event. We are deeply grateful for their support, and the generosity of Alan & Isabelle DerKazarian.

Refreshments, raffle, prize money for fastest three male and female finishers, age-group and team awards including fastest parent/child tandems.

Contact The Brendan Grant Foundation at 617/489-1514 or at for more information on Brendan Grant and the work of the Foundation.

Fathers Day a Home Run for Runners, Grant Foundation

You couldn’t have asked for a nicer Fathers Day in Belmont this past Sunday, June 15; a cloudless sky, warm temps with a cooling breeze.

Perfect weather for more than 500 runners and walkers to head to Harris Field to take part in the 13th annual Brendan’s Home Run 5K Race and Walk, celebrating

“What a great celebration of this town and all the people who came not just to walk and race but who volunteer every year, who ask ‘what can I do’,” said Casey Grant, the founder and president of The Brendan Grant Foundation.

The race saw former champions (Ryan McCalmon, Jessica Minty, Dan Vassallo) and veterans of the race toe the line with a pair of newly-minted national track champions – Belmont High School alumnus Chris Stadler (5,000 meters) and Andrew Carey (800 meters) who finished first in the NCAA Div. 3 track championships last month in Ohio – and a slew of other younger speedsters, many with Belmont roots.

But for the vast majority of runners and walkers, the event was just a perfect way to begin the day went families get together to allow for the feting of “dear ol’ dad.”

It was one of those youngsters, 22-year-old Louis Serafini from Brookline who took the lead at the two-mile mark and brought home the win (along with a $500 winner’s check) in 15 minutes and 15 seconds. Vassallo (who is hardly an old-timer at 29) caught 21-year-old Stadler in the final 300 meters to take second over the eight-time All-American from Haverford College also won the indoor 5,000 meter Div. 3 championship in 2013.

“I ran pretty conservatively and hung behind [Vassallo and Stadler] until two miles then I made my move which ended up being enough for the win,” said Serafini, who graduated from Boston College last year (he ran four years at BC and finished second in the inaugural Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon in Newton last week) and is the manager of the Heartbreak Hill Running Company in Newton.

Stadler’s former team mates, Paul Green and Carey, finished in fourth and fifth to round out a top five averaging 22.2 years old.

“We are particularly proud that three of the top five runners are graduates from Belmont High, and two of those national champions who have grown up with this race in their background. So we feel that we are cultivating the great runners in our community,” said Grant,

No such luck for the youngsters on the women’s field as returning champion Minty beat out Somerville’s Lindsey Willard by more than half a minute in 17 minutes and 24 seconds as Belmont’s Jamie Shea, who at 40 has ten and five years on the two women before her, finished third in 18.54.

“This is the third time I’ve come back for the race. I love the energy, how well organized the race is and how much of a community event it is,” said Minty, a former Colby College All-American who ran the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials who lives in Concord.

It is that sense of community which Grant hoped would become the lasting legacy of his son, Brendan, who died in an on-field accident playing baseball in June 2001. 

“We started this 13 years ago on the heels of my son passing away … and that was also a community tragedy,” said Grant.

“At the time I felt it was a wonderful way for everybody to do something,” he said.

“And now, we still feel that way, that this is a win-win for Belmont because we are doing great things for the community,” said Grant.