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.