BROOKFIELD, Conn. -- Over 150 runners greeted 2017 by racing the 30th annual New Year's Day Brookfield Lions Run for Sight 4-miler under sunny skies on Sunday, Jan. 1.
Runners enjoyed the relatively balmy 40-degree temperatures for the race, which started and finished at Brookfield High School.
The male winner was Christopher Zablocki, 28, of Essex, in 19:25. The top female winner, with a time of 28:43, was 53-year-old Alene Lofink, manager of Woodbridge Running Company in Brookfield. Lofink beat over 90 other women runners.
Gary Hida, a 54-year-old from New Milford, said this was the second time he has run this New Year's Day race.
"It was a well-run small race with a community feel. And on a beautiful New Year’s morning, it was a great way to start the year," he said.
Hida said he had a decent run. “It was fun running with friends,” he said.
The most challenging part of the course was the long straight finish. “It is a long pull,” he said.
Hida said he didn’t follow any particular strategy for the race, nor did he train for it. “It was just to go run and try not to get injured,” he said.
However, Hida said he does train for longer races. “I like the challenge of the longer races,” said Hida, who has run 42 marathons and one ultra-marathon.
Like Hida, Brookfield resident Jim Harron, 53, said he also enjoys the New Year's Day race in his hometown. “It was great," he said.
"The race was well-organized. There were lots of volunteers at the corners, directing us. It went very smoothly," said Harron, who ran the race for the first time in 2006.
Harron enjoys running in cooler temperatures as well as running with friends. “It’s always more fun running with a good group," he said, referring to the Woodbridge Running Group in Brookfield, which he trains with regularly on Saturday mornings.
Harron’s daughter Paulina, 21, also ran the race, coming in as the second overall female.
The mission of the Lions Club is to empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding.
Lions are known as "knights of the blind," focusing on programs and services for the blind and visually impaired – and aim to eliminate preventable and reversible blindness.
To view the race results, click here .
For more information on the Brookfield Lions Club, click here .