50th annual Granby Road Race

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A Granby Road Race from a prior year. Submitted photo

The 50th annual Granby Road Race will be held on Saturday, Sept. 18, marking the Golden Anniversary of this Granby tradition. 

Fifty years ago, a group of dedicated and driven individuals decided that Granby should have a local race. Dennis Lobo, Dave Bale, and Dave Hildreth spent time planning and discussing what would make the race a success. One thing they knew for sure—all would be welcome to run.

At that time, many races, including some big-name races in Connecticut would not allow women to participate. The founders of the Granby Road Race (originally named the Ecofest), knew the right thing to do and happily welcomed all who wanted to participate. They also knew that our local gem, the McLean Game Refuge, must be incorporated. With a few more meetings, a new Granby tradition was born.

Eventually the group looked for someone to carry on the tradition and the YMCA seemed like a natural fit. The groups worked together and transitioned the race to the Y which added the 5K to the event.

Over the years, the race has hosted local legends and even a few national-level runners.  There have been races with beautiful weather, some when it was wet and cold, but the race has persevered through it all. Even last year during the pandemic, the committee hosted a virtual race before eventually working through the state’s protocols and running an in-person race later in the year. 

Race sponsors have been very lucky over these many years with runner participation and the support the race has received from sponsors and the community. The race gives runners the ability to take part in a great local event and it gives the Y the ability to support its annual campaign that gives friends and neighbors access to the Y’s services and programs regardless of their ability to pay. It reinforces the Y’s core values of Caring, Honesty, Respect, and Responsibility.

If you are not familiar with this historic event, it is a unique race that is a mix of road and trails and offers beautiful views of our community. It and the Y are fortunate to have support from the Granby C.E.R.T., Granby Ambulance, Granby Police, and countless volunteers to make this event as safe as possible.

You may see people wearing the Granby Road Race shirts from previous years, or maybe even the famous painter’s cap around town. If you have run the race, you have a story to tell. Did you meet your husband or wife at the race? Was this the first race of your running career? Have you run 25 consecutive races? Were you on Coach Lobo’s track team? Are you a family member of one of our founders? We would love to hear your story and why this race is special to you. Please share your story at granbyroadrace@ghymca.org so we can share it on our social media outlets.

This year, we are excited to share the 50th celebration t-shirt with all participants. To ensure you receive one of these collectible shirts, please be sure to register now at ghymca.org/granbyroadrace

Thank you to some early sponsors for the 2021 race including HM Life Insurance, Liberty Bank, Ensign Bickford Aerospace and Defense, Antonucci Electric and Maple View Brewery.  

We would be honored to have all Granby businesses sponsor the 50th annual Granby Road race. Be on the lookout for more information. Individuals can also sponsor this year’s race to pay tribute to 50 years of history.

Whether you are running, volunteering, or supporting the runners, we look forward to seeing you on Sept. 18 at 8:30 a.m.

For more information about sponsorships and how you can support this race, please contact brian.liss@ghymca.org