North Granby athlete honored for efforts to increase inclusivity for mobility impaired

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Photo by Michael A. Clubine

Helen Newman

Helen Newman has been breaking barriers to help increase opportunities for athletes with disabilities at competitive events. The North Granby native and University of Hartford student will be honored for those efforts at the Eversource Hartford Marathon.

While welcoming thousands of runners in person on Oct. 9, Hartford Marathon Foundation (HMF) is honoring nine activists who exemplify inclusivity efforts within their community as part of the 2021 Eversource Hartford Marathon Inspiration Team. Each team member will either be running the 5K, half marathon, full marathon or volunteering.

“Highlighting exceptional participants through an Inspiration Team is a decade-long tradition of this event. This year, we wanted to take the opportunity to delve deeper in our HMF community to highlight some participants making a significant difference to help the underrepresented here in Connecticut,” said Beth Shluger, CEO of the Hartford Marathon Foundation and Race Director of the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon. “We are so excited to be able to celebrate our participants in person again this year and honored to bring attention to this inspiring group of individuals who dedicate so much effort to helping others.”

Newman has been competing as a member of the Hospital for Special Care Adaptive Sports Program since she was three years old. While in high school, Newman helped to advance the platform of inclusion in high school sports by being one of the first wheelchair athletes in Connecticut to have points count for her team. When Newman is not training or racing, she can be found volunteering and mentoring the youngest members of the Adaptive Sports program. 

Joining Newman as members of the 2021 Inspiration Team are Meghan Freed of Hartford, Toni Johnson of Bristol, Kristen Marcroft of Hartford, John Motley of Hamden, Garrett Murray of New Britain, Noemi Rodriguez of Wethersfield, Quyên Truong of Hartford and Ana Valentin of Manchester.

In conjunction with the Run United theme for 2021, HMF launched the Lace Up for Social Justice campaign last month to celebrate the diverse backgrounds and unique experiences of those that participate in its race events. With support from Pratt&Whitney to cover costs, 100 percent from the sale of $10 commemorative shoelaces will directly benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hartford Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs.

Adorned in a rainbow of colors reading “I RUN FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE”, the shoelaces are on sale now through the HMF Shop, at upcoming HMF and Boys and Girls Clubs events and through registration for the Eversource Hartford Marathon.