2012 Tavern Trot Planning Committee- clockwise-Katie Murray, Ann Walsh, Mike Deneen, James Duncan, Perley Askerson, Rick Poirier and Paul Murray.

Story & Photo by: Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb

Save this date – September 16 – for the 6th annual Tavern Trot in the lovely hamlet of Windsor, Connecticut. Plans are underway for the sixth running of the 3.5 mile race through the historic center of Connecticut’s first town. Hosted by Union Street Tavern, the Tavern Trot is USATF certified and is a qualifier for the Manchester Road Race. Proceeds from the event will benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a national charity for research to fight childhood cancer.

The planning committee held its initial meeting Tuesday night, May 2, at the tavern which is located on 20 Union Street in Windsor Center.

“Last year we raised $20,000 and overall have donated $60,000,” noted planning committee member Paul Murray.

Members of the 2012 planning committee are Paul Murray and his wife Katie Murray, Ann Walsh, Mike Deneen, James Duncan, Perley Askerson and Rick Poirier.

Race day registration will be held from 11 a.m. to 12 noon. Start time is 12:30. Preregistration can be done by visiting http://www.unionstreettavern.com. The tentative cut-off date for preregistration is September 11. Free t-shirts will be given to the first 500 runners to register.  Water will be available along the route and afterwards there will be free refreshments, beer and food. There will also be live entertainment. Walkers are welcome.

A goal for the planning committee is to attract even more runners to the race which has been growing steadily.

“We’re hoping to attract 700 runners this year,” said Deneen, a part owner of Union Street Tavern and a runner himself.

Last year about 620 runners took part. Looking ahead, Deneen said he envisions even greater participation – “We don’t want to top out at 700,” he added.

The committee is tossing around ideas for incentives, such as a free Union Street Tavern commemorative glass, for past participants who sign up with a new runner for the 2012 race.

For Ann Walsh, a local volunteer coordinator for Alex’s Lemonade Stand, the continued support from the Tavern Trot for this charity is heartfelt.

“To me personally it has meant the Windsor community continuing to come together to support Alex’s Lemonade and the fight against pediatric cancer. Yes, they get some sponsors but this is a lot of work and these guys kick in some of their own money, “Walsh said, referring to the owners of the tavern.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand is named for “Alex” Scott, a little girl whose parents were originally from Windsor. Some of the tavern owners grew up with the Scotts and have maintained their friendships, Walsh pointed out.

“Maybe it’s (the trot) good business, but, that is not why it is done and that is what touches my heart. They have maintained their friendships which is rare in this day and age. This really means something to them,” said Walsh.