Ridgefield Father’s Day 5K a family affair for the Kearns

By Lenn Zonder

RIDGEFIELD — Phil Kearns’ three sons waited patiently for him at the finish line behind the old Ridgefield High School Sunday. If dad was looking for a little respect on Father’s Day, he sure didn’t find it running with his sons in the third annual Father’s Day 5K Road Race.

All three boys reached the finish line before he did.

Christian, 9, the youngest of the Kearns’ clan, was the first to cross the line. He won the 1K Fun Run in a time of 6:22.

Twenty-year old Ethan, a rising senior and distance runner at Georgetown University, was next in line winning the 5K in a time of 16:06.

"I hadn’t run a road race in Ridgefield for some time,” Ethan said. "I run three seasons a year at school, and I’ve been hurt a lot.”

The former two-time All-State runner in high school was pleased with his time Sunday, but said he ran a 14:39 5K in college.

Jesse Kearns, 16, took seventh in the 5K, with a time of 18:49. Jesse, a distance runner at Ridgefield High School, was also the first member of Boy Scout Troop 116 to cross the finish line.

Jesse has run a 3,200-meter (two-mile) personal best in high school in 10:24. The time is on par with Ethan’s time in the 5K Sunday.

"There are many runners in our family,” he said, "uncles and cousins and a grandfather on my side of the family who ran in the ‘War Games,’ during World War I.”

The "War Games,” he said, was a one-time replacement for the Olympics.

Besides running, the Kearns family is also involved with scouting. Phil, who finished with a time of 21:56 Sunday, is an adult leader, while all his sons are or have been scouts.

Kathleen Innantuoni of Waterbury was the top female finisher with her time of 19:56. The 33-year old barber and mother of two children took up running 15 months ago to keep her weight down after quitting smoking.

Madison Haller, an 11-year old running prodigy from South Salem, N.Y., was second female finisher at 20:58. Haller was the women’s winner of the Ridgefield Spring Fling 5K in April.

"The Father’s Day Race has been growing every year,” said Ward Carpenter, an adult scout leader and race director. "One reason it’s growing is because so many families are running together. We have several moms, dads, and the kids running today.”

Carpenter said this year’s third running of the race drew and event high of 150 runners for both the 1K and 5K combined, 30 more runners that last year.

The Father’s Day 5K is sponsored by Troop 116 of Ridgefield.

All proceeds from the race benefit the programs and activities of the troop, including sending scouts to Philmont (Boy Scout) Ranch in New Mexico, the quadrennial Boy Scout National Jamboree, and this year, a hiking and camping adventure in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

"We are also big into giving back to the community,” said Rob Rowe, an Eagle Scout and an adult scout leader. "We work on community projects like cleaning and beautifying Main Street. Many of the guys also do individual projects to earn their eagle rank.”

One of the boys who ran in the race, D. J. Wolff, built a bridge in Aldrich Park over some wetlands. He worked with town conservation commissioner Lillian Willis to complete the project. Colin Wilson, another scout, built a 150-foot handicap access ramp for Rails to Trails.

"We do these projects, including the road race, to serve our community while at the same time promoting our troop,” Rowe said.

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