Members of Quinnipiac Field Hockey Volunteer at Sandy Hook Run for the Families 5K Held in Hartford

Official Sandy Hook Run for the Families Website

HARTFORD, Conn. – The undeniably tragic story of Sandy Hook Elementary School has sent shockwaves across the world. Hundreds of thousands of supporters have lent a hand through the aftermath in hopes of rebuilding a town and members of the community back to the once vibrant town. On Saturday, March 23 members of the Quinnipiac field hockey team did their part as they joined thousands of volunteers, 15,000 runners and 30,000 spectators for the Sandy Hook Run for the Families 5K.

Junior Amanda Danziger (Smithtown, N.Y.) jumped on the phones to organize the team event as 11 members of the team volunteered their time to help direct the running of the Kid's Race which had over 900 participants. The tragedy at Sandy Hook hit close to home for Danziger as she attended Sandy Hook Elementary while she was growing up. Her family later moved to Long Island for work-related reasons but the junior defenseman will always have a special connection to the school and those involved.

"Volunteering at the Sandy Hook 5K was a great experience, as a team we had a lot of fun supporting and cheering on all of the kids running in the one mile race," Danziger said. "Personally it was a fulfilling experience for me to be able to give back to the community that I grew up in. Helping raise over $400,000 for the families is an amazing accomplishment and I was glad that I got to be a part of it all."

Members of the field hockey team were stationed throughout the kid's course, helping direct the children in the right direction and ensuring the safety of the young participants. The Bobcats also arrived early that morning to help with the event setup as they joined in the efforts of thousands of volunteers. Senior Cate Colucci (Gloucester, R.I.) was one of the 11 who volunteered and she raved on the energy and atmosphere of all those who were in Hartford that Saturday afternoon.

"The kids had a really good time and we were all so happy to be there," Colucci said. "We all helped setup the event and the race itself was so much fun because seeing the smiles on their faces made it all worth it."

Photo courtesty of Hartford Marathon Foundation Website

Following the heartbreak that was the Newtown shootings, two people from Naugatuck – Kate Blake and Matt Marcella – phoned into Hartford Marathon director Beth Shluger and asked her if she could help put on a run to benefit Sandy Hook. Shluger agreed and set up a 5K to be held at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury. The initial projections were set for roughly 3,000 runners signing up.

Within 24 hours, 2,000 people had registered and the event was well underway. The race moved from Western to downtown Danbury and then, when that venue couldn't hold the runners, to downtown Hartford.

The entry fees, which total $344,059, will be donated to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund administered by the United Way of Western Connecticut. Through online fundraising efforts by runners and teams, another $83,000 in donations were collected, according to race officials. On race day, a check of $438,131 in donations was handed to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund.

Photo courtesty of Hartford Marathon Foundation Website

Those combined numbers made the Sandy Hook Run larger than the Hartford Marathon and about the same size as the Thanksgiving Day Manchester Road Race, which had its 76th running last year.

The Hartford Marathon Foundation is donating their organizing services and the city of Hartford has donated part of the cost of the police and city services. Many parking lot owners donated lots to provide free parking. Reebok provided free shirts and Bay State Race Services offered its timing services for free.

The Bobcats will be starting their spring season schedule with exhibition games against Lafayette and Monmouth on April 6 and 7, respectively. The games are scheduled to begin at Noon.

Contact: Maxx McNall; maxx.mcnall@quinnipiac.edu