CANTON, Oct. 24, 2020 – Road races with actual live competition have been a rarity in Connecticut during the COVID-19 pandemic.
About a hundred runners took advantage of an opportunity Saturday at the fourth annual Collinsville Trick or Trot, a 3.1-mile race to raise money for Canton’s Dollars for Scholars program. Some came out to race while others continued the tradition of dressing up in their favorite Halloween costumes and taking a morning run on the popular Farmington River Trail.
Canton’s Jennifer Rottkamp won the women’s race for the second straight year while Farmington’s Adam Gootnick set a new course record of 16:35, beating Seymour’s Matthew Solerti by a step in an all-out sprint to the finish line.
“There is not a lot of racing in 2020 so any opportunity to get some live racing, I am all for it,” Gootnick said.
Solerti, a senior at Seymour High, took the lead from the outset but Gootnick wasn’t far behind. “I was fortunate to have a pacer for 2.8 miles and I could tell coming up (the final) hill (onto the railroad bridge that crosses the Farmington River) that he was losing some speed.”
So, Gootnick decided to make his move with less than a half mile to go. As they approached the finish line, the two runners are virtually neck and neck. Gootnick got his foot on the finish line first, literally a tenth of a second before Solerti.
“It turned into a race in the first mile when he caught up with me,” Solerti said. “I just pushed it to the end and it was a race to the end.”
Rottkamp wasn’t challenged by any of the other women in the race. She was focused on trying to be her son, Tyler, an eighth-grade student at Canton Middle School and a few of his friends.
She couldn’t catch them but she was pleased to be out on the course trying to in live competition.
“There was a lot of support on the (course),” she said. “It was his two friends that I was competing with and they beat me at the end. This was the first race that I have done that wasn’t virtual so it was nice. I go faster because you’re motivated by everyone you are running around.”
In second place in the women’s race was 11-year-old Abby Rice of Granby, one of four runners from her family in the race. Rice, who finished about 20 seconds behind Rottkamp, was joined in the race by her mother, Kristine, her father, Phil and her younger sister, Megan.
The permit for the race allowed a maximum of 125 runners. Race Director Laurie McKenna said 106 runners came out for the event. A year ago, the race raised nearly $4,000 for Canton’s Dollar for Scholars with 113 runners. So, McKenna is hopeful that the race will raise close to that amount again.
“It feels really good to everyone and it is a nice event for the community,” she said. “It’s exciting to do something for the community where everyone can get out of the house. I feel blessed and grateful that we were allowed to do this today.”
Nearly everyone involved in the race wore a mask, including the spectators and runners before they began the race. Some runners even wore a mask during the event.
Collinsville Trick or Trot
Previous race champions
|Year: Overall winner||Time||Women’s winner (overall finish)||Time|
|2017: Steve Johnson||unknown||Jackie Birge, Farmington||unknown|
|2018: Piotr Kostyk, Bethel||17:53||Jackie Birge, Farmington (7)||21:42|
|2019: Elliott Via, Naugatuck||19:19||Jennifer Rottkamp, Canton (8)||22:30|
|2020: Adam Gootnick, Farmington||16:35||Jennifer Rottkamp. Canton||unknown|