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Team From Darien's Holmes School Runs For Sandy Hook

Staff members at Holmes School in Darien (from left) Jan Psichopaidas, Lauren Robbins, Elizabeth McIntyre, Kim Neilsen, and Alison Pellicci will run in Saturday's Sandy Hook Run For The Families.
Staff members at Holmes School in Darien (from left) Jan Psichopaidas, Lauren Robbins, Elizabeth McIntyre, Kim Neilsen, and Alison Pellicci will run in Saturday's Sandy Hook Run For The Families. Photo Credit: Contributed by Elizabeth McIntyre

DARIEN, Conn. – A team of runners from Holmes Elementary School in Darien will race Saturday in the inaugural Sandy Hook Run For The Families in Hartford. The race supports the Sandy Hook School Support Fund, which was created after the mass murder at the Newtown school in December.

Elizabeth McIntyre, a first-grade teacher at Holmes, organized the team with kindergarten teacher Alison Pellicci and Lauren Robbins, a second-grade teacher. McIntyre said the 32-team member team is mostly Holmes staff and represents many Fairfield County communities. Readers can support the team with contributions to the Jack A. Pinto Charitable Gift Fund.

“A number of the staff members are enthusiastic about running, and we were looking for a way to support the community of Newtown,’’ McIntyre said. “This was a way we could all get together and support the town in some way. It’s a nice way for us to get together and do something outside of school.”

The race was originally scheduled to be held in Danbury. When the location was moved to Hartford, it did not impact the team’s commitment. “We still wanted to get together and do it as a team,’’ she said. “Even if it wasn’t in Connecticut, I think we’d still try and do it.”

When the women considered forming a team, she thought “we’d have five or six people.” The response stunned her. “I’m lucky I work at a school where we refer to each other as family,’’ McIntyre said. “As we were getting information on forming the team, the inbox for my email was overwhelming. Everyone wants to be involved. It’s indicative of the race as a whole.”

The runners will maintain a team theme for the weekend with a pasta party Friday and car pools to the race Saturday. She said they plan to run together in team shirts created especially for the race.

“It hits close to home,’’ said McIntyre, a first-year teacher at the school who ran the New York City Marathon in  2011. “I think any teacher would feel like it hits close to home. Especially in Connecticut, it impacts all of us.”

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