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Young Darien Runners Training For Charity 5K In Stamford

Stretching before are (front, left to right) Jack Pond, Ryan Spengler, Charlie Silsby and Charlie Feingold. Back, left to right, Julian Van Dijkum, Alex de Castro and Josh Herbert. Photo Credit: Contributed
Runners (front, left to right) Charlie Silsby, Nicholas Liu, Julian Van Dijkum, Andrew Huffman, Jack Pond, Ryan Spengler, Charlie Feingold, Milo Carter; and (back) Tom Frank and Alex de Castro get ready to practice. Photo Credit: Contributed
Roye School girls Emily Hyatt, Grace Uhlman, Jane Keleghan, Catalina Correa, Reagan Hyatt. Back row, from left to right: Keegan Smith, Mia Macdonald, Courtney Ball, Meghan Saba, Charlotte Golden, Olivia Golden and Lindsey Darby make cards. Photo Credit: Contributed
Keegan Smith, Catalina Correa and Reagan Hyatt make cards for Bennett Cancer Center patients. Photo Credit: Contributed

DARIEN, Conn. -- Students of Darien’s Let Me Run and Girls on the Run after-school programs are training for Sunday's Hope in Motion 5K, a charity event benefiting Stamford Hospital’s Bennett Cancer Center.

The 5K and 10K runs will take place Sunday, June 1, at 8 a.m. in downtown Stamford’s Columbus Park. Nearly 100 young runners from Hindley, Holmes, Royle, Pear Tree Point and Tokeneke Schools will compete in the 5K or 3.1-mile race. Each one is running with at least one parent or guardian.

A group of Darien cheerleaders have volunteered to be there on race day to root for them.

“We’re thrilled that Darien’s Let Me Run and Girls on the Run programs chose Hope in Motion to be their target race,” said Liz Herbert, a Darien resident and chair of the Hope in Motion 5K and 10K runs. “It will not only give them a chance to experience a real race on closed roads, it will show them the power of people coming together to raise money and awareness for a good cause.”

All of the donations raised for Hope in Motion support the Bennett Cancer Center. The money provides quality-of-life services, such as nutrition, yoga, transportation, and treatment navigation programs – all free of charge to patients.

The Royle chapter of Girls on the Run made thinking-of-you cards for patients at the Bennett Cancer Center. The Girls on the Run curriculum includes a community service component.

While Girls on the Run is for third-, fourth- and fifth-grade girls, Let Me Run is for fourth- and fifth-grade boys. Both of the programs encourage their participants to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles and relationships through running.

The Girls on the Run program is now offered at Hindley, Holmes, Royle, Pear Tree Point and Tokeneke Schools. The Let Me Run program, on the other hand, is brand new to Darien. Shannon Silsby, co-chair of the Royle PTO, brought it to Royle this spring.

“As a mother of a 13-year-old daughter and three boys, I found myriads of programs for my daughter that helped her craft her character, develop inner strength and build confidence, but I did not find many of these opportunities for my boys,” said Silsby.

“Having been a runner for over 30 years, I knew first hand the power of running in strengthening self and building relationships. As the mother of very active boys for whom moving is living, I found that Let Me Run was the perfect combination of physical activity and challenging individual and group lessons on living life to the best of ones ability.”

The boys in Royle’s Let Me Run program are meeting twice a week. While each session has activities that improve the boys’ emotional well-being and assist them to enhance their relationships with others, the boys enjoy the actual running the most. The times and lengths of the runs vary from session to session with the end goal of running the Hope in Motion 5K at the close of the program.

Silsby, along with Darien resident Maija Judelson, hosted a coffee to introduce parents from other elementary schools in Darien to the Let Me Run program. A representative from the Let Me Run program, which is based in Charlotte, N.C., attended the coffee and answered parents’ questions about Let Me Run.

For more information on Let Me Run, go to For more information on Girls on the Run, go to

For more information on Hope in Motion, go to

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