WESTON, Conn. – If you have ever wanted to race against an Olympic gold medalist, Sunday’s Reservoir Run Half Marathon in Weston will be the perfect opportunity.
Taylor Ritzel, a gold medalist for the U.S. Women’s 8 in rowing last summer in London, is one of the runners expected at the first-year race. It begins at 8:30 a.m. at Weston High School.
Ritzel, a native of Colorado, graduated from Yale University in 2010. An accomplished rower, she also enjoys running. She was also a high school swimmer before making the transition to rowing.
Since winning the gold medal, Ritzel has worked with Milford-based Get In Touch Foundation, which encourages girls and women to “get in touch” with their bodies and provides information to fight breast cancer. Ritzel’s mother died in 2010 at the age of 54 from breast cancer.
“My mom was the reason I got into rowing, and she gave me that gift,’’ Ritzel said in a story earlier this month. “Rowing ended up working for me. I hope that she was there.”
Barbara King, a member of the Weston Kiwanis, the organizers of Sunday’s race, encouraged Ritzel to run the race.
Ritzel’s run is one of many treats for runners in the first-year race. Another will be the appearance by Christina Scionjay, who was crowned Miss Nutmeg 2009. Scionjay will not run the race.
Weston Kiwanis member Rick Amill has arranged for help at water stops from several organizations, including the Boy Scouts, the Norfield Grange, Weston Volunteer Fire Department and the Weston Police Benevolent Association, as well as Weston High School cross country runners.
The Weston High girls track and field team will also organize a kids fun run for children ages 11-and-under.
Race proceeds benefit the Purple Heart Homes, Eliminate and Weston Kiwanis. Complete information is available on the race website.