Longmeadow UNICO to host inaugural Fall Fun Run & 5K

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Sept. 21,
2022


| Miasha Lee

LONGMEADOW – The Longmeadow Chapter of UNICO National is hosting their first Fall Fun Run & 5K on Oct. 8 at the Town Green and the Richard Salter Storrs Library on 693 Longmeadow St. The 5K is geared for participants 11 years of age and up, while the Fun Run is geared for children up to age 10.

As part of the Long Meddowe Fall Festival, the 5K will begin at 8 a.m. on the front lawn of the library and the Fun Run will start at 9 a.m. on the north green in front the Community House. Entry fees for the 5K are $25 for those 11 years of age and up ($30 on the day of the race), $5 for children 4 to 10 years of age and free for 3 years of age and under for the fun run. Proceeds from the race will benefit the Storrs Library as well as Longmeadow UNICO’s charitable programs. Those who registers for the 5K will receive a T-shirt while supplies last. The top three men’s and women’s 5K finishers will be awarded cash prizes. First place $200, second place $100 and third place $75.

“We’re hoping for a good turnout and the weather being great that day,” said President Dennis Scibelli of Longmeadow UNICO. “There hasn’t been a race in a few years in Longmeadow like this. Hopefully, we get the same support that we’ve gotten in the past from the Longmeadow community on Oct. 8.”

UNICO (Unity, Neighborliness, Integrity, Charity and Opportunity) National is a nationwide service organization promoting Italian heritage and culture by supporting charitable, scientific, cultural, educational, and literary projects. Its memberships are made up of U.S citizens of Italian heritage or someone who’s married to an individual with Italian heritage. Numerous chapters across the country devote their time to serve their local communities, supporting UNICO National causes such as scholarships, Cooley’s Anemia, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Cancer Prevention and Research.

Scibelli stated, “In the late 1990s, UNICO needed to expand in the community with additional chapters, and there wasn’t one in Longmeadow. We decided to charter one in Longmeadow, and came up with the 22 members to establish the chapter in October of 2000.”

He continued, “Our mission is promoting Italian heritage, scholarships and mental health awareness. With that mission, we’ve been going for 23 years promoting mental health awareness with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Western Massachusetts. We started with scholarships for graduating Longmeadow High School seniors for the first several years. Now we have expanded to include East Longmeadow and Minnechaug Regional high schools.”

Vice President Heather Marchetta, who is also director of adult services at Storrs Library, and Attorney Kimberly Roche, past president, are the two committee members who got this race up and going. Roche always wanted to have a race, so Longmeadow UNICO started forming the committee with their membership. When the coronavirus pandemic occurred, the race was put on hold, but now they are ready to host the race this fall.

“We hope this race becomes an annual event,” Scibelli said. “As UNICO, we want to wrap ourselves around the Longmeadow community. We want to be more involved, not just with Italian heritage. We want to promote other social and cultural functions with the library and the senior center. We want to open our programs to everybody in the community.”

To sign up, visit https://runsignup.com/Race/MA/Longmeadow/StorrsSyrupStroll. Those interested in joining Longmeadow UNICO, email Scibelli at [email protected] or call 348-5729.


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