The 14th annual Hot COCO 5K, Kids Fun Run and 1-Mile Walk was held on Saturday, Nov. 12, in Cheshire. This year, organizers were raising money for adaptive speech tech and a speech therapist at Abilities Without Boundaries (AWB). AWB serves adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Cheshire and a dozen surrounding towns.
Unusually warm November weather and skies that cleared by race time led to a memorable event. The race began at Norton School and traveled the historic Farmington Canal Line. The Kids Fun Run was followed by a 5K and a 1-mile walk.
The AWB Music Program Band performed just before the Kids Fun Run. The band is made up of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who connect through music.
After the race, runners and spectators enjoyed a post-race party featuring entertainment, food, beverages, music and an awards ceremony. Plenty of hot cocoa was enjoyed.
“Half of the adults in our care have communications challenges,” said Amanda Barnes, executive director. “These range from nonverbal individuals to those who have cognitive or pronunciation difficulties. New technologies can help us ‘unlock’ their voices. We can help our individuals better express their thoughts. However, the expense of the devices required, and a speech therapist to implement them, are not covered by our usual state funding.”
Lloyd R. Saberski, M.D., is Abilities Without Boundaries Board President and Hot COCO Race Chairman. He said the race is an important fundraiser but does much more. “We want our local community to be more aware of the developmentally-disabled adults we serve. Their needs are often overlooked. Abilities Without Boundaries offers an important service to our community and the race greatly raises our organization’s visibility. We rely upon our community to provide job opportunities for our program participants, as well as funding support.”
The first male and male-from-Cheshire finisher was John Snow, 31 (16:52). The first female finisher was Samantha Law, 22, from Norwalk (20:53), and the first female finisher from Cheshire was Sage Falcon, 13 (21:44).