This year's 5K run/walk and first-ever wellness fair at attracted about 2,000 runners and raised close to $37,000 for the organization Contractors for Kids, which will help support a Riverhead family whose son was a victim of an accident.
The force behind the 5K event was Erin Connolly, lead guidance counselor at Murphy, who was recently honored by Contractors for Kids for all her work running the event.
Connolly started the event in 2005. "We decided it would be fun to host a race," she said. "It was wonderful, actually, and we did it again the following year. It’s become something that’s taken on a life of its own."
But she said she couldn't do it without the full support of the district. "This would not be something I could ever do by myself," she said.
It's the fifth year the 5K event benefited Contractors for Kids, which supports local families whose lives have been affected by illness or injury. "It's so in line with what my beliefs are," Connolly said. "This is about kids, for kids, taking care of kids."
Also a Three Village resident, she has been with Murphy for 14 years.
Murphy principal Vincent Vizzo called Connolly a leader and a team player.
"Whenever we need something to be done, she and her team are there," he said. "She cares about kids, and she opens her heart for this race that she does every year. She spends hours and hours, not time during the day, but a tremendous amount of hours after-hours to put the race together. It grows bigger and bigger every single year."
Debbie O'Rourke, a volunteer with Contractors for Kids, called Connolly "an amazing, amazing person."
"Everybody that we honored is a community leader," she said. "People who do what Erin does, going above and beyond and helping the community at a great level."