NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – The annual Faxon Law New Haven Road Race returned on Monday, and News 8 was your proud media sponsor.

About 4,000 runners came from 42 states, and the nice weather drew out thousands of spectators to cheer people on. 

Faxon Law New Haven Road Race again hosted the USA Track and Field 20K Championships with the purse prize of over $40,000. But some people just ran for the fun of it.

“It’s not my first time but I haven’t done the half marathon in a while so hoping we make it across the finish line okay,” said Emily Esposito. “My goal is always just to finish. 

George Weber started running the 20K race decades ago. He is 72 years old now.

“And our club, triathlon club, the Shoreline Sharks recommended coming down and doing it and I’ve done it ever since,” Weber said.

This year’s field features six Olympians, two posts 20K Champions, and the fastest U.S. female marathoner. The 20K racecourse takes runners through the city.

And with four different races, there is something for the whole family. Especially the Fitzpatrick family, where Dad cheers the crew on with the cowbells. The mom, Sandra, does the 20K.

“There’s great support on the race. Bands and people cheering,” Sandra said. “It runs through my neighborhood and actually right past my house.”

All speeds and ages were welcomed on the tracks, for as long as people could run. Organizers said there were 102 runners over the age of 70 who have signed up for the other races. 

But first, the kids got to show off their own skills. That’s right, runners of all ages hit the pavement. Kids started the day off with the Kids Fun Run, which spanned about half a mile.

“It’s not that long, it’s pretty easy and if you’re an older kid, you’ve got a good chance of winning,” explained 11-year-old Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The younger kids needed some help, so Mayor Justin Elicker stepped in and ran holding the hand of his 4-year-old daughter, April.

Elicker runs the 20K every year. That race is a national championship and includes some of the top distance runners from all over the country.

This year, Conner Mantz beat Leonard Korir for the men’s 20K championship. Kiera D’Amato edged out Emily Sisson to set a new women’s course record. Some people you may know ran the 5K, including Alyssa Taglia, Gil Simmons, Laura Hutchinson, and Kent Pierce.

“I feel great and I figured why not do it?” Weber said. At 72, News 8 asked him, how long will he keep running it? “As long as I can,” was his only response.

Most runners said it felt great to be back to normal even though the race was capped at 4,500 runners. That is less than some previous years and was a nod to lingering concerns about Covid.

For more information on New Haven Road Race 2022, click here