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Runners celebrate New Year’s Day at Chilly Chili run

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ORANGE, Conn. (WTNH) — There’s one way to start the new year off on the right foot: the Chilly Chili Run.

Hundreds ran and even more cheered on at the 23rd annual Chilly Chili Run in Orange.

“People know this is a place you can come on New Year’s Day,” said organizer Jane Opper.

After tackling that 5K in the chilly weather, runners are rewarded with a chili brunch to kick off the new year.

“It’s a good way to start the decade,” said John Casey who was running with his wife, Lynne. “First run of the decade, good to get one under our belts.”

RELATED: Folks dive into new year at New Haven’s Plunge for Parks

Runners of all ages and levels of competition took on the Wednesday morning race.

“I’m really not a runner; I’m a swimmer,” said 76-year-old Ann Onton. “I do running for cross training. I used to be a triathlete but I gave up the biking to concentrate on open water swimming.”

She was, fittingly, wearing race bib number 76.

“I broke an hour, but I’m still not down to where I was before I tore my hamstring.”

The 5K is all for a good cause — since its start, the Chilly Chili Run has raised money for the Amity Teen Center.

“This is our biggest fundraiser of the year and it’s so great to see all of these people come out,” said Opper. “Some of these people I’ve seen year after year.”

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