BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- A popular Bridgeport race will have a new affiliation, sponsor and big brother when runners reach the starting line on Sunday.
The Barnum Festival, with sponsorship from Aquarion, will host the Great Aquarion Barnum Festival 5k and 10k beginning at 8:30 on Sunday morning. The races finish at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard.
The 5k has been a part of the Fairfield County running landscape for a few years, but the 10k is a new addition. Aquarion also jumped in as the race sponsor.
“I think it’s a natural fit with the Barnum Festival,’’ Barnum Festival Ringmaster Jason Julian said. “They used to have a race with the Barnum Festival that was right in front of the parade. We had it for a couple of years. The Barnum Festival asked about two years ago if we could have a race and this is the right time. Aquarion stepped up with a big donation.”
The 10k (6.2 miles) used to be a road race staple, but fewer of them are around these days. Runners expressed interest in running a 10k, and race director Marty Schaivone designed a course in which the last few miles are the same as the 5k race. Both races end at the ballpark.
“Finishing on a baseball field is everything you’re not supposed to do as a kid,’’ Schaivone said. “I believe it’s the only race in Connecticut that ends on a ballfield. It’s definitely the only one in lower Connecticut.”
The race begins at Webster Bank Arena, and is run on a flat, scenic section of Bridgeport.
The race includes food and beer, a band, swag bags, and children’s activities, including a bounce house, face painting and clowns. There is also a run for the kids on the baseball field.
Veterans run free at the races, and there will be age group prizes and an award for the best costume.
“We’re doing everything we can to have people get a taste of Bridgeport and the Barnum Festival,’’ Julian said.
Runners can register online or the day of the race. A discount is available for runners who register by Thursday, May 26.