Carole Urban — running therapeutic and eye-opening
The day after her first half marathon in 2010, Milford’s Carole Urban lost about half of her vision resulting from a brain injury sustained in a motorcycle accident.
Vision therapy and, Urban believes, continuing to run and doing other cardio workouts helped restore almost all of her sight.
Now, she’s more than a quarter of the way to completing an unusual marathon of sorts — actually running smaller races in every town/city in Connecticut.
Urban joined the Run 169 Towns Society, a group of runners who strive to complete a timed race in all of the state’s towns and cities, when she was at a road race with a friend who spotted Run 169 Towns members wearing their club shirts.
It’s led to Urban, 51, running in more than 40 towns and, as a result, getting a chance to see parts of the state she never knew existed.
“I’ve lived in Connecticut all my life, but I never realized it’s so different in different places,” Urban said. “You drive an hour away and you feel like you’re in a different state.”
Among the races that stand out the most to Urban are those in the far corners of Connecticut, and the ones held one holidays or during the holiday season, including a race in Bethlehem around Christmas.
“The togetherness of the running group is part of what makes it special,” Urban said.
“You’re in a group, you’re not competing against each other. It’s just a nice group of people that gets together.”
When Run 169 Towns participants race in their 100th town they wear a tutu, yes even if a male runner, and other members who have already reached the century mark often wear one in honor of the latest to reach the milestone.
“It’s very odd. I think it’s very unusual, it’s funny, it’s humorous,” Urban said.
As for seeing her male friends wearing tutus,
“I don’t know if I’m on board with that,” she said light-heartedly.
She’s striving to reach 100 next year and to complete the goal in the next four or five years.
A short-term aspiration is to run a race in each of the state’s counties in a year.
Urban accomplished this feat last year and is halfway home in 2016. “That’s something I’d like to do every year,” she said.
Urban is also training for the Long Beach, Calif. Marathon in October.
Tom Fatone, the vice president of the Milford Road Runners, is one of the original members of the running club.
Fatone wrote a book The Signs of Connecticut, which covers all of the state’s towns, so he’s already gotten to explore the state, but says running in each of them has provided more opportunities to explore.
“It’s a great way to get out and experience the state. Every town has something to offer to everybody,” Fatone said.
What Fatone likes best about being in the running club is the level of camaraderie that exists, noting that about 100 Run 169 Towns Society members were on hand for a race in Bolton.
“It’s been such a positive experience for me,” Fatone said.
Fatone, 47, runs with his wife, Jennifer. He’s the vice president of the Milford Road Runners.
For information on the Run 169 Towns Society, which has the slogan “Do Every Blessed Town in Connecticut,” visit debticonn.org.