Karen Rogers has become the ultimate road racing townie

One hundred and sixty-three down.

Three to go.

For the past 11 years, Karen Rogers of Clinton has been trying to run a race in all of Connecticut's 169 towns and cities.

Her first year, she knocked out 50 as she met her goal of running 50 races in the year she turned 50 years of age.

Since then she has crisscrossed the state, slowly chipping away at her goal. Along the way, several other people have joined her quest although she is the furthest along.

As she got down to the final 10 or so towns, she ran into a problem — they didn't have races.

So, in February she and several others in a group they have dubbed DEBTiCONN (Do Every Blessed Town in Connecticut) staged their own 5K races on three successive weekends in six communities, including Bozrah and Sterling.

That has left Eastford, Sherman and Ledyard, the later of which used to have a road race and a run-canoe-bike-swim relay event.

Rogers plans to run a new 5K event in Eastford on June 11 and it appears Sherman will be staging a triathlon this summer although the date is still up in the air.

That leaves Ledyard.

Rogers said she has had no luck finding someone to hold a race so she and her group may have to go to Ledyard, lay out a course and stage an informal event. She hopes to complete her goal this summer.

If there's anyone out there who might like to put together a race for Rogers, Ledyard may have the distinction of being the town where she completes her journey.

"A lot of people have said this is just such a neat goal. That's why we have grabbed a few people along the way to join us. They all want to color in their map," she said.

Rogers, who has now visited almost every community in Connecticut, said it's been a good way to see the state.

"It's a great state," she said.

So I asked her if she had a favorite town.

"All of them have been really special in their own way," said the retired physical education teacher, sounding almost like a politician.

Rogers said she has enjoyed going to the town and cities, looking at the surroundings and getting a feel for what people do there.

How will she celebrate that last race?

"I'm really excited about it. I've told a lot of my friends that I'd just like them to come out and cheer me on," she said.

j.wojtas@theday.com

On the schedule

The Lions Run Kahlan's Challenge 5K will be held Sunday at 10 a.m. at the Montville Polish Club. This is described as a "challenging course with a heartbreak hill on the return." For more information call Chris Ouellette at (860) 334-4530 or (860) 848-9893.

• The annual Mystic River Triathlon will be held June 12 at 8 a.m. at the Mystic branch of the Ocean Community YMCA. The course consists of a half-mile swim, 14.4-mile bike and 3-mile run. There are individual and relay divisions. Registration is available at active.com and at oceancommunityymca.org

• The Lions Club of Pawcatuck Be Thankful You Can See 5K and 2-mile walk will be held June 12 at 10 a.m. beginning in front of CC O'Brien's pub on Mechanic Street in Pawcatuck. You can register at www.runreg.com. This is flat course along the Pawcatuck River.

• The Tuesday night Stonington borough 3-mile fun runs have begun. They are held weekly at 6 p.m. throughout the summer beginning at the Dog Watch cafe.

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