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Fun, Flamingoes, 4,000 Runners Expected At 5K Honoring Sandy Hook Teacher

Jim Perno of West Haven and Scott Bauer of East Haddam went the extra mile in dressing for the 2016 Vicki Soto 5K in Stratford.
Jim Perno of West Haven and Scott Bauer of East Haddam went the extra mile in dressing for the 2016 Vicki Soto 5K in Stratford. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Vicki Soto was a Stratford resident who was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting.
Vicki Soto was a Stratford resident who was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting. Photo Credit: VickiSotoMemorial.com
More than 3,500 ran in the 2016 Vicki Soto 5K in Stratford.
More than 3,500 ran in the 2016 Vicki Soto 5K in Stratford. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
More than 3,500 ran in the 2016 Vicki Soto 5K in Stratford.
More than 3,500 ran in the 2016 Vicki Soto 5K in Stratford. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Teachers from Victoria Soto School gather before the 2015 Vicki Soto 5K.
Teachers from Victoria Soto School gather before the 2015 Vicki Soto 5K. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

STRATFORD, Conn. — About 4,000 runners are expected to take part in the 5th annual Vicki Soto 5K on Saturday, what would have been the Sandy Hook School teacher’s 32nd birthday.

Soto, a first-grade teacher, died Dec. 14, 2012, when a gunman shot and killed 20 children and six staff members at the school.

Runners come from around the United States to participate in the day, which, despite its origins, is filled with fun and laughter. Many sport pink tutus and feather boas in memory of Soto’s love of flamingoes.

“It’s a celebration of Vicki’s life,” Vicki’s brother Mathew Soto told Daily Voice before the 2016 race stepped off. “Today is our way of celebrating the only way we know how.”

The 2016 race drew about 3,500 revelers and organizers told their Facebook friends they were on course to hit their goal of 4,000 this year.

The 5K race day will begin with the Kids’ Fun Run at 9:30 a.m., followed by the opening ceremonies at 9:55 a.m.

The 5K is set to step off around the Lordship neighborhood at 10 a.m. Many local roads will be closed by 9 a.m.

Online registration for the 5K is no longer available, but runners can sign up from 4 to 9 p.m., Nov. 2, at Stanziale’s Restaurant, 595 Main Street, or on race day beginning at 7 a.m.

The Vicki Soto Memorial Fund, which organizes the race, will hold a book drive for Miss Soto’s Literacy Legacy on race day and during runners’ packet pickup times. Donated new and gently used books will support teachers, schools and classrooms in Stratford.

In addition to the 5K and the literacy project, the Vicki Soto Memorial Fund supports scholarships for future teachers, tutoring programs, summer learning programs and more. For more information, visit vickisotomemorial.com .

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