Local cemetery plays key role in ‘I Nuri’ trek

“E Chiamamulu Paisanu! Primu Diu E Sammastianu!” The Italian phrase, which translates to “He’s one of our own. First God and then Saint Sebastian,” was heard once again, loud and clear, on the streets of Middlefield and Middletown on May 15.

The “I Nuri Run” starts at St. Sebastian’s Cemetery in Middlefield en route to St. Sebastian’s Church in Middletown.

This year, more than 350 runners from Connecticut and beyond made the trek, an important component of the annual St. Sebastian’s feast.

This was the first time the gathering was held since 2019. It was called off in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID.

Why do the “I Nuri” do this?

According to runner Lisa Brown, of Middletown, “It is a sacrifice, a pilgrimage, faith to God and St. Sebastian.”

Cecelia Carabetta, of Meriden, is drawn in by the “tradition.” She began participating in “I Nuri” runs at the age of 15. She’s now 24.

Joe Spatola, Sr. started the annual “I Nuri Run” in 1982 with Chris and Scott Colavito.

The run is modeled after a similar celebration at Saint Sebastian’s Church in Melilli, Sicily. That “I Nuri Run” began at 3 a.m., in the mountains — the “Sacred Cross.”

Spatola sought to replicate that sacred place for the local “I Nuri Run,” and that spot was Saint Sebastian’s Cemetery in Middlefield.


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