WALLINGFORD — More than one thousand people participated in the Gaylord Gauntlet Saturday, an obstacle course that had runners climbing over walls, under wires and through mud and water.
Joy Savulak, a Gaylord Healthcare representative, said the 5K walk and run had more participants than ever before. She said around two dozen had visual impairments or physical disabilities.
Members of Team Hanger, a group of about 20 from the Hanger Clinic in North Haven, ran in the 5K. About eight of the members are amputees.
Team Hanger member John Redfield, of Manchester, said it was his third time participating in the run. The event encourages people with amputations to move forward with their life, he added.
“The thing I like about the (Gaylord) sports association and events like these is, it takes people with disabilities and puts us into the real world,” Redfield said.
Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. met the runners at the starting line and played a bugle before the countdown, a tradition for several years.
“It’s fantastic. It emphasizes the wonderful work that Gaylord Hospital does here in healing people and it emphasizes having fun,” Dickinson said.
Korene Mosher, of West Haven, was excited and nervous to compete in her first gauntlet. Mosher is still discovering her physical abilities years after amputation.
“I feel like a spectator of my own body,” she said.
Mosher, who prepared for the run by swimming and biking, said she didn’t know she “could move like that.” She plans to participate in other runs later this year.
West Hartford Resident Tara Frey, a double amputee who participated, said event gave her a sense of freedom.
“It’s not about how long it takes you, it’s about the fun you have along the way and that you can do it,” Frey said. “It’s good to prove to yourself that you can do it.”