Cheshire neighborhood holds annual race for charity

Stephanie O'Connell | Posted: Tuesday, March 6, 2012 6:05 pm

CHESHIRE — For 15 years, residents of the Rustic Lane neighborhood have laced up their running shoes and donned green workout gear to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and raise money for a good cause.

Runners, joggers and walkers participating in “Irish Eyes are Miling” make their way around the mile-and-a-half route to raise money for Cheshire Relay for Life.

“It’s very popular in our neighborhood,” said Jack McDonald of Rustic Lane. “I think the neighbors would throw us out if we didn’t do it. Everyone looks forward to it, and it’s a great way to get everyone outside after the winter and get together for a good cause.”

This year’s event is scheduled for March 11 at noon at 790 Rustic Lane.

McDonald coined the “Irish Eyes are Miling” phrase in the 1980s while coaching track at Boston College. After he and his family moved to Cheshire, McDonald’s children came home one day and asked their parents for help raising money for Relay for Life.

Relay for Life is a 24-hour event in which teams gather at a local park or high school track and walk to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The Cheshire Relay for Life will celebrate 28 years June 8 and 9.

“We first started hosting the event to help the kids raise money, and after they moved out we thought we would keep it going,” McDonald said. “It’s not a big commercial race or anything. It’s more for the neighborhood to come together and for a good cause.”

To encourage some of the slower runners and walkers to come and participate, prizes are awarded to the first female and male finisher, and then every tenth finisher after that.

The race kicks off a year filled with neighborhood fundraising events. Labor Day Movie Night sponsored by the neighborhood was started to help raise money for the Petit Family Foundation.

Every summer a movie is projected onto the side of the Morley family’s home on Rustic Lane. Family-friendly movies such as “Up” and “Toy Story” have been featured in past years as neighbors come together to grill and en-joy one of the last nights of summer.

“It’s been over 10 years that we have been doing movie night,” said Katelyn Morley, 14. “Everyone in the neigh-borhood comes, and there’s always great food.”

Morley has been running in “Irish Eyes are Miling” for years and says she loves being able to see her friends from the neighborhood enjoying the outdoors for the first time since the fall.

The McDonald family also participates in a charity beach run in the summer to benefit a Massachusetts fire-house.

“We have a great time getting together with everyone,” McDonald said. “And we get to raise some money for some great causes at the same time.”

There is no entry fee, but a donation to Cheshire Relay for Life is welcomed. For more information,