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For most people, a single 5K or 10K is tough. A half marathon is daunting. A full marathon? Forget about it! But Southington YMCA Aquatics Coordinator Suzanne Clemente ran all four of those races in just four days.


The Walt Disney Dopey Race consists of a 5K, 10K, half marathon and full marathon through the Disney World parks. The event starts with a 5K on Thursday, and ends with the marathon on Sunday.


“It was exhausting,” Clemente admitted. “But it was worth. It was so much fun. I loved the energy.”


Clemente acknowledged that the Disney aspect made it even more special. Most of the thousands of runners were dressed like Disney characters, including Clemente. She dressed up like Darla from Finding Nemo for the first race, Kevin from Up for the second race, Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc. for the third, and Smee from Peter Pan for the finale.


I had so much fun dressing up, and looking at everyone's costumes,” Clemente said.


The racecourses were spread throughout a variety of Disney parks and attractions. The marathon included all four main parks; Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot. Over the latter half of the race, Animal Kingdom and Epcot were open, with many people walking around.


“It was just a great atmosphere, with all of those people and all of the energy,” Clemente said. “It was freezing and very early in the morning, but you would never know it.”


However, it was not all fun and games. The training leading up to the race was brutal. Over the four months leading up to the race, Clemente took part in an online training specifically designed to prepare participants for the Dopey race.


“The training was harder than the race itself,” Clemente said. “But I was well prepared. It was worth it.”


Clemente’s journey to becoming a high level runner was a strange one. In high school, she hated running. She only ran short distance because she disliked long distance running so much. But in 2012, she picked up running again because she thought it would be an easy way to get exercise. She ended up falling in love. She participated in a half marathon later that year, and ran her first full marathon in 2014.


“I’m not really sure why I even started running again, but I’m glad I did,” Clemente said.


Clemente has worked at the Y since she was a Camp Sloper Counselor 15 years ago. She swam for the YMCA, so she thought it would be a sensible summer job. But it became so much more than that. She loved every single aspect of working for the Y. Over the years, she has worked as a lifeguard, camp counselor and waterfront director. She now works as the YMCA Aquatics Coordinator, where she does lifeguard and CPR training, lifeguarding and “everything and anything needed” at the pool.


Clemente hopes that her experience with the Dopey run will motivate members of the Y community to tackle their own goals.


“People just need to believe in themselves,” she said. “Trust your training. You can do it!”



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On mother’s day weekend the Gymnastics team of the Southington YMCA traveled to beautiful central Maine to compete in the 2018 YMCA Northeast Regional Gymnastics Championships. This competition has a total of 34 YMCA's from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Maine, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire with over 1,300 gymnasts participating. This was the second year in a row that the full team has qualified for this competition which is a big accomplishment. The northeast region for Gymnastics in the YMCA program is extremely competitive, so much so that it is actually harder to qualify for the regional competition then it is to qualify for the YMCA Gymnastics National Championships.


The athletes have worked so hard this season and it showed this past weekend. We are now once again the Xcel Bronze  Northeast Regional Team Champions. This means that out of all 34 YMCA'S that competed our  Xcel Bronze team is  number one. Along with this honor of first place team we have a total of 16 regional state championship titles with athletes ranging from Xcel Bronze to level 7. This year the Southington YMCA has 30 top 5 placements on individual events. Athlete Kara Loubier also earned the fourth highest all around in the entire competitions with a 37.9.

This competition marked the end of the regular season for the team. 0n June 27TH   13 members of the Southington YMCA gymnasts will be traveling to Toledo, Ohio to compete in the 2018 YMCA National Championships. We wish them good luck, and a big congratulations a phenomenal season.

 Team Try Out

August 18th from 9:30-11:00am

Please register by email Coach Jamie at

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He’s at it again! Beginning, Friday, June 1, Southington YMCA’s Executive Director John Myers will run 4 miles a day for 26 consecutive days in memory of Chase Kowalski and to raise money so that the Southington Y can continue to offer the Race4Chase Kid’s Triathlon training program. 
The Race4Chase Kid’s Triathlon Program, which was created by the Kowalski Family in memory of their son Chase, who was tragically killed at Sandy Hook, is designed to bring to children the same opportunity their son Chase had. He LOVED triathlon and won his first race at the tender age of 6!
The free, six-week program provides kids ages 6-12 with a safe, healthy, non-competitive environment to discover the sport! It brings together kids of all different backgrounds and educates them about how to adopt a healthy lifestyle, coaches them to develop a foundation of athletic skills and inspires them to aim high in sports and in life!
This year, we will receive no funding to run this program – so we are relying 100% on donations. Please consider making a donation in support of John’s effort to raise $15,000 this year. 
Click HERE to make a donation. *Don’t forget to consider that your donation could be doubled! Click here to learn more.
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Bob and I have been Southington residents since 2013. We have been married for 17 years and have a 14 year old son Aidan and 13 year old daughter Morgan. Bob and I are both educators. He is the principal of Hatton Elementary School and I teach second grade in Burlington, CT.

We have been members of the Y for a few years. I enjoy taking a variety of classes such as HIIT, barre and chisel. My daughter recently participated in the youth strength training and my son enjoys going to open gym to play basketball. When we have more free time this summer we are hoping to work out as a family and begin playing racquetball.

Biggest struggle was finding the "right" time to work out. Y360 class in the am works perfectly for my husband and I and the 1/2 hour class is the perfect amount of time to feel like we got a solid workout. I always felt guilty not fitting in a workout at least 4x/week and when I worked out at home I got easily distracted. My husband would workout at home whenever possible, but not on a consistent basis. However, we never worked out together.  Now we enjoy exercising together and encouraging each other to push ourselves. Y360 has helped us to try new exercises to strengthen various muscle groups and with the guidance of skilled trainers push ourselves in a safe, effective way. We also get our heart pumping with a variety of cardio moves we wouldn't normally do such as the sled, ropes, jump boxes, suicide drills, row machine and more.  We aren't saying it's "fun" to get up for a 6:00am class, yet we always laugh while we are there and know that each time we go it will be a worthwhile, motivational exercise session. The instructors create sessions that allow us to challenge ourselves and/or make modifications based on our ability. Thankful that the Y offers this Y360 class every day of the week and at various times if we can't make our normal 6:00am class. 

The Y has so much to offer and we are thankful we are members.

The Garry Family 

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