It was a retirement party and end of the year luncheon that brought together the teachers at Trumbull High
School in June 1991. A group of us were ready to run in an upcoming race and we started to toss around the
idea of hosting a race to raise money for the THS scholarship fund. Superintendent Ted Merritt -- himself a
runner -- pledged his full support and use of facilities and the Great Pumpkin Classic was formed.
Fast forward to October 1991- the committee composed of teachers, counselors and staff were ready for their
first 5k. First time race director, Biology teacher Marty Schaivone, was hoping for 200 runners. When 385
walked to the start it was clear the Great Pumpkin Classic was going to be much larger than expected. When the
lead convertible driven by Len Germano (an Assistant Principal) lurched forward the Great Pumpkin became
etched in the minds of CT runners and a ‘must go to’ event for over two decades.
The original 5k course lasted two years. In 1993 the CT USATF awarded the race a state championship status-
as a unique distance, a four mile course. It remained that length until 2012 when it returned to its roots and the
5k course we have now. In between those years the four mile course had gone thru at least 8 variations due to
construction, sewer installations, road closures, school use and police recommendations.
The Great Pumpkin Classic has hosted its share of athletes from elite runners and celebrities to the
neighborhood stroller. In 1994 and 1995 the American Legend Bill Rogers graced our course and set the still
standing masters 4 mile course record. He brought Greg Myers with him in 1995 – he was the last American to
win the Boston Marathon (until 2015). More followed including Olympic Trials qualifiers like Joe Lemay
(multiple GPC champion), U.S.A. #1 ranked mountain runner Eric Blake, Irish Cross Country Champion
Martin McCarthy, and runners from Kenya, Ethiopia, and many other countries.
Some of the top ranked women in the country have run here including Laura Mykotok, Lynne Duerring, the
O’Neil twins from Yale, and many top masters and grand masters women. The still standing four mile record
for women was set by Tatyana Pozdnyakova from the Ukraine – one week after finishing fifth at the Chicago
In the early years local sponsors like the Wright Co. Realtors, Park City Ford, and nationally known companies
like AT & T helped the Great Pumpkin to achieve a status most CT races didn’t have. The increase of publicity,
more awards and amenities, and the state championship designation brought participants in from nearly ever
one of the 169 towns in CT. The reputation of the Great Pumpkin Classic was developed long before
widespread internet and social media. The food, festivities, shirts, give aways, and much more continue to
attract all levels of participants.
The original goal continues- to help THS students live their dreams and award scholarship money each year.
Over a quarter million dollars has been awarded since 1991.
Now with the help of the Trumbull Community, the Great Pumpkin continues to be a premier family oriented
event held each October. With the addition of a Kid’s Fun Run and a 2 mile Health Walk, the Great Pumpkin
Classic can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. Now, the proceeds from the race benefit four worthy
causes including the Trumbull Chamber of Commerce, Trumbull Parent Teacher Student Association and the
Trumbull Community Women. All of these groups work hard to make each year’s experience better than the
With over 1,000 participants per year and more than $250,000 raised to support local scholarships and charities,
the Great Pumpkin Classic is eager to see what the next decades will bring for Trumbull and the running
Thank you to everyone who has worked, ran and walked with us for 28 years of the Great Pumpkin Classic.
This event exists and endures because of all of you!