More than 1,200 children and adults from throughout the region are expected to take up the challenge this weekend that is being offered by a Fairfield company: to run, walk and have fun -- and raise more than $100,000 for Greater Bridgeport area charities.

The 24th annual Bigelow Tea Community Challenge takes place Sunday, Sept. 25, rain or shine, featuring a 5K Road Race, a two-mile non-competitive Fitness Walk and a Kids' Fun Run, all stepping off from the Wakeman Boys & Girls Club, at 385 Center Street in Fairfield's Southport section. All events are open to the public.

According to Elaine Gavoli, a company spokeswoman, the Community Challenge affords "residents of Fairfield County and surrounding areas (an opportunity to) look forward to spending quality time with family and friends, while building the community, one race at a time."

Last year's event raised more than $90,000, bringing the total amount raised since the event's inception to about $600,000, Gavoli said, adding that all monies collected through registration fees and corporate sponsorships are given to charity.

The Kids' Fun Run ($10 to enter) begins at 9 a.m., followed by the two-mile Fitness Walk ($20) at 9:30 a.m. and the 5K Road Race ($25) will start at 10:10 a.m. An awards ceremony is scheduled for mid-morning.

In an email to Hearst Newspapers, Cindi Bigelow, company president and event founder, wrote:

"For me, the Bigelow family, company employees who work year round to prepare for the event and for all who participate, it's all about giving back to the community.

"It's gratifying to think that a race that started in 1987 with 50 people was the springboard for an annual event that today attracts over 1,200 men, women and children of all ages.

"While the final tally is not yet in, it's expected that this year's donations will be a record-breaking $110,000 . . . (bringing) the total funds raised to date to over $700,000. And that feels good."

Those wishing to register may do so online at; on Saturday, Sept. 24, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Fairfield YMCA, 841 Old Post Road; or beginning at 8 a.m. at the Wakeman Boys & Girls Club on the day of the race.

All who register will receive a gift bag, after-race refreshments and a chance to win one of several raffle prizes, including airline tickets.

The first 1,000 people to register also receive a T-shirt.

For more information, call 203-259-4805 or visit