Run 169 Towns Society



RANDALL BEACH: These 'driven' runners are on a statewide, 169-town quest

Published: Sunday, September 09, 2012

By Randall Beach, Register Staff / Twitter: @rbeachnhr

There’s a group of people for virtually every cause or endeavor, so why not a society of folks who want to run in a race in every town in Connecticut?

I met one of these people in Prospect seven years ago. Ric Villarreal had made it to about 125 of the state’s 169 towns at that point. And he ran them barefoot.

Recently, I heard about another guy pursing this quest, North Haven’s Steve Mele, and he told me there’s a whole pack of them working on this goal.

When I visited Mele at his condo to find out more, he was all suited up in his running shirt advertising “CT 169 Towns Society.” The front of the shirt said “Running is my happy hour.”

The society also calls itself DEBTiConn: Do Every Blessed Town in Connecticut. Click here to keep reading.

Do Every Blessed Town In Connecticut (DEBTICONN) 

After more than a year of hearing commentary and suggestions from the Run 169 Towns Society 

Membership, a working group of the Founding Members met on Wednesday, February 8th and Sunday, February 19th, 2017, to conduct a comprehensive review of the Society’s Mission Statement, Definitions, Participant Requirements, and Policies & Procedures. Seven of the Eight Founders participated directly or indirectly in the review. While full consensus was not achieved on each issue, all points had no less than five of the eight Founders in agreement. 

The following document updates the Run 169 Towns Society Mission Statement, Definitions and Policies & Procedures. 

This version reflects updates to Definition items 2, 8 and 14 voted by a Board of Directors meeting held on March 22, 2017 , a Founders meeting on April 9, 2017 and a Board of Directors meeting held on June 13, 2017 .  

All previous versions of Bylaws, Policies, Procedures, Definitions or Rules are superseded by this document which best reflects the current status of The Society’s evolving composition. 


Do Every Blessed Town in Connecticut (DEBTiConn), now called the Run 169 Towns Society, is a group of runners formed by women and men who aspire to run a race in every town in the State of Connecticut. 

Realizing that racing successfully in every Connecticut town may be a lifetime accomplishment, the Founders of this Society have formulated a set of policies, procedures and definitions to recognize and validate runners’ attempts to achieve this goal.  


1. Towns – There are 169 towns in Connecticut. Most towns contain several villages. Completion of races within two or more villages of the same town constitutes completion of only one town. Listings and a map of official Connecticut towns are available on the DEBTiConn website and other Internet sources. 

2. Official Race – An official race is an outdoor event, no less than one mile in distance, open to the public, usually advertised in newspapers , flyers, postings on major running related websites (e.g., HitekRacing, CoolRunning, RunningintheUSA,), race management companies web sites and/or town web sites. 
An official race is timed and the results are usually posted publicly. 
An official race will count for the town in which the start line is located. 
An official race is usually organized / planned by (or for) a charity or cause, an organization, agency, school, religious group associated with a particular town. 
Note 1:  Invitational only and indoor events are not eligible for town credit.  
Note 2:  Self timed and self-starting events are not eligible for town credit. 
Note 3:  If an official race offers “Early” or “Late” start options, runners may avail themselves of those opportunities and may submit the town for credit as long as they are included in the official race results. 
Note 4: The run portion of duathlons or triathlons may be counted toward town completion based upon the town in which the run begins and the participant must be listed in the official results. (If the participant is running as a du/triathlon team member, he/she should ensure the team results are recorded under the 169 member’s name - e.g., Team “Jane Doe”). 
Note 5:  Unlike du/triathlons where an individual completes the entire run event, participation in relay races will not be eligible for town credit. Exception: Relays such as the Essex Steam Train Race (relay) to be held on October 28, 2017. Both runners will receive credit for Essex since the start line is in Essex. As of January 1, 2018, only one runner will receive credit for Essex. 
Note 6:  Historical exceptions include the Salmon River Race which starts in East Hampton, but counts as Colchester. The legendary nature and difficulty of the mid-January Jurale Tradition Run  allows it to count as Meriden town completion. 

3.  Race Participant – The participant must meet all the requirements of an official race (as described above) for town credit. These requirements are: 
A. Complete race registration 
B. Meet race entry requirements- e.g., fees, donations, waivers, etc.  
C. Meet race identification requirements, e.g., bibs, timing chips, and/or other forms of participant identification. 
D. Participant completion times must be included on official race results and are ideally posted on major running websites. 
E. Complete at least 50% of the designated race distance abbreviated only due to injury, illness or unanticipated emergency.  

4. Race Directing – It is strongly recommended that members who are contemplating race directing, contact/consult a race management company to assist with planning a race for the entire running community. These companies can help in addressing all aspects of a race prior to planning the event. The Society name is not to be affiliated with any particular race.  

5. DEBTiConn – Do Every Blessed Town in Connecticut-   This was the original name of the Run 169 Towns Society.   “Run 169,” “The Run 169 Society,” or “169’ers” are also commonly heard of terms when referring to our organization. 

6. Founders- The original eight members of DEBTiConn. 

7. Queens and Kings – Those members who have completed an official race in each of the Connecticut’s 169 towns. 

8.  Board of Directors (BOD) – The Board of Directors will be 11 members: 8 Founders, reigning King and Queen and one active officer, (ex officio), The Resource Page Officer . All members of the Board must be over 18 years of age. The term limit for the reigning King and Queen is one year.  If a Founder, King and Queen or Resource Officer wishes to retire from the BOD, (see definition #14) a replacement will come from the list of Kings and Queens. The Board composition would be gender neutral and there would be no deference given to an equal number of royalty.    

9.  Officers - Members voluntarily performing valuable and specific services for the Society.  Officers are selected and vetted by the Board of Directors. 

10. Vested Members – Individuals who have been in the Society for at least six months and have completed 85 or more towns. May be called upon by the BOD for input regarding changes/updates to Policies and Procedures.  

11. Town Ambassador – First member from a town to join the Society who agrees to spread good will among runners in their town.  Ambassadors notify the Society of local official races not posted on widely circulated race calendars. 

12. Cross Country Events – Current middle school and high school students who are members of their cross country (XC) teams may take credit for towns where their meets occur if they satisfactorily complete those running events. The maximum town credits allowed under those conditions are ten.  
Note 1:  The minimum distance for the race event must be at least 1.5 miles which is the norm for middle school events. 
Note 2: XC credits will be redeemed through the “Submit Race” Page and authenticated by the parent or legal guardian in the comment section on the DEBTiConn web page. 
Note 3:  If an XC credit is replaced by an official race, another XC town credit may be redeemed but not to exceed ten at any time. If a cross country meet credit is replaced by an official race it must also be submitted through the “Submit Race” Page and so noted in the comment section on the DEBTiConn web page. 

13. Walkers – The Society welcomes walkers willing to go the distance.  Walkers must register for the race distance and be included in the official race results and rankings. 

14.  Emeritus Status -  Founders,  Queens, Kings and Officers, who are unable, or no longer wish, to engage in the responsibilities of being on the Board of Directors may request their membership status be designated as "Emeritus”. Their input to BOD actions will no longer be sought nor required, but their previous achievements and contributions to the Society will continue to be held in high regard.  Emeritus Queens and Kings will be invited to assist the currently reigning Queen and King at award presentations and other Society celebrations, their names on the Society’s membership rolls will be annotated with an “E” designator. 


1. Ethics 
Each individual member shall conduct her/himself in a manner respectful of other runners, the community in which one is participating, and the entire “running community.”  Respectful behavior shall include actions and language. 
Society members are provided a copy of the current ethics policy and procedural instructions for submitting town completions upon joining. 

2. Communication, Liability, Recognition 
A. Any new initiative or policy augmentation needs to be communicated to and approved by the Board of Directors prior to implementation. This shall encompass logos, races, events and other related items. 

B. The Society bears no responsibility for arrangements made between/among members, including group training, carpools, child care, after race parties, etc.   Nor does the Society bear any liability for individual decisions regarding race attendance (to include choice of race venue, time, or number of races in which a member chooses to participate).  

C. Individual members should not use the Society’s name when seeking personal discounts on race fees, running apparel, lodging, meals, etc. 

D. An appropriate plaque will be presented (usually at an awards dinner or picnic) to those who complete all 169 towns. Members (or their family/friends) should contact the current Awards Officer at least one month prior to their anticipated town completion to verify citation spelling and make payment arrangements for the plaque.  

3. Fees and Dues- 
There are no dues or fees collected to be a member. 

4. Underage Members  
Minors age 17 and under are welcomed into the Society with written permission from their parents or legal guardian.  One can download the Age Waiver Form by going to the DEBTiConn website. Click here to download.  

5. Slogans 
The Copyright of Run 169 apparel does not permit for additional statements, logos, messages or political comment. The blue and gold colors are authentic to the Society apparel, banners and medallions. The colors may not be changed unless approved by the Founders.  

6.Running Clubs 

Running Clubs throughout Connecticut shall be honored by the Society. The Society intent is to work harmoniously with running clubs and inform/encourage any club member who wishes to pursue the goal of running in all 169 Connecticut towns according to the adopted rules. 

When running a race for one’s club and it’s a USATF sanctioned race where one is competing for points, use your personal USATF # for those events. Town completion may still be granted for these races as long as all official race criteria have been met. The Run 169 Towns Society is NOT a USATF club.  

Updated as of:  June 18, 2017 Final Version 
Distributed to Board of Directors by email on : June 18 , 2017  
Posted to the DEBTiConn webpage on:  July 25, 2017 
Posted to the Run 169 Towns Society Facebook Page on:   July 25, 2017  
Sent to membership by email on: July 25, 2017 

Disclaimer: It is a member’s responsibility to read and adhere to the Policies and Procedures of the Run 169 Towns Society. 

To All Members: The following Code of Conduct was written with the expectation that it would be followed by Society members.

Ethics: Each individual shall conduct her/himself in a manner respectful of other runners, the community in which one is participating, and the entire “running community.” Respectful behavior shall include actions and language.

It has never been our practice as Founders, Kings, Queens and officers to monitor our members’ behavior before, during or after a race(s). Our primary responsibility is, has been and continues to be ensuring towns are recorded for our members to achieve the 169 Connecticut Towns goal. It is not within our purview to monitor members and/or address members’ behaviors that may be encountered at races.

Hopefully, everyone will understand our position on this matter.

Presently, we are investigating updating the Society web page to accommodate over 2200 members’ needs. Please be patient with us during this transition phase. 

An Addict Runs To Recover 
Lori Riley 7:28 PM EDT, April 26, 2014 In 2008,
​Adam Osmond hit bottom. He was a gambling addict. He lost his two stores in New Britain, where he used to play thousands of dollars worth of lottery tickets a day. When he told his wife and his family, he was ashamed and depressed. He wasn't healthy. He took a leave of absence from his job as an accountant and ended up leaving the position. "I went through a lot at that point," said Osmond, who lives in Farmington. "I went through hell." He went into a gambling addiction treatment program. That helped. But then he met Charlie Merlis. Merlis wore shirts from road races to meetings. Curious, Osmond asked him about the shirts. Merlis told him that he should come run a race with him. And that's how Osmond, 46, traded one addiction for another. In 2011, he finished his first 5K race in just under 40 minutes, and not only did he think he was going to die that day, he couldn't imagine that people actually ran farther distances than that. On Sunday, he will run an ultramarathon, the Lake Waramaug 50K (approximately 31 miles) in New Preston. He hopes to finish in about 5 hours and 30 minutes, approximately 10 ½ minutes per mile, which is faster than the pace in which he ran his first 5K three years ago. "Running is a great addiction," said Merlis, of West Hartford. "You can throw your heart into it and you know you're not hurting yourself." Click here to keep reading.
​ Posted by Adam Osmond

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer Coventry - posted Tue., Oct. 8, 2013 Adam Osmond displays a map showing the 44 different Connecticut towns in which he has competed in road races thus far. Osmond is a member of DebtiConn (Do Every Blessed Town in Connecticut), a group whose members aspire to run a race in each of the state's 169 towns. Photos by Adam Osmond displays a map showing the 44 different Connecticut towns in which he has competed in road races thus far. Osmond is a member of DebtiConn (Do Every Blessed Town in Connecticut), a group whose members aspire to run a race in each of the state's 169 towns. Photos by Melanie Savage. Click here to keep reading.

"All You Have To Do Is Show Up And Run"