Run For The Fallen in Middletown honors 65 men and women who died in Iraq and Afghanistan

MIDDLETOWN -- The annual Fallen Soldier Run honors military service members who have lost their lives in post 9/11 conflicts.

Race directors say the run has a significant history.

"In 2008 there were a group of veterans who decided to run across the country and run one mile for each fallen comrade that they lost in Iraq," says Barbara Michalek, one of the run's organizers. "It kind of turned into a national movement. After that a lot of states started their own chapter and Connecticut started a chapter about nine years ago."

So began the Connecticut Fallen Soldier Run in Middletown at Veterans Memorial Park.  It was partly founded by Cliff Paquette, who lost his high school friend, Staff Sergeant Frank Adamski, III.

"I was always a runner and after losing Frankie I decided to get working on this," says Paquette.

Now, 65 kilometers are dedicated to the 65 soldiers from Connecticut who have died in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Every time the runners come up to a new kilometer marking, they see another fallen soldier's picture from Connecticut. They then put a new flag on top of the post and give that soldier a moment of silence.

"It really leaves a large impression on you," says Michalek. "It's a very moving event, very emotional event. It's just great to get out here and to be able to remember and let the families know that these service members have not been forgotten."

More than 50,000 runners across the country have run 200,000 miles for fallen soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.