Pamby Ridgefield Half Marathon has twist: More Pambys running

Since its inception, an annual road race that’s become a fall staple in Ridgefield has had the same primary sponsor — family owned and operated Pamby Motors, which has been in business for 69 years

Yet for most of its first 40 years, the Pamby Ridgefield Half Marathon has been run without something: Pambianchis, themselves.

“My cousin Amy and my sister Rebecca started running about four years,” said Emily Pambianchi, the business development manager at Pamby Motors. “That’s been it. Our long-time general manager, Joel Bruzinski, has been running, and he’s pretty much family by this point.”

But when the 41st half marathon takes place this Sunday (Oct. 1), there were be more than double the Pambianchis.

“Once we decided that we were going to sponsor again this year, I sent a text to family members and said let’s step it up and run ourselves,” said Emily Pambianchi. “That seemed to motivate people.”

Five Pambianchis (Matt, Nick, Patty, Amy, and Rebecca) will run the 13.1-mile race, which winds through the southern part of Ridgefield and features two loops covering mostly flat terrain. Another soon-to-be Pambianchi, Lauren Guerra (engaged to Nick), is also running, as is Bruzinski, the general manager.

“We had a couple of people with a lot of excuses — and, honestly, I can’t blame them because the race is strenuous,” said Emily. “But this is still great to have so many more of us running than ever before.”

Among those unable to compete is Emily Pambianchi. She is still recovering from spinal surgery on her neck.

“I’ve been injured for a while,” she said. “I have degenerative disc disease … a naughty neck, basically.”

That won’t prevent her from cheering on family members and other runners next Sunday.

“When I was younger I would always go to the race with my dad (Fred) to deliver the pace car,” said Emily. “As I got older I had friends who would run and I would go to support them. I know all the best places to watch the race.”

Her favorite is at the corner of White Birch Road and Silver Hill Road, where the race begins its loop.

“The sightlines are great there,” she said. “There are also beautiful trees and you can see everyone turn off and come around (to start the second loop). The finish line is also a fun place to be.”

This year, the starting and finish lines are at a different location: A race area outside the Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield on Governor Street. The area will include food and music and room for spectators. Previous races began and ended in the parking lot outside the old high school on East Ridge Road.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Emily. “It’s nice that people can have somewhere to gather and meet at the end of the race.”

Although the Pambianchis will likely gather the night before for a pasta dinner, Emily doesn’t expect much fanfare after the race.

“I’m sure we will chat for a little while and take some photos,” she said. “Then everyone will want to go home and recover.”