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A Decade Later, Fairfield's Donnelly Dash Honors Victims Of Deadly Heist

Marty Schaivone is the race director of the Donnelly Dash. The race is run in memory of Tim and Kim Donnelly, who were killed at their Fairfield jewelry store in 2005.
Marty Schaivone is the race director of the Donnelly Dash. The race is run in memory of Tim and Kim Donnelly, who were killed at their Fairfield jewelry store in 2005. Photo Credit: File

FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- Marty Schaivone remembers hearing the sirens race across Fairfield on that cold February night 10 years ago. “I wondered where they were going,’’ said the longtime race director.

Police and emergency responders were rushing to a jewelry store on the Post Road in Fairfield, where Kim and Tim Donnelly had been killed by a lone gunman who was robbing the store. Tim Donnelly, Schaivone’s friend, was also a runner who competed in marathons, including New York and Boston.

After the tragedy, Schaivone started a race to remember Kim and Tim. The 11th edition of the race, a 3.5-mile race and 1.8-mile walk, starts Sunday at 9 a.m. at Tomlinson Middle School in Fairfield

“Tim and I used to run together,’’ Schaivone said. “We were on the same racing team. When I heard the sirens, I thought they were on their way to an accident or something. I didn’t know until I got a call a little bit later on.”

The Donnellys, both 52, were killed on Feb. 2, 2005. Christopher DiMeo was sentenced in  2011 to life in prison for the slayings. His accomplice in the robbery, Nicole Pearce, died in 2011 of cervical cancer.

“About a week or so before, I stopped by and talked with Tim,’’ Schaivone said. “He knew that a jewelry store in Long Island was robbed," also by DiMeo.

In the immediate aftermath, Schaivone’s race attracted nearly 1,000 people to support the Donnelly family. Numbers have decreased recently, and Schaivone said many people have forgotten or are unaware of the tragedy.

The race is connected with community. Its premier partner is the Fairfield Gaelic American Club, which hosts a post-race gathering just a short distance from Tomlinson Middle School, where the race begins and ends.

Race proceeds benefit the Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestra, Groundwork of Bridgeport, the Fairfield Police Explorers and the Fairfield Police Scholarship Fund. Schaivone said the race changes its charities every year and has assisted many local organizations.

The race is also a unique distance, and there is a kids run of various distances to accommodate all youngsters.

For more information and to register, click here to visit the race website.

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