Two running legends cruised around the streets of Waterbury today during the Bob Veillette 5K road race. On the left is American Bill Rodgers who won four Boston Marathons, and four NYC Marathons. On the right is New Zealand’s Rod Dixon, a 1972 Olympic medalist in the 1500 meter race, and the winner of the 1983 NYC Marathon. They started at the back of the pack and spent the first half mile chatting. At one point Dixon turned to Rogers and asked him, ‘Are we going to start running yet?” When Rogers said no, Dixon said, “If I knew this was how we were going to run I would of had a big lunch first.”

Rod Dixon eventually broke away from Rogers and began running, beating Rogers by more than ten minutes. Dixon is making a mark in Waterbury where he has established the “Rod Dixon Kids Marathon” that teaches elementray school students about nutrition and guides them to complete a running program of 26.2 miles – the distance of a marathon.

There was a nice turnout to run in the Bob Veillette 5K, a fund raiser for the former editor at the Republican-American newspaper who was striken by Locked-In Syndrome. All proceeds from the race were to go to Veillette to help cover the costs of his health care.

A trio of runners cruised past Waterbury City Hall.

The winner, 50-year-old Alan Wells of Orlando, Florida, defeated the second place runner by more than a minute. He also set a record for the race.

It’s not often that a photojournalist has the opportunity to out sprint running legend Bill Rogers, the winner of four Boston Marathons and four NYC Marathons. But when the window of opportunity presented itself Sunday afternoon in downtown Waterbury, Republican-American photographer Chris Massa seized it with a huge smile on his face.