In their adult lives, Cheshire’s John Higgins and Anthony Niglio feel that staying fit is very important. Higgins is an avid cyclist who has ridden in multiple charity events, while Niglio has been actively running for the last 15 years.
The friends are preparing to combine their favorite activities for a good cause on Sunday, June 25. To raise awareness and collect donations for the Cheshire Community Food Pantry, the men will run and ride on the roads along the perimeter of Cheshire.
“We thought it would be cool and challenging to run and bike the perimeter,” stated Higgins. “The route covers all of the areas, so we thought it would be a challenge and is a good way to help the pantry.”
Niglio will run a 30-mile loop around town and Higgins will ride three loops and then add some more miles to complete a 100-mile trek. In addition to Cheshire, the friends will travel on the borders of neighboring towns such as Hamden, Meriden, Prospect, Southington, Wallingford, and Waterbury on their Pounding & Pedaling for the Pantry event.
“We’ve each done segments of it (the route),” said Higgins. “This will be the first time that we’ve done this thing consecutively.”
Niglio and Higgins are planning to start their day at 6:30 a.m. They haven’t set a time goal for the event. In the case of rain, the fundraiser will be pushed back a week, to July 2.
Higgins and Niglio know each other well from being members of the Cheshire YMCA and St. Bridget of Sweden Parish in town.
“It is good to do this (activity) with someone who you have a lot of trust with,” stated Higgins. “He has the same goals in mind, so it helps quite a bit.”
The friends came up with their event during a faith-based discussion group this year.
“I approached John with the idea because I knew that he is a big biker. We were both interested,” recalled Niglio. “He suggested that we support the food pantry and I thought that was perfect.”
The friends aim to help the organization increase donations over the next couple of months.
“We want to make people aware that the summer is a tough time for the pantry. They get more donations in other times of the year,” said Niglio.
Higgins enjoys volunteering at the food pantry.
“I see the benefit that it does for the town,” stated Higgins.
For those interested in supporting their effort, Higgins and Niglio are asking people to visit www.cheshire foodpantry.org or search for the organization on Facebook. They would like for people to mention their event in the Write a Comment section.
People can also make in-person donations to the pantry, which is located at 175 Sandbank Road in Cheshire.
“We would be more than willing to take on sponsors if people are interested,” said Higgins. “We are looking at it (the event) as an opportunity for people to support the pantry and the two of us doing our thing.”
Higgins says that he has been biking since the mid 1980s. He usually rides 70 to 100 miles per week outdoors or by using an indoor training bike.
“I like being outside a lot and enjoying the environment and exercise,” stated Higgins. “I like seeing the different parts of the country, and Cheshire.”
He has participated in triathlons and charity rides. With his daughter Meghan having been diagnosed with Type I Diabetes in high school, the Higgins family members have been an active participants with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Ride to Cure events.
“It is a great opportunity to do something as a family and give back to the JDRF that has done so much to help those dealing with Type I Diabetes,” explained Higgins.
During high school, Niglio competed in sports, but he didn’t start running long distances until he was older. He has since gone on to participate in 5 and 10K races, along with half and full marathons.
“I love it,” said Niglio. “It is great exercise.”
In 2020, he ran a total of 2,200 miles. Niglio has a current streak of running every day since mid November of 2019.
Among his activities, he has loved running in the Cheshire Half Marathon for the last 10 years.
“It is a great event,” stated Niglio. “Cheshire is a running town that supports a lot of great causes.”
Niglio and Higgins are interested in making their run and bike trek into a tradition.
“I would love to open it up to other organizations that need help in the community,” said Niglio. It is important to help your neighbors. If you can’t give a lot of money, you can always give your time. It is about ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”