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Sunday, March 17, 2002 -- Pittsburgh - South Park, PA
Larry Winschel St. Paddy's Day Run (iPO Event Id#: 4738)
Story by Jason Winschel with photos contributed by the GPRRC

[Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2]

In honor of Larry Winschel, whose last race in life was a victory at the 2001 St. Paddy's Day Run.

Race Photo
Out in force to pay tribute
Instead of the roar of a gun, the 2002 St. Paddy's Day Run began with a moment of silence. As the record crowd paused, race director Jim Lacey explained that at this race last year, shortly after crossing the finish line in first place in the two mile competition, Larry Winschel collapsed and died. In his memory the Greater Pittsburgh Road Runners (GPRRC) had rechristened the race the Larry Winschel St. Paddy's Day Run. And likewise, in his memory, would the race begin with a moment of silence.

The GPRRC had invited folks to come join in this memorial run to honor Larry. But, could they have expected the response that came forth? Joining the already inordinately large field, over fifty members of the highly visible Pankreas Racing Team and other family and friends of Larry's answered the call. They swarmed the parking lot in South Park, eagerly awaiting the chance to sweat a few drops in Larry's footsteps. In age they ranged from ten months to a few years older; in running capacity from college cross country athletes to those who had not run a step in years. In one thing however, they were utterly consistent, their love and admiration of the man to whom they paid tribute.

After Jim detailed the out-and-back trek down the main stretch of road through South Park, the race was off. Alex Winschel, running the two mile, punched his way out of the horde of runners to take an early lead. He was soon followed by Brett Richey, Noah Wolf, and Ed Berry, all of whom were attacking the longer 4.2 mile course. Meanwhile, in tow came the mass of pink shirts, signature battle-wear of the Pankreas Racing Team, and the motley crew that typifies the races of the GPRRC.

At the mile mark, the clock reading approximately six minutes, Alex turned for his return to the finish line, fame, and glory as the ultimate victor in the two-mile. His final time was 12:16. Ivan Locke took second honors with a time of 14:38. In the 4.2 mile race, Richey, Wolf and Berry battled it out over the gentle Corrigan Drive course, Brett Richey finally prevailing with a solid time of 26:50. Wolf and Berry followed at 27:08. In the meantime, Keith, Kelly, and Sean (Rentler) Winschel, siblings all, dominated the one mile race, winning it in 12:40.

While these and others were engaged in their heroic displays of running prowess, the rest of the one-hundred man field ran, walked, jogged, strolled, and sprinted across the finish line on this chilly March day. Included among the finishers was Larry Winschel's 10 month old grandson and namesake, who (not coincidentally) completed the race in his stroller in exactly the same time as did Larry the year previous. Meanwhile, a good time was had by all as folks swapped stories in the friendly atmosphere so typical of any GPRRC race - the atmosphere, incidentally, that so endeared the group to Larry.