Share |

Wednesday, July 11, 2001 -- Connellsville, PA
19th Annual John Woodruff 5K Run & Walk (iPO Event Id#: 3868)
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage]
Results: [Run O/A] [Walk O/A] [Run by Class] [Walk by Class]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8] [Set 9]
[Set 10] [Set 11] [Set 12] [Set 13]
[2000 Event Coverage]

Kids Race Start
And the kids get it all started
It was a great evening for a run as Connellsville once again turned out huge numbers to honor 1936 Olympic Gold Medalist and home town hero John Woodruff. All the festivities began with a record 50 kids taking to the track for an 800 meter fun run and didn't end until well after dark with a party at Bud Murphy's.

When it came to racing for the big boys and girls, the John Woodruff 5K course is a clockwise loop through residential streets finishing on the track at Connellsville Stadium. The 86-year-old Mr. Woodruff fired the starting gun for the runners just after 7:00pm. He again gave the starting signal for the walkers just a minute later.

The course is most difficult in the first half where it does a good deal of climbing. However, the result is a fast second half that is mostly downhill.

Everybody was getting our for a run through the steets
Getting off to the fastest start was Larry Thompson who led the race for most of the first mile at about a 5:15 pace. His main rival was Jacob Gleason who took up the lead with a slightly faster first mile. From there on it was all Gleason as he cruised to a first place finish in 16:44.

Thompson held the second spot clear to the final lap around the track to the finish line. That's where he was caught and passed by Adam Shinsky. Shinsky finished at 17:19 while Thompson had to settle for third at 17:26.

It was Thompson's first time running the John Woodruff 5K and he called it a "great course". He also said, "[Gleason] ran a great race, but if I knew the course I think I could have given him a better challenge."

In the women's field it was Susan Lobos setting the pace early but she was caught by Gina McGee just after the first mile. "I just went out easy because I knew the first half was tough," said the thirty-something Indiana University of Pennsylvania XC and Track alumnus. McGee went on to win with a time of 19:33.

A wonderful evening to get outside for a walk
Lobos held on for second with a time of 20:10, a 41 second improvement over her third place performance from the previous year. "I am happy with my time, but it isn't the place I would have liked," said a smiling Lobos after the race. Rounding out the top three ladies was Kara Williams (20:47) who will be a freshman runner at IUP this fall.

The walkers raced the same 5K course and it was once again Steve Bence taking the tape with a winning time of 26:27. "Tough, it was a fast field," was Bence's synopsis of his race.

The battle for second was fierce as Ken James was just a step behind Thomas Starkey for most of the race. "I was hanging with him as hard as I could," said James. Hang he did until the final few meters before the finish. That's when James swung his legs just ahead of Starkey to steal second place with both recording times of 27:00. "This was revenge for July 4th's Whiskey Rebellion 5K in Cannonsburg where [Starkey] got the better of me," said James with a big smile.

Oh my, that sure was fun!
In the women's walk it was another repeat champion as Jamie Brooks took the win at 29:36. Taking second was Kathy Paes (31:52) with Jennifer Blout (33:24) striding in for third. "I was afraid to look back because [Blout] beat me last year," said Paes when asked about her race.

Soon it was time for awards and a whole slew of prizes from numerous generous sponsors. With Marty Kurta doing MC duties, Kristen Porter heading up an excellent race committee, and many friendly and helpful local volunteers, the annual John Woodruff 5K was once again a great success. Now it was time to head down to Bud Murphy's Sports Bar and Restaurant to fill those new souvenir glasses and celebrate!