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The 33rd annual Summer Sizzlers race series kicked off tonight on a picture-perfect evening for running. Skies were sunny with temperatures hovering around 70 degrees F as 35 runners toed the line for the 5000 meter cross-country race through the rolling hills and trails of Forest Park. As is tradition, April 19th is the start date for the Sizzlers in honor of Forest Park founder Everett Barney. Greater Springfield Harriers president Peter Stasz gave an emotional speech recounting the life of Everett Barney and his contributions to the City of Springfield. Once everyone composed themselves runners were called to their mark and the opening bell was rung.
GSH member Adam Bulewich quickly took control and ran to victory in a respectable time of 19:31. The Women’s victory went to Melissa Stellato with a time of 20:17, good for 3rd place overall. Both winners will have their names forever etched into the Summer Sizzler Hall of Fame by virtue of their first series victories.
The men’s youth winner (0-19) was Alex Agnitti with a time of 21:59. Clinton Morse captured both the men’s Masters and Seniors title in 21:06. GSH’s own Seth Roberts took home the Veterans crown (60-69) in 23:16 in addition to his perfect time prediction.
Women’s youth winner was Nora Garrity in 23:42. Cheryl Cunningham’s 22:50 was good enough for the women’s Masters and Seniors titles as well as breaking the Age 53 course record previously held by Carol L’Esperance by 1:18. Carol exacted her own revenge by winning the women’s Veteran’s crown in 27:26, in the process breaking the Age 62 record by 1:54 (previously held by Marjorie Kos). Beth Krasemann, 2nd female and 6th overall, ran a 21:17 which lowered the Age 38 record by 50 seconds (held by Betty Matthews).
Many thanks to Brian Goddu, Ed Carroll, Bruce Kurtz and Brian McCarthy for volunteering their time to make opening night a successful one. The Series will return to its regular Wednesday night time slot next week with the fabled 8K road race awaiting the runners.