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The Summer Sizzlers race series continued tonight with race #2, consisting of an 8000 meter jaunt through Forest Park, Springfield and neighboring Longmeadow. Rain showers ended just in time for the start of the race on a cool 55 degree F evening. As the gun fired, 27 runners broke into a sprint down Main Greeting Road towards the rose garden with Fort Paul and Dave Degon leading the charge. It didn’t take long for these two runners to separate from the pack and battle for the lead. At the 4.25 mile mark it was Fort in the lead and pulling away as he claimed his first Summer Sizzler victory in an impressive time of 26:55. Dave followed closely behind in 27:14.
Winning the men’s Youth division (0-19) was Harrier Billy Carroll in 32:39 which broke the Age 11 course record previously held by Brett Mance by 39 seconds. Men’s Masters (40-49) and Seniors (50-59) title went to Steve Vergadaula in 32:19, good for 3rd place overall. GSH’s Art Roberts won the Veterans (60-69) division in 39:21.
The women’s victory belonged to Fort’s AIC teammate Joyce Kipchumba, who completed the 8K course in 32:55 for 4th place overall. Youth division honors went to GSH’s own Julie Carroll with a time of 36:16. For the second week in a row, HTC’s Cheryl Cunningham won the female Masters and Seniors divisions in an Age 53 course record time of 33:37. This is a 57 second improvement over the previous age record held by Mary Ryczek.
Rounding out the night’s festivities was our time prediction winner Colleen Cummings. Colleen’s time of 37:05 was only 5 seconds off her prediction.
Volunteers for tonight’s race were Brian Goddu, Ed Carroll, Bruce Kurtz and Gabby Lescarbeau. Thanks for your much needed help! Next Wednesday, May 2nd we’ll return to the 5K xc course for race #3. Will this week’s much needed rain slow the field as they navigate the opening trails? Stop by next week and find out first-hand.