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Tonight’s 8000 meter race was the 19th race in the 20 week Summer Sizzler schedule. Thirty-five registered runners took to the streets on a memorable evening for running. Warm and sunny conditions greeted the field at the start of the race, and as the evening wound down to a close, a breathtaking display of the Perseids meteor shower welcomed the final participants at the finish fine.
There were many first-timers in the field this evening, and two of them; Chris Gabrielson and Simon Wanjigi would lead the field through the park and out onto Trafton Road. As the first runners began to emerge from behind the snack shack it would be Chris with a sizeable lead followed by Simon. Chris would go on to break the tape for his first ever Summer Sizzler victory with a time of 29:45. With the victory his name will forever be etched into the Summer Sizzler win list hall of fame. Simon followed close behind for second place in 31:07. In a heated battle for the third and final podium spot by GSH siblings, Bill Carroll would out-kick his sister Julie to grab the bronze medal in 32:58 to Julie’s 33:01. Male age group winners for the evening were Simon in the Youth (0-19) division, Chris was first in the Open (20-39) division, Michael Olkin’s 33:49 earned him first Master (40-49), GSH’s Doug Bielefeld was first Senior (50-59) in 39:39, GSH’s Roy Anderson was first Veteran (60-69) in 48:37 and Don Grant completed the age group winners, taking the 70+ division in 56:44.
Although Julie Carroll lost the battle for 3rd place overall, her 4th place showing was also good for the win in the female race. The win would be Julie’s 10th of the season and 18th of her career, moving her into a tie with Nancy Dzielenski for 9th place on the all-time win list. Second place honors went to Beth Hegarty with a time of 36:02 followed by GSH’s Kathy McCarthy for the bronze in 37:49. Female age group winners were Julie in the Youth division, Beth in the Open Division, Julie Sanchez was first Master in 52:47 and Kathy McCarthy in the Senior division.
Volunteers for the evening were Brian McCarthy, Bruce Kurtz, Brian Goddu and Ed Carroll. Next week is the 20th and final race of the season. We finish the 34th season with the 5K cross country race. Following the race all registered runners are welcome to join us at the Red Rose in downtown Springfield for our annual end-of-the-season pizza party. I hope to see everyone at next week’s finale.