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Third Annual River Dogs Half Marathon

Woods Hole, MA, March 12, 2005

Neither Snow nor Sleet Could keep Ken Gartner From his Appointed Rounds at the Third Annual River Dogs Half Marathon

by Courtney Bird

On Saturday, March 12, Defending Champion Ken Gartner, 44, of West Falmouth out-sloshed 150 runners in the 3rd Annual River Dogs Half Marathon He completed racing the 13.1 course that encompasses major elements of the Falmouth Road Race, the Cape Cod Marathon and the Seagull Six in 1:18:20. His winning time was only two seconds slower than his winning time in 2004. To win, Gartner had to overcome a 1 minute lead that Brewster's Geof Newton, 37, had built up by 9 miles into the race. The relentless rolling hills of the last three miles of the race combined with Gartner's experience proved to be the difference. Gartner passed Newton at 11 miles and by the end had built a 39 second lead. Third place went to P.J. Deschenes, 27, of Medford, MA who completed the course in 1:20:03.

In the women's race, Juli Jones, 30, of Watertown, MA ran strongly and finished in 1:39:12, good for 19th place overall. In a close battle for second place, Susan Simundson, 40, of Warwick, RI ran 1:42:32, finishing only eight seconds ahead of Lindsay Ruthven, 29, of Falmouth.

In the week leading up to the race, the weather diviners were less than optimistic that race-day weather conditions would be ideal. In fact various forecasts offered prognoses that suggested that the runners could face everything from cloudy conditions though light rain showers to 3 to 6 inches of snow falling during the race! What the weather gurus had not anticipated was the 4 inches of snow that fell on Falmouth Friday afternoon which left the roads icy and slush-covered. On race morning the forecasters were still hedging their bets. When the Falmouth Track Club's Chief Cannoneer, Bob Richards, fired the club artillary piece to send the runners on their way, the temperature was in the mid-thirties and a light rain was falling. By mid-race the temperature dropped and the rain changed to accumulating snow. 160 runners registered for the race, 135 braved the elements to start, and 125 finished.

The scenic course consists of a loop that starts and ends in Woods Hole and takes in some of the more spectacular parts of the Falmouth Road Race and Cape Cod Marathon courses as well as passing through some of the older neighborhoods of Falmouth. There are rolling hills in the first two and a half miles and the last three miles of the course, but the middle miles are flat.

After the race, the runners gathered in the warmth of Leeside for the awards ceremony and a post-race party with a DJ.

The race was organized by River Dogs Athletics of Waltham and logistical support and timing was provided by the Falmouth Track Club. The proceeds benefitted the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

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