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> Printer-friendly page Independence 5K

When it comes to running, it's happening in Haverhill


Haverhill, Massachusetts, aka the Queen Shoe City, is a place that has a running soul. This is where the great Tony Sapienza logged thousands of miles, it is where Dave Dunham of Mount Washington fame calls home and so does ultra-man Dan Verrington. This is where in 1948 Johnny Kelley the younger won the Sons of Italy 10-Miler, his first road race victory, and where he cemented a lifelong friendship with a guy named Jock Semple.

Start of the race.
photo Yankee Timing

In Haverhill you will find first-rate road races such as the eclectic Bobby Bell Road Race, the innovative Bradford Valentines Run, the quirky Baldi River Run and the upcoming Sapienza Classic. How can you resist loving a city where its most noted race director goes by the name of Icky? When it comes to running, Haverhill has it all and now it has the Independence 5K Road Race.

In its second year, the Independence 5K is part of the North Shore YMCA Road Race Series. The series is made up of eleven races that are run between April and December at various locations throughout the North Shore of Massachusetts. Runners compete for points and participation awards. The Independence 5K is the fifth race in this year's series.

Tonight's race had a relatively small field compared to the previous races in the series. This presented an excellent opportunity for those in attendance to gain a high number of series points. Leading the way was Haverhill's own Timothy Catoggio. "He took the lead from the start," said second place finisher and fellow Haverhill resident Dan Verrington.

Catoggio's time of 16:05 bested Verrington's time by 36-seconds. Not a bad effort by Verrington however, especially when you consider his youngest daughter just happens to be the same age as Cotoggio!

The women's division was won by Leigh Clarke (21:43) who traveled to Haverhill from Kalaheo Hawaii. She was followed closely by Middleton's Linda Ford (21:46) who already has four top three age division finishes in the series.

As series' director Chris Lavasco pointed out, "This is HaverHILL and the last part of the name ends with hill." Accordingly runners were treated to a challenging 5K course on a beautiful evening in the city with a running soul.

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