Wire-to-Wire Wins at
Bear Creek 5K for Dennis and Rapson

BY REV. REGINALD H. THOMAS

WILKES-BARRE, PA--The 9th Annual Bear Creek 5K Run and Fitness Walk, held March 3, was once again nestled between two snow storms. This annual event, sponsored by the Maranatha Youth Fellowship of the Messiah Primitive Methodist Church, is always run under the threat of Old Man Winter. A snowstorm on the day before the race left about three inches of snow and on Sunday through Tuesday--12 inches more. There is a God above who watches over us and gave us a great day to run--temperatures at 38 degrees, overcast, and no wind.

This year, 168 runners and 27 walkers took to the 3.1-mile, wheel-measured, out-and-back course. The course contains no major hills, however, the first 1.4 miles is a gradual downgrade that challenges all runners on the return.

The winners of this year's event had participated for the first time and received Gund Bears, a race specific medal, and winners' embroidered sweatshirt. Gary Dennis (30), of Bushkill, leading from start to finish, had a time of 16:19. The course record is 15:07 set by Randy Haas in 1998. Second place was garnered by the 2000 winner, Brian Allen (29), of Scranton, with a time of 17:09. David Horvath (47), of Palmerton, finished third in 17:31. Alicia Rapson (20), home from Yale University, decided to jump into the race and likewise led from start to finish. Her time of 19:53 was well off the course record held by Lisa Reilly Haas (17:40 set in 1998). Second place went to Ann Sick (42), of Millville, in 20:08 and third place was Maria DeRojas Moulton (40), of Mountain Top, in 20:12. Second place finishers received a hand-crafted wooden award featuring a scene of a runner, bear, and several trees. Third place received a laser-engraved plaque in addition to the race-specific medal.

Masters awards were presented to Bob Pulz, of New York, who finished with a time of 17:37 and Francine Buczynski, of Forty-Fort, with a time of 23:12. Once again, the Bear Creek 5K was pleased to have experienced runner Mrs. Louise Rossetti (79), of Saugus, MA, compete, finishing with a time of 39:57. She noted that in 2000 she competed in 154 races.

The walk awards were presented to the top six male and female finishers with the top three receiving Gund bears, hand-crafted wood awards, and plaques along with the race-specific medal. Fourth through sixth received special medals. Wendy Brannigan, of Plains, in her third walk, won for the first time in 30:12. The course record of 25:14 was set by Maria DeRojas Moulton in 1994. Camille Jescavage, of Hunlock Creek, was second in 32:27. Third place went to Jean Williams, of Cresco, a Leukemia Society Marathon trainer, in 38:24. The top three men were John Willis (61) in 31:49, Terry Dougherty in 34:30, and Ned Walsh in 39:08, all from Wilkes-Barre.

The Second Annual Children's Half-Mile Fun Run was held prior to the 5K. Fifty-three children from ages 3 to 12 went to the starting line. Rev. Reginald Thomas, pastor of the church, led the runners down the road, only to be passed by the overall winner, Kevin Moulton, of Mountain Top, who finished in a time of 2:28, setting a new course record. Second place finisher, Doug Carr, of Northwest Area School District, also easily passed the pastor to finish in 2:40. First girl was Mary Poterski, of Bear Creek, finishing in 2:58, with Angela Sabatino, of Pen Argyl, close behind in 3:03. Stuffed bears were presented to the first place finishers and special trophies were given to first place finishers in each grade, pre-school through sixth.

The Bear Creek 5K also offers a great postrace event featuring homemade cookies, Fig Newtons (compliments of Runner's World), and Tastykakes. This year over 75 separate prizes were given away from gift certificates to hand-crafted items. As all race directors know, the success of the event is due to the volunteers and sponsors who assist throughout the event and to each of them we are thankful. The Bear Creek 5K and Children's Run benefit the children and youth of the Church by offering financial assistance and scholarships to attend summer camp and special youth retreats. The theme for 2001, "Be strong in the Lord, and the power of His might" (Ephesians 6:10) inspires all to overcome and achieve the goals set before us.

MALE

Overall

1. Gary Dennis 16:18
2. Brian Allen 17:09
3. David Horvath 17:31

Masters

1. Bob Pulz 17:37

Under 14

1. Adam Hasan 23:43
2. John Sabatino 24:14
3. Jacob Cole 27:17

15-19

1. Ryan Roth 17:47
2. Mike Petrikonis 17:57
3. Ray Bowman 18:56

20-24

1. Joe Dowd 20:13
2. Gregory Durcik 20:19
3. Perry Pawelka 23:25

25-29

1. E.J. O'Malley 18:59
2. Damian Smith 27:00
3. Josh Boub 34:17

30-34

1. Brian McCarthy 18:26
2. Tom Shalata 19:07
3. Patrick Wills 21:09

35-39

1. Mark Oley 20:19
2. Michael Drogalis 21:48
3. John Weiss 22:34

40-44

1. Frank Yanko 18:19
2. Scott Sick 18:54
3. Richard Torbick 18:57

45-49

1. Bill Bull 18:48
2. Tom Ducatte 19:42
3. David Tranell 20:29

50-54

1. Rich Chase 19:34
2. Ed Zindell 20:22
3. Tom Walski 20:39

55-59

1. Steve Mardyniak 20:43
2. Vince Fedor 22:27
3. Tom Berezich 27:41

60-69

1. Rich Hause 22:48
2. Frank Dudley 25:02
3. Michael Fay 25:29

70 and Over

1. Ed Livsey 30:37

Walk

1. John Willis 31:49
2. Terry Dougherty 34:30
3. Ned Walsh 39:08
4. John Lauan 39:56
5. Jack Heycock 42:25
6. Leonard Stone 48:16

Children's Fun Run

Overall

1. Kevin Moulton 2:28

Pre-School

1. Nicholas Oley 3:57

Kindergarten

1. Steven Campbell 3:39

1st Grade

1. Brandon Pernot 3:41

2nd Grade

1. Michael Cibello 3:36

3rd Grade

1. Kenny Olson 3:19

4th Grade

1. Jonathan Fazzi 3:14

5th Grade

1. Jacob Cole 2:55

6th Grade

1. Doug Carr NTA
2. Steven Lewandowski NTA

FEMALE

Overall

1. Alicia Rapson 19:53
2. Ann Sick 20:08
3. Maria Moulton 20:12

Masters

1. Francine Buczynski 23:12

Under 14

1. Whitney Adams 22:29
2. Hillary Adams 26:24

15-19

1. Angela Straini 25:22
2. Amanda Jones 27:01
3. Tess Matukonis NTA

20-24

1. Bianca Badaris 21:14
2. Lauren Kochian 25:27

25-29

1. Wendy Tedisco 20:25
2. Jennifer Stec-Gagliardi 21:05
3. Michelle Mackey 22:15

30-34

1. Christine Fazzi 29:01
2. Paula Pardoe 30:56
3. Renee Boland 31:38

35-39

1. Kim Gasper 20:58
2. Leann Kish 23:13
3. Michele Walutes 23:45

40-44

1. Mary Zdancewicz 23:38
2. Alice Rishie 25:37
3. Mary O'Donnell 30:51

45-49

1. Nancy Wethmuller 23:33
2. Patty Phillips 24:19
3. Barbara Kent 25:18

50-54

1. Sharon Templin 25:18
2. Kathy Koberlein 25:43
3. Shari Philmeck 26:37

60-69

1. Nancy Desgarennes 29:34
2. Kum Ye Tarapchak 29:37

70 and Over

1. Louise Rossetti 39:57

Walk

1. Wendy Brannigan 30:12
2. Camille Jescavage 32:27
3. Jean Williams 38:24
4. Lynne Getz 41:28.21
5. Paula Zilla 41:28.66
6. Diane Zindell 41:29

Children's Fun Run

Overall

1. Mary Poterski 2:58

Pre-School

1. Taryn Wojnar 5:33

1st Grade

1. Abigail Zdancewicz 3:34

2nd Grade

1. Kaitlyn Varneke 3:50

3rd Grade

1. Jenny Boland 5:00

4th Grade

1. Lindsey Olson 3:08

6th Grade

1. Angela Sabatino 3:03
2. Alyssa Getz 3:22