Phillps Conquers Snow, Slush, and
Summer Hill at 101st Diamonds Run


BERWICK, PA--Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow! This is a song not usually associated with Thanksgiving Day, but this year it fit perfectly. About an hour before race time, the snow came. It didn’t let up until about two hours after the start. The wet snow provided a half-inch of slush around the entire nine miles. This made for some tough footing, especially on the up and down hills; of which there are plenty on this historic course.

The prediction of snow did not deter the runners from attending. There were 1720 entered and 1566 finished. This was the second largest field ever; only trailing last year’s 100th Annual Race. Amazingly, the fans that line the course were also undeterred!

Jon Phillips, Brooklyn, New York, outdistanced the field, winning by 12 seconds. His time was 45:25, an impressive time considering the conditions. Most runners believe the snow/slush cost at least a minute. “The toughest part of running in the wet snow was going up the big hill. So I took it conservatively and then pushed the downhill,” commented Phillips.

Chris Miller, Lancaster, PA, followed closely behind in 45:37. Fred Joslyn, a former winner, took third. Rounding out the top seven diamond-ring winners were Garth Watson, Matt Byrne, Mikhial Litinov, and Rob Ahrens.

Other diamond-ring winners included Masters Champion Dan Pszeniczny, Veteran Champion Budd Coates, and Senior Champion Rick Platt. Also, Local Champion Tony Lawson, received a diamond ring with his 13th title.


Side notes:

Ed Whitlock, Milton, Ontario, won the 75-plus Age Group in an astounding time of 67:14. Whitlock is an age-group World Record Holder in the Marathon.

Roger Davis’ record streak of 35 consecutive Diamond runs under 60 minutes came to an end. The streak began in 1975. Injuries and conditions combined to contribute to Roger’s time of 63:13.

Davis race record for consecutive runs under 70 minutes continues, now at 36.

Chris Aurand has the consecutive race record for runs sub-80 minutes, now at 38. Chris began this streak in 1973.

Bill Bull holds the race record for most consecutive sub-50 minute runs at 14. Bull set this record from 1980 through 1993.

The Berwick Marathon Association would like to thank the many volunteers, race fans, and sponsors that make this race so special!

Peoples Repeats in Close Diamond Duel


BERWICK, PA--The notes from Ed Livsey’s clarinet weren’t the only thing swirling around in the cold morning air. Just before the 101st Thanksgiving Day footrace went to the starting line in Berwick, runners--with mixed emotions--were watching fat flakes of snow drift down to melt upon eyelashes and some noses red enough to make Rudolph slightly jealous.

The problem, however, was those flakes were not melting upon the roads, and runners in the 2010 edition of the much-storied “Run for the Diamonds” might well have requested that Livsey--who traditionally plays both the Canadian and American National Anthems just prior to the start—add Paul Simon’s “Slip Slidin’ Away” to his repertoire. It was not an exaggeration to say that most of the 9-mile route was glazed with a wintry mix upon its surfaces--and no section worse than the already-diabolic climb up to Summer Hill.

Nevertheless, the women’s field was loaded with talent (despite a late cancelation from 2008 champion Maureen McCandless, the former Pitt star who frequently runs under 16 minutes for 5K distances) and took on the weather-burdened task with pride and determination. Defending champ and course record-holder Heidi Wolfsberger Peoples of Scranton led the charge in the women’s field and was the first to mount the major ascent (more than a mile) to the top of Summer Hill--the irony of the name perhaps lost on the brow-knitted, arm pumping runners attempting to gain decent footing.

And the subsequent downhill was not for the faint of heart, either. Lauretta Dezubay of Bethlehem and Lori Kingsley (one of the country’s top Masters out of Wilcox, PA) stayed aggressive on the plunging, slushy downhill after Summer Hill and managed to stay vertical on the tight left turn at the bottom. Peoples was ahead, but still in sight. Eventual fourth place finisher Emily Shertzer said: “They really (Dezubay and Kingsley) took off on the downhill, and I was like ‘see you later’…”

Meanwhile, Peoples admitted that--although leading--she was struggling. “I never felt good, even in the beginning.” She would suffer through some particularly “bad patches” and then—in a bid to stay in front--attempt to redouble her efforts with occasional surges. (In her defense, Peoples had come off a record-setting 2:39 marathon the month before at Steamtown in Scranton and--during the recovery phase--hadn’t run any quality workouts prior to the Berwick race.)

The 23-year-old Dezubay--a two-time Pennsylvania State track champion in high school and a recent University of Virginia grad--drew ever closer in the final miles, kicking down Market Street in her Berwick debut to come up five seconds shy of the defending champion. Peoples clocked 53:52 and Dezubay 53:57--the five ticks making the race the second closest women’s competition in the history of the Berwick race. (In 1986 Christina Skarvelis--a runner from the Pittsburgh area—held off Bethlehem’s Lori Adams to win by a mere two seconds.)

“At halfway, I was just trying to keep her in sight,” said Dezubay. “So I was kind of surprised how close I was getting in the final miles.”

Kingsley charged home third in 54:44 and--all things considered--may have had the best race of the entire women’s field. All she did was clinch her fourth Masters title at Berwick and also--miraculously--managed to run a PR on the slippery slopes and sloppy country roads.

Rounding out the top seven diamond-pendant winners in the highly competitive field were: Shertzer (4th in 55:06), former Dickinson College (and William and Mary) standout Darcy McDonald (5th in 55:29), Katie O’Regan (6th in 56:15) and triathlete Kelly Ciravolo (7th in 56:25, and first woman from the tri-county area).

Wendy Calarco showed she is “still the one” on the local scene by notching her 10th title among Berwickians, clocking 1:01.40. An accomplished Masters, Calarco kept ahead of relative youngsters Alexandra Bull (2nd)--who was coming off a solid cross-country season at Gettysburg Colleg--and Christa Johnson (3rd).

Other noteworthy performances included Dianna Golden of York, who snagged her sixth “Veterans” diamond in 1:07.41; Barb Zeske of Hanover Township (1:17:20 to win the “Senior” diamond); and Kirstin Schafer of Crestwood High School in Mountaintop who was the first high school finisher from the tri-county area in a fine time of 59:49.

Even if Peoples’ triumph felt much harder than her record run (50:35) on the 100th anniversary of the race, the former 11-time All-American from Moravian College nevertheless added some significant notches to her Diamonds resume. She joined Wendy Nelson-Barrett as the only woman to win back-to-back Berwick titles and tied Nelson-Barrett (1993, 1995-1996) with a trio of career victories over the famous course.

The 1-2 finish of Peoples and Dezubay also produced a team victory. They linked up with former Muhlenberg College standout Jenna Papaz (14th overall) and 2002 Berwick winner Kim Jaick Soden to carry the “Lehigh Valley Connection” to first in the team category.

Another statistic of note: 638 women finished the 101st “Run for the Diamonds.” In 1972--the first time women officially ran the race--a total of three females finished the 9-mile event.