A VERY HAPPY PAUL THISTLE
BREAKS THE TAPE TO CLAIM TOP
HONORS AT THE 104TH RUN FOR
THE DIAMONDS IN BERWICK, PA.
CLAY SHAW/KAREN MITCHELL PHOTO

Thistle's Near Tumble

BY MARK WILL-WEBER

BERWICK, PA--When the 104th Run for the Diamonds on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, went to the line, you could not blame the majority of the 1,700-plus field for sporting tights and turtlenecks and knit hats pulled over chilled ears.

But Paul Thistle, third in 2012, lined up with the serious racer’s “uniform”--singlet, thin gloves, and a fast pair of ultra-light racing flats. The last item helped Thistle blast around the 9-mile course en route to a 45 minutes and 46 second winning performance in Pennsylvania’s oldest footrace (dating back to 1908) despite cold and breezy conditions.

Thistle also had to survive a near tumble. About five miles into the race, with the contest essentially down to a mano-a-mano duel with former Muhlenberg College standout Bob Torphy, Thistle almost went down.

“Bobby Torphy accidentally clipped my leg and that’s what caused me to stumble,” he later recounted. “After regaining my balance, I decided it was time to push the pace…”

At the risk of stealing a line from Salt-N-Pepa, Thistle did, indeed, push it--he pushed it real good!

Thistle (who starred at Susquehanna University in his collegiate days) blasted down the next subsequent downhill—of which there are several on the rollercoaster stretch through Kaschinka Hollow—and was never seriously challenged again by anything other than the clock. Thistle, in fact, ran just under 19 minutes for his final four miles--punctuated with a strong and jubilant charge down Market Street.

“My recent training had really prepared me for quick drops in pace and then holding it for several miles,” Thistle said. “Since moving down to Washington, D.C. last April, I have been working with Coach [Matt] Centrowitz’s Pacers Elite training group.”

However, since landing a teaching job in the D.C. area, Thistle has had to do 90 percent of his workouts (planned by Centrowitz, a former two-time U.S. Olympian) alone after the school day. It obviously has not hurt Thistle’s performances, and he says he is looking forward to a solid 2014 season.

 

 

KARA MILLHOUSE FOSTER
REPEATS AS WOMEN'S WINNER
AT THE RUN FOR THE DIAMONDS.
CLAY SHAW/KAREN MITCHELL PHOTO
Meanwhile--and not that far back--former Penn State star Kara Millhouse Foster was hammering out one of the fastest times ever run on the storied layout, en route to her second straight Diamonds victory. Foster’s 51:13 ranks as the fifth fastest female clocking ever in the history of the race. Her effort represented a significant drop in time from her already-speedy debut clocking in 2012 when she won in 52:58. Of course, Foster’s credentials (she was the Big Ten 10,000-meter champ in college and can clock under 16-minutes for 5K) indicate those times are quite “do-able” for a runner of her talent.

But apparently Foster was not just there for the first place diamond. On her homepage, the two-time winner posted: “My grandparents live in Berwick, so it makes running this historic Thanksgiving Day race pretty convenient.”

Katie O’Regan of Lebanon, PA, snagged runner-up honors for the second straight year (2nd, 52:54), clocking a new personal best over the rugged route. She was followed by former East Stroudsburg University star Rosie Mascoli (3rd, 53:51), Marina Orrson (4th, 53:53), Kelly Ciravolo (5th, 54:48), and Samantha McNally (6th, 56:38).

 

ALEXANDRA BULL HEADING FOR A 7TH
PLACE FINISH, A PR, AND THE WOMEN'S
LOCAL RECORD (56:56).
CLAY SHAW/KAREN MITCHELL PHOTO
Finishing seventh--and landing the last “Open” diamond award--was Berwick’s own Alexander Bull (7th, 56:56). Fresh off a solid cross-country season at Gettysburg College, Bull ran a major PR (first time under an hour) and set a women’s local mark in the process. Bull snagged a rare “diamond double”—winning one as first local, too. In addition, Alex’s record local time sort of put her on equal footing with her dad: Bill Bull (with 18 local titles) still holds the local course record—a formidable 46:55—that he cranked out in 1985.

Ever-enduring Dianna Golden of York, PA. clocked 1:06:40 to win the women’s 60-plus diamond. Nancy Morrison (1:08.27) won the 50-and-over diamond, while Lori Kingsley hammered out 57:11 (good for 8th overall) to snag the women’s Masters’ (40-plus) diamond award.

In the men’s race, Torphy held on for the third place diamond (3rd, 46:43), as the long-striding Matt Gillette—former Shippensburg University star—charged up for second overall in 46:35. Two-time Berwick champ C. Fred Joslyn of New York grabbed fourth (47:12), while Ryan Foster (5th, 47:34), Zach Miller (6th, 47:41) and Scranton-area warhorse Kevin Barrelli (7th, 47:50) secured the last Open diamond ring.

Terrance Shea of Lewisburg won the men’s Masters’ diamond (48:11), while Tim Schuler of Chambersburg churned out a solid 53:33 to land the 50-plus diamond award. Bob Welby snagged the 60-and-over diamond in 59:13.

Gritty little Tony Lawson--always a crowd favorite when he charges down Market Street--notched his 15th local title in the last 16 years in a time of 53:22.