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 racers 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 Pennsylvanias 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 thats 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 downhillof which there are several on the rollercoaster stretch through Kaschinka Hollowand 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] Centrowitzs 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 Thistles performances, and he says he is looking forward to a solid 2014 season.
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 ORegan 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).
Ever-enduring Dianna Golden of York, PA. clocked 1:06:40 to win the womens 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 womens Masters (40-plus) diamond award.
In the mens race, Torphy held on for the third place diamond (3rd, 46:43), as the long-striding Matt Gilletteformer Shippensburg University starcharged 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 mens 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.