1993 IN 44:39!

Lots of Competition at the 105th Annual
Run for the Diamonds as Foster Breaks Record
and Hilton Claims First

The Men’s Race

BERWICK, PA--Nick Hilton, Flagstaff, Arizona, was a man on a mission. Hilton had traversed the Diamonds course once before, in 2011. After nine grueling miles, Hilton had lost by just one second. He had given his all, but came up just short of the big prize. Hilton was determined to not let that happen again!

Hilton took the lead during the opening mile and was relentless in his quest to win the first place diamond ring. “That second place finish I suffered three years ago sat in the back of my head all this time. After I got out of college, all I wanted to do was run this race again...and win,” declared Hilton. Mission accomplished!

Hilton won the race going away. In so doing, he won by 54 seconds. His winning time (44:39) was the fastest time on the course since 1993.

Matt Gillette was the only runner to try to stay within striking distance of Hilton, and it almost cost him. Paul Thistle won the race last year by running away from Gillette and the rest of the field during the last four miles. Gillette, second last year, didn’t let Thistle’s kick get him again, although Thistle came close!

Thistle looked like he was running for third place, but then put on his amazing kick again. But this time, Gillette was up to the challenge. Thistle came within one second of Gillette at the finish line.

Trevor Vanackeren, two-time winner C Fred Joslyn, Bobby Torphy, and Nicholas Patton rounded out the Top Seven Diamond ring winners.


The Women’s Race

Karaleigh Foster has put herself in the “elite” category of the Run for the Diamonds. Foster completed the “hat trick” with her record-setting performance! Foster not only became the only female to win the race three years in a row, but she set the course record (50:32.09) in the process. The old record of 50:35 was set by Heidi Peoples in 2009.

There was a bit of confusion at the finish line. Foster, looking at the finish-line clock, thought she had broken the course record. When she received her time, however, it was one second off the record. After reviewing finish-line pictures, race officials determined Foster had actually broken it. Foster received a $500 savings bond for setting the record. Chip timers revealed she was not recorded on the first finish-line mat. She was only recorded on the second mat, thereby giving her the slower time.

“The first time I ran in this race, I didn’t even know there was a tough hill. I went out really hard right from the gun this time because I was going for the record. I attacked the hill. I love this race. My family can watch. My grandparents live in Berwick. I love the tradition of the race,” said an elated Foster.

Marina Orrson ran a terrific race! She moved up two spots from her fourth place finish a year ago to capture the second place Diamond pendant. She knocked off 62 seconds while doing so, for a finishing time of 52:51.

Katie O’Regan continued her good running. After finishing second two years in a row, Katie dropped one spot to a very good third place this year in a time of 54:11.

Brenae Edwards, Paige Stoner, Carly Shea, and Christina Faust rounded out the Top Seven Female Diamond pendant winners.

The Male Local Title

Dylan Gearinger clocked the fastest local time (51:39) since 2005. In so doing, Gearinger quite possibly has made a statement about the local running scene. There could be a changing of the guard! Just as Tony Lawson ushered in a new era of local running in the late 1990s, the same transition could be happening again.

Gearinger led a contingent of Berwick High School runners across the line. Four of the Top Five local finishers ran on the Berwick High School Cross Country Team this past Fall. Harrison Ferro (54:25), Mason Kimbell (55:19), and Victor Guevara (55:24) finished in third, fourth, and fifth respectively. Only 2011 local winner Michael Lisnock, Jr was able to split the group with his second place finish (53:28). Perennial winner, Tony Lawson, was injured and rode the press truck during the race.

The Female Local Title

Alexandra Bull, Gettysburg College graduate, ran a very strong pace throughout the race to gain her fourth Local Title in a row. Her time of 58:27 was good for thirteenth overall. It was the third fastest local time on the course; behind her record time of 56:56 last year and Wendy Calarco’s time of 58:21 in 1999.

Wendy followed Alex to the line in 62:10. Third went to Abby Bull in 65:01. Heather Turnbach and Miranda Hildebrand Costa followed in fourth and fifth respectively.


Diamond Points

Although the area received six inches of snow the day before the race, the roads were wet, but ice free. Occasionally snow would fall from trees to cover areas of the road (and runners), but it was not a problem.

Perhaps due to the snow, the race had the smallest field since 2008.

Twenty-one runners finished under 50 minutes, the most since 1996.

Thirteen female runners finished under 60 minutes.

Chris Aurand completed his 42nd consecutive Diamonds race. His first was in 1973. This broke his High School Cross Country/Track coach’s record of 41. Lanny Conner set that record from 1972-2012.


Darren and Julie Crispin donated beautiful jackets to all diamond-ring and pendant winners. The Crispin family has been one of the race sponsors since 1912!

Unclaimed Diamond awards can be picked up at the Run for the Cookies 10K February 28, 2015.

Complete results of all Diamond races can be found on

The Berwick Marathon Association would like to congratulate all the finishers of this year’s race!

The Association also thanks all who helped make this year’s race a success!

See you in 2015 for the 106th running!


Records & Redemption


An old proverb claims that good things come in threes--but every once in a while, great things do, too.

The 2014 “Run for the Diamonds” race--the oldest footrace in Pennsylvania--saw Karaleigh Millhouse Foster notch two big milestones in the annual Thanksgiving morning 9-miler staged in Berwick. The former Penn State star notched her third straight Diamonds victory (becoming the first woman in the history of the storied event to achieve that feat) and, if that wasn’t enough to raise a few eyebrows, Foster also set a new course record of 50 minutes, 33 seconds--a mere two seconds faster than what Heidi Wolfsberger Peoples clocked in 2009 when she broke the previous mark of 50:54 set by Katy Schilly way back in 1981.

When one observer offered Foster (who has a sub-33 minute 10K personal best on her resume) post-race congratulations on her fabulous performance, but also mentioned that they hated to see Peoples lose her record, Foster said: “Well, you can tell Heidi that I had to work really hard for it.”

Another hard-working runner in the 105th running of this historical event was Nick Hilton. Hilton--who was out-leaned in a photo finish in 2011 by C. Fred Joslyn--came all the way from high-altitude training in Flagstaff, Arizona, to dominate a talented and experienced men’s field. The former Lock Haven University standout was already applying pressure at the front of the pack in the second mile--with the mile-long-plus ascent to Summer Hill yet to come.

As Hilton later wrote on his blog (some might argue with the modesty of the blog title: “The Moderately Talented Distance Runner”): “I went into the race this year with the mindset that I was going to run hard and not give anyone a chance to outkick me. I pushed the first four miles, opened up a gap, and kept pushing…”

By the top of the hill (graveyards located coincidentally close for both over-zealous front-runners and struggling back-of-the-packers), Hilton already looked like a winner. About 200 meters behind, Paul Thistle (the defending champ), former Shippensburg University star Matt Gillette, and two-time Berwick winner Joslyn, jousted for the supporting roles. But Hilton still looked smooth, controlled, powerful, and destined for redemption--despite the fact that he had punched out a 2:21 marathon victory in Savannah, Georgia, just a few weeks before. He only lengthened his lead through Kaschinka Hollow Road, trucking through the 10K mark in around 31 minutes.

Although temperatures did not escape the 30s, and a recent snowfall hung heavy (and picturesque) upon the trees, the racing conditions proved to be close to ideal. Runners feared that snowmelt on the roads might prove icy and slick, particularly on the rugged ups-and-downs of the historical loop course, but any hazardous patches were easily avoided.

Hilton kept the hammer down when he entered the final mile on Market Street, cheering crowds urging him on. Hilton’s efforts were reflected in his winning time of 44 minutes and 39 seconds--the first male runner to break 45 minutes (or 5-flat pace for the nine-mile distance) since Carleton “Buck” Jones did the trick in 1999. (Two-time Olympic marathon Peter Pfitzinger’s 1980 CR of 43:21, it should be noted, still appears in no immediate jeopardy.)

A spirited race for second saw Gillette (2nd, 45:33) nip former Susquehanna University star Thistle (3rd, 45:34) for runner-up honors, while former Princeton track standout Trevor Van Ackern used his speed down the homestretch to place fourth (46:09). The always-competitive C. Fred Joslyn grabbed fifth (46:24), while Bobby Torphy (6th, 46:55) and Nick Patton (7th, 47:00) rounded out the overall diamond ring winners for men. For Joslyn--a guy who might consider opening his own diamond store--it was his 11th diamond ring-winning effort in as many years, dating back to 2004 when he was just 20 years old.

Although Foster’s record-setting run put her comfortably ahead of the rest of the women’s field, some solid performances nevertheless accounted for the next six diamond award winners: Marina Orrson (2nd, 52:51), Katie O’Regan (3rd, 54:11), Brenae Edwards (4th, 54:52), Paige Stoner (5th, 55:25); Carly Shea (6th, 56:15), and Christina Faust (7th, 56:57).

As usual, the Berwick Marathon Association also awarded diamond rings to various age-group champions. Tina Bartholomew won the women’s Masters (40-plus, in 1:00:19); Ann Sick (1:09.01) notched the 50-plus award; and veteran road racer Dianna Golden turned in a strong 1:08.04 to take the 60-plus diamond pendant.

The age-group men also turned in stellar races. Terrance Shea won the masters 40-plus ring in 49:36; Tim Schuler added to a very strong fall with a victory in the 50-plus division in 52:39; and 60-plus went to the always scrappy Terry Permar, with a sub-hour effort of 59:37.

When the Berwick race (they called it “The Berwick Marathon” in those early days) started in 1908, the field consisted of just 14 starters (there were close to 1,400 this year) and 15,000 spectators. Keeping with its tradition, the race organizers always pay special homage to the top “local” finishers. Former Gettysburg College (and Berwick H.S.) standout Alexandra Bull led the charge in 58:27--with veteran Wendy Calarco and sister Abby Bull in second and third, for local women. On the men’s side, Dylan Gearinger--who earlier in the month snagged a state cross-country medal for Berwick High School—won the local men’s duel in 51:37, although he finished a few seconds behind Alex Fitch of Bethlehem in a spirited competition to be the first high school finisher in this rugged race.

Another Berwick tradition is a visit from Canadian runners. Once again, a handful of distance running aces from the Great White North made the journey “down to Berwick”--and that included Ian Atkinson of Kitchner, Ontario, who finished first in the 75-year-old and up division--besting five other men in that age group.