Three-Peat for Gillette at Diamonds;
Foster Takes Women's Win

By Bill Bull

The Men’s Race

BERWICK, PA--When Matt Gillette, Orefield, PA, crossed the finish line, he flashed three fingers on his right hand. Can you say three-peat? Gillette had accomplished something that had not been done in over fifty years; three wins in a row at Berwick! “The goal this year was to try and get the third win in a row,” Gillette said. “I looked in the program. I wanted to be part of the history of the race,” he continued. The last runner to win three in a row was Frank Pflaging, Baltimore Olympic Club, in 1963, '64, and '65. Looking at next year, Olympian Johnny Kelley, of Boston Marathon fame, had four wins in a row during World War II. We’ll have to wait a year to see if Gillette can match Kelley!

“It’s become a tradition, coming here every year. It’s special. I really enjoy it. Hopefully I’ll stay fit and be back next year,” Gillette said.

A lead pack of four runners (Gillette, second place finisher Trevor Van Ackeren, Bethlehem, third place finisher Eric Arnold, Haverford, PA, and eventual seventh place finisher Dylan Gearinger, Berwick) quickly broke away from the rest of the field. The group of four stayed together until THE Hill. “The race was pretty much a repeat of last year. Matt runs that uphill really hard. I tried to keep it as close as I could, but he got away from me there. On the back half of the course, I ran tough, but it’s hard to catch a good runner once they get a lead on you. That’s the challenge of this race,” said VanAckeren.

The mile and a half uphill from Mile Two to three and a half is usually where Berwick is won or lost. VanAckeren has finished second two years in row and in the top four in each of the last four years.

“I ran in the lead pack until about halfway up the big hill. That’s when I made my move and took the lead. Then I pushed the downhills,” said Gillette.

Rounding out the top seven diamond-ring winners were fourth place Chris Mullen, Eagleville, PA, fifth place Alexander Hampel, Hummelstown, PA and sixth place Jonathan Condly, Jim Thorpe, PA.

The Women’s Race


The Berwick Marathon Association race committee was buzzing. Word came down from Race Director Margaret Livsey that course record holder Karaleigh Foster had post-registered. The women’s field was strong with 2015 winner and perennial top finisher Marina Orrson (Martino) in the field. Several other past diamond-pendant winners were also in the field including Rose Mascoli, Samantha Snukis, Christy Peterson, Josey Rupert, and Samantha Snead.

Three-time winner, Millhouse-Foster had missed the last two years. She had been living in Australia for part of the time. Now, back in the States and coaching at Edinboro University, a return trip to Berwick was possible. Her husband, former diamond-ring winner, Ryan Foster, wanted to run. So although she wasn’t in as good of shape as previous years, the chance to run in Berwick was too enticing to pass up. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to race until last night. Ryan wanted to run and it’s always a good time. I love the race,” said Karaleigh.

Marina Orrson, Shavertown, PA, set the pace during the early miles with Karaleigh a step behind. By the halfway point, Foster had taken the lead and began to create a gap between the two front runners. “I ran with Marina during the early part of the race. On the downhill, I just let my legs turnover. I didn’t push all that much. I let gravity work for me. I moved in front of Marina at about four miles. Then I just tried to hold on,” said Foster.


Orrson kept the pressure on Foster by finishing just 24 seconds later. This was Orrson’s second consecutive second place finish after winning in 2015. Rounding out the rest of the top seven was third place finisher Rose Mascoli, Conshohocken, PA, moving up from sixth last year. Hannah Coffin, Vestania Hills, AL, earned her first diamond while finishing fourth. Samantha Snukis, Stowe, PA, added to her diamond collection by finishing fifth. Christy Peterson, North Wales, PA, returned to the top seven with a sixth place finish. Seventh place finisher, Whitney Heydenreich, Danville, PA, earned her first diamond pendant.


Diamond Points

Sunny, dry conditions, calm winds, and temperatures in the upper 30s made for great running this year.

Lori Kingsley, Wysox, PA broke the 50-59 female age-group record by running 59:18. The old record was held by Ann Sick in 61:58 from 2009. Kingsley finished tenth female overall.

Dylan Gearinger, a junior at Haverford College, won his fourth consecutive local title. Gearinger set a new PR with each win. This year was the most impressive yet! Gearinger not only won the local diamond but became the first male Berwick HS graduate to earn a top seven diamond since Allen Parr finished sixth in 1930. Note: There have been two females to accomplish the feat. Also of interest: The only male local to win the race was Nescopeck HS graduate and future Olympian, John “Blondy” Romig in 1920. Romig, a Penn State runner, passed on the local award after receiving the first place diamond ring.

Gearinger was part of the four-runner lead pack until it broke up on THE Hill. Gearinger became only the second local runner to break the 48-minute barrier. His time of 47:48 is tied with Bill Bull’s 47:48 for the fourth fastest local time ever. Also Gearinger’s time set a new local 20-29 age-group record previously held by Bull.

Another Berwick HS graduate, Mason Kimbell, also ran under 50 minutes with a twelfth place finish in 49:50. Kimbell is a freshman at St Bonaventure University. This is the first time since 1993 that two local runners finished under 50 minutes. It is also the first time two locals finished in the top fifteen since 1985 when Bill Bull and Steve Johnson finished eleventh and fourteenth, respectively. Berwick HS Senior, Mitch Martin, had a very strong 20th place finish in 50:46 to round out a great race for the former BHS Cross Country/Track teammates. This is the first time three locals have finished in the top twenty.

Samantha Dyer, now a freshman at Seton Hall University, successfully defended her local women’s title. Dyer ran 63:27 to improve upon her last year’s time by over four minutes. As with last year’s race, the local title did not come easy. Eleven-time local winner, Wendy Lupashunski, pressed Dyer throughout the course to finish second local by a small eight second margin. Lupashunski broke the local female 50-59 age group record with her run.

Two-time winner, Mt Holly Springs, PA's C Fred Joslyn's streak of top seven finishes ended at thirteen this year. Also, Joslyn’s record-tying streak of running sub-50 fourteen years in row also came to an end.


Several Canadians made the trip south again this year. The top Canadian finisher was Trevor Dykman in 61:22.
Dave Sheridan, Ontario, made the trip but did not run. The Sheridan family has been represented almost every year at the race for over eighty years. Dave’s Father, Whitey, first ran in 1936.

Two more runners joined the Berwick Marathon 35+ Club. They were John Beers, Bloomsburg, PA, and Mike Micca, Shickshinny, PA. There are now sixteen in the club.

A pictorial review of the first fifty years of the race, 1908-1959 is available for purchase. Contact Fred Takacs at for more information.

The Pasta Dinner the night before the race was well attended. The guest speaker was Jack Heath. Jack authored a book about ten-time winner Browning Ross. His book is available on Amazon.

Community support for the race was once again outstanding. Thanks to all the many sponsors of this historic race! Special thanks to the Police, Fire Police, and Firemen for their continued support!

And last, thank you to all the runners who continue to support this great race!