MEN’S WINNER MIKE MCGOWAN,
AGE 26.
BILL KILE III PHOTO

A Happy Day of Remembrance
at Browning Ross Bob Kupcha 5K

BY JACK HEATH

MT. EPHRAIM, NJ--As the second annual Browning Ross Bob Kupcha 5K race and mile walk was about to start, Bonnie Ross, Browning’s daughter took a quick look at the field of over 100 runners, walkers, and eager kids’ racers and remarked, “Dad would have liked this.” Indeed the looks on the faces of the finishers reminded many of the races, sorely missed, that Browning put on, on a regular basis. Mike McGowan, a Rutgers graduate, set the pace covering the hilly 5K in a time of 17:38. Sister Shannon, a sophomore at Gloucester Catholic, where Browning had coached for many years, was the women’s champion in 22:35.

This year’s race featured a field triple the size of the inaugural but the stars might have been the 25 kids in the free kids’ race. Browning would have smiled to see one small boy, nose and chin covered with yogurt exclaim, “Wow, I didn’t know we had spoons.” Some of the other notable performances turned in were Rutgers senior Chris McGowan’s 20:47 for the first Gloucester Catholic graduate finisher. (Chris, Mike, and Shannon are all siblings and I was lucky enough to coach all three.) Lou Sariego, 61, ran an impressive 22:21 on the hilly course which featured four steep hills including one at the finish that Browning would have loved.

Bob Kupcha was an outstanding wrestler and football player at Gloucester Catholic, who came out for Browning Ross’s track team his senior year. Bob pole-vaulted and threw the javelin on the first winning track team in the school’s history. Bob was also an orthopedic surgeon and army medic who passed away in 2001. Browning and Bob shared a humility and quick wit that belied their significant accomplishments. Bob once told me that after one good throw his javelin had landed with the wrong end. Browning came up and told him, “Nice throw, maybe you should hold on to the other end next time!” Then they both laughed. Browning conveyed the message that it should always be fun. Bob started to run distance races while at Georgetown Medical School and had run three marathons. Browning, the Olympian, had shown us that it is a lifetime sport. Hopefully his influence will be felt by many of the children crossing the finish line with smiles on their faces at the finish of the kids’ run.

 

SHANNON MCGOWAN, WOMEN’S WINNER
AND FIRST GLOUCESTER CATHOLIC
FEMALE.
BILL KILE III PHOTO
Bonnie Ross said after the race, “My father always loved children. One time I did something and was disciplined by my mom who told me, ‘Just wait until your father gets home, you are in for a spanking.’ My father [Browning] came home, was told the situation and said, ‘I’ll take care of it.’ He closed the door and told me, ‘Now when I give this bed a whack, give a good yell.’ That was the extent of the discipline!”

This year’s race featured plenty of refreshments, some provided by Gloucester Catholic alum and a great setting for the one-mile walk--around Haddon Lake Park.

For prizes, Bonnie Ross provided pristine copies of the Long Distance Logs, the first running magazine in the country written by Browning Ross.

Race notes: The Camden County Freeholders helped support the race and also helped provide medals for the kids’ race along with Paul’s Trophies. In the spirit of Browning, we contacted all four major Philadelphia teams looking for unique prizes for the kids’ run. The Flyers responded immediately with a nice signed print and a letter thanking us for letting them be part of the event. The Phillies sent us an e-mail that they would “add us to the list of people requesting things” while the 76ers and Eagles ignored the requests. When one of the race directors (who also works part-time for the Phillies) contacted the Phillies organization they quickly made good on the request with a generous contribution.

MALE

Overall

1. Michael McGowan 17:38
2. Abel Bermudez 18:51
3. George Melko 18:54

19 & Under

1. Steve Rendall 21:38
2. Steve McGourik 23:45
3. Roberty Quigly 23:50

20-29

1. Chris McGowan 20:47
2. Shaun Rendall 21:49
3. Matthew Skahill 26:57

30-39

1. William Daisey 24:50
2. Ron Chillemi 25:50
3. Dominick Diciano 27:20

40-49

1. Stan Cooper 19:25
2. Paul Miller 20:33
3. David McCollum 21:19

 

PETER TOWNSEND DISPLAYS THE
JUBILATION OF FINISHING AFTER
A TOUGH HILL.
BILL KILE III PHOTO
50-59

1. Tom Campo 21:36
2. David Jenkins 24:26
3. Norman Ostroff 26:34

60 & Over

1. Lou Sariego 22:21
2. George Jackson 27:17
3. Tom Osler 27:55

FEMALE

Overall

1. Shannon McGowan 22:35
2. Carol Curry 23:28
3. Rachel Busarello 24:14

19 & Under

1. Erika Page 26:41
2. Catherine Kain 27:00
3. Bryanna Heintzleman 30:26

20-29

1. Maureen Coghlan 26:56
2. Bethany Goldy 30:56
3. Elise Green 32:54

30-39

1. Jennifer Polidoro 29:03
2. Catherine Morrison 29:10
3. Kathleen Heintzleman 30:35

40-49

1. Sandra Feranda 26:39
2. Suzanne Diaz 31:32

50-59

1. Marge Morris 29:13

60 & Over

1. Ann Warsing 29:58