Steve Spence Reclaims Another
BY WALT GREENE
HARRISBURG, PA--Steve Spence, 40, of Shippensburg, returned to Harrisburg on June 15 to once again reclaim another victory at the 2002 SUBWAY Capitol 5000 Meters Race. The 1980 Lower Dauphin graduate and 1992 Olympic marathon runner led a field of 224 finishers with a time of 14 minutes and 59 seconds. Spence's closest competitors came from Orwigsburg's Randy Haas, 40, who finished second with a time of 15:12, and Lancaster's Mike Craighead, 32, who finished third with 15:25.
Spence commented after the race that he followed along with Haas and Craighead in the lead pack for about two miles, and then committed himself to open the lead with about a quarter-mile to the finish line. Spence said this was his first race as a Masters runner and he wanted to get under 15 minutes. Spence received $100 and the Mayor's Cup for his first place finish and another $75 for finishing first among the Masters division. Haas received $50 and Craighead received $25.
Nineteen years ago (1983), Spence established the course record for the Capitol 5000 race with a time of 14:16, which remained good until last June when a Kenyan runner, Gilbert Koech, posted 13:59 in the Classic division. Spence also took first place in the Capitol 5000 races in 1982 and 1985. While at Shippensburg University in 1984, Spence won the NCAA Division II 5000 Meters Championship with a time of 14:07. Spence recently reported that he ran a personal best of 13:44 in 1986.
Several changes were made to this year's SUBWAY Capitol 5000 in order to reduce costs and to encourage more participants. The Classic division for elite runners was eliminated in favor of encouraging more runners to participate in one main 5K event with prize money and additional awards for the overall, Masters, and age-group divisions. Also, the SUBWAY Capitol 5000 was designated a Mid-Atlantic USATF Grand Prix event, which is a series of running events where runners receive points at USATF sanctioned and course-certified events. A total of 23 runners from Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania were entered as Grand Prix participants. The oldest Grand Prix participant was George Blyn, 83, from Merion Station, PA. Blyn finished with a time of 32:18. In addition to the 5K event, there is also a one-mile fun run/walk and a kids 1/3-mile fun run. A total of 279 participated in all the events this year.
The SUBWAY Capitol 5000 events have been presented by the I.O. Silver Games with the help of the Harrisburg Area Road Runners Club since 1998. SUBWAY continues as the major sponsor. The Brenner Family of Dealerships sponsored the fun mile and kids run. The Harrisburg Area Road Runners Club, under the direction of Mike Bressi, assisted with organizational help and race-day volunteers. Proceeds from the race benefit the Penn State Cardiovascular Center at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Information on Harrisburg area running events, results, and links to other running related Web sites may be found on HARRC's Web site, www.harrc.org.