Huge Turnout for Daily American Races

BY GEORGE A. HANCOCK

Somerset, Pa--The 25th Annual Daily American 10K/5K Run & Walk was held Saturday, June 11, 2011. This running event is annually the largest road race in the Cambria Somerset County region. The 2011 event witnessed over 1,000 participants cross the Somerset High School track finish line.

The race-day festivities began with a moving march around the Somerset sport complex by current and past military personnel. The veterans marched in formation amidst the rousing cheers, tears and shouts of thanks by the gathered throng. Many veterans were in wheelchairs and some in artificial limbs.

The 2011 races featured staggered starts. The 10K race started first followed by the 10K race walk. The 5K run was next but with a major change this year. The 5K runners ran a reversed course. Many 5K runners liked this change. The lead and mid-pack 5K runners raced alone. The 10K runners and walkers were miles away. The 5K walk began a few moments after the 5K run start.

The 10K run had 129 finishers. The 10K walk featured 100 race finishers. There were 300 5K finishers in the 2011 event. 467 walkers completed the loop 5K walk course. The starting-line temperature was 66 degrees. The skies were partly cloudy to sunny. The start was humid and warm.

Each year the race proceeds are split between two different Somerset County charities. Each selected charity must attend every Daily American race-planning meeting. Also, each charity must have enough volunteer members to help with the numerous race-day activities. The selected charities this year were the Somerset County Military Families Support Group and the Young Life group. Race officials estimated that $50,000 was split between the two charities.

The top five male and female runners and walkers from each race were awarded special plaques. The top three finishers in numerous age groups were awarded Daily American medals. Each male and female top Master finisher also received a special award.

Altoona, PA resident Chris Sheftic, 49, won the 2011 Daily American 10K in 37:29. This was Sheftic’s third straight win on the rolling loop course. Sheftic grew up and attended school in Somerset. Doug Basinski, 40 from Pittsburgh, was second in 37:43. 27-year old Somerset resident Gabriel Foust was third in 38:33. Tom Deakins, 44 from Meyersdale, was fourth in 39:50. Trafford, PA resident Brian Caskey, 34, was fifth in 40:02. The 10K Masters winner was 41-year-old Peter Bruss from Somerset.

The top female 10K runner was Somerset resident Abby Gross. The 22-year-old runner completed the course in 50:25. 26-year-old Petagaye English from Brooklyn, NY was second in 52:03. Amy Zuccolotto, 35, from Somerset, was third in 52:07. Local Somerset resident Lynn Singer, 42, was fourth in 52:09. Jannie Jordan, 44, from Rootsville, Ohio was fifth in 52:37. The 10K female Masters winner was 41-year-old Somerset resident Kathy Shumaker. Shumaker completed the 10K run in 52:45.

Veteran runner and accomplished race walker Don Slusser, 59, won the 2011 Daily American 10K walk in 57:28. Somerset resident Al Kurtz, 62, was second in 1:03:36 and 42-year-old Matt Walker, from Berlin, PA was third in 1:07:18. Gary Ziegler, 44, from Somerset, was fourth in 1:12:56. Somerset walker Rick Kuimmel, 53, was fifth in 1:15:20. The top Masters walk finisher was 61-year-old Wayne Yoder. Yoder toured the 10K course in 1:16:23.

Veteran race walker Starla Snyder, 48, from East Freedom, PA was the overall 10K walk finisher in 1:07:30. Tina Heiple, 48 from Somerset, was second in 1:10:10. Berlin resident Sherry Merkel, 45, from Berlin was third in 1:12:42 and 28-year-old Carrie Heiple, from Johnstown was fourth in 1:13:25. Diane Rugh, 60, from Johnstown was fifth in 1:13:33. Forty-two-year-old-year-old Berlin, PA resident Jeanne Johnson was the 10K female Masters winner with her 1:15:42.

Somerset standout runner Greg Opp, 21, won the 2011 5K run in 17:06. Levi Foust, 29, from Somerset was second in 17:24. Meyersdale, PA resident Patrick Smith, 33, was third in 17:43. Jordan Wilt, 16, from Friedens, PA was fourth in 18:47 and 21-year-old Zack Weimer was fifth in 19:48.

The 5K male Masters winner was WJAC-TV Channel 6 Sports Director Tim Rigby. Rigby, 52, finished his run in 21:41 and a 13th place overall finish.

Nineteen-year-old Somerset runner Emily Stutzman was the first female 5K finisher in 21:25. Jill Leadbetter, 19, from Somerset, was second in 22:03. Olivia Schrock, 18, from Somerset, was third in 22:20 and 26-year-old Kayla Kurczak, from Fairmont, WV, was fourth in 22:33. Aubree Stoy, 16, from Boswell, was fifth in 22:40. Fifty-two-year-old Somerset runner Holly MacKensie was the 5K female Masters winner in 26:43.

Michael Deabenderfer, 22, from Somerset won the 2011 5K walk in 34:14. Somerset resident Andrew Barron, 31, was second in 34:15. Randy Klein, 56, from Rockwood, was third in 34:46. Fifty-year-old Craig Knupp was fourth in 34:46. Fifth place went to 12-year-old Somerset resident Kyle Deaner in 37:08.

Veteran race walker William Obert, 64, from Bedford, PA was the male 5K Masters winner in 37:20. Thirty-eight-year-old Rockwood resident Sandra Stevanus won the 2011 female 5K walk in 36:40. Sherry Obert, 55 from Bedford, was second in 37:17 and 45-year-old Dawn Bennett from Berlin was third in 37:26. Wendy Martin, 51, from Somerset was fourth in 37:43 and 60-year-old Connie Long, from Somerset, was fifth in 37:45. The female Masters 5K winner was 55-year-old Somerset resident Barb Boxler in 37:47.

Cold beverages, fresh fruit, cookies, and assorted other delicious items were available for all the race participants under tents in the refreshment area. The timing and finish-line service was handled by Runner’s High. Each runner and walker wore a shoe chip. The final race results were posted in several locations at the sports complex. The Somerset Daily American newspaper also published a 16 page race recap on the following Thursday.

The Daily American race committee was very pleased with the Saturday, June 11 race. The Race Committee promised to study the results and begin work shortly on the 2012 event.