THE LEAD PACK AT MILE THREE (LEFT TO RIGHT): LAZARUS
NYAKERAKA, GILBERT KOECH, MOSES MACHIRIA, AND GILBERT
OKARI.
NEAL RIEMENSCHNEIDER PHOTO

Kenyans Dominate at the 25th Anniversary
of the City of Pittsburgh Great Race

BY SHEA RIEMENSCHNEIDER

PITTSBURGH, PA--Winner Gilbert Koech (27:32) was followed by seven more Kenyans, while first and second in the women's division went to Gladys Asiba (32:10) and Naomi Wangui (32:18), also from Kenya.

Koech and second place finisher Gilbert Okari (27:34) began to break away from a lead pack of seven runners and soon found themselves alone at mile five. "I felt confident, and when we hit the last downhill, I knew it was a straight shot and went hard. I wasn't worried about his kick," said Koech. Koech and Okari battled on the hills of the course, which finishes in Point State Park, with Okari working hard going up, only to see Koech pass him going down. First-time Great Racer Okari knew at the six-mile mark that the race was over, "I couldn't match him. If I would have known the course I might have had more of an advantage since I had used all my energy going up hills that I didn't expect."

Running in her second Great Race was female winner Gladys Asiba. "Since I knew the course I knew when to make my move," remarked Asiba who took the lead after the third mile. "I had run against her [Wangui] before and wanted to have the lead around the third mile." Improving over last year's second place finish was enough for Asiba, "Even though I did not improve on my time for last year, I was still happy with my race. I ran strong and confident," said Asiba knowing she could outlast Wangui. Fellow Kenyan Naomi Wangui took the lead but was unable to hold, "I went out hard thinking that if I could hold on I would win." In the end Wangui was only eight seconds behind Asiba, with Russian Elena Paramonova only four seconds behind her.

The Great Race also features a 5K run and wheelchair races. Winners in the 5K were Andrew Jenkins with a time of 15:15 and hometown favorite Tricia Snyder (18:47). Winning the men's 10K wheelchair race was Jeff Fisher, while Diana McClure won for the women. Jeff Dellovade won the quadriplegic wheelchair division and Jeff Hantz was the 5K winner.

 

"PERFECT RACERS" WHO HAVE FINISHED ALL 25 OF THE GREAT
RACES.
NEAL RIEMENSCHNEIDER PHOTO
Also finishing the race were the 28 men who have run all 25 races. "We refer to these 28 men as our 'Perfect Great Racers' since they have been with us since the first year," said Race Director Mike Radley. Members of this club include the Mayor of Pittsburgh, Tom Murphy, as well as first-year winner Carl Hatfield. "I enjoy this race because it is downhill and very fast. It is very well organized and always has good competition." Also not to be forgotten is Eileen Petrone, who has the longest streak of any female racer. "I am an honorary 'Perfect Racer' since I only missed the first race."

"The Great Race has become a true Pittsburgh tradition over the years, far more popular than Mayor Caliguiri could have ever imagined when he decided to organize a 'fun run' for the people of Pittsburgh," said a proud Radley. The first race took place in September, twenty-five years ago and has seen a quarter million participants since. The race officially changed its name to the Richard S. Caliguiri/City of Pittsburgh Great Race, in 1993, in memory of Mayor Caliguiri who passed away in 1988. Now a portion of the proceeds are given to the Richard S. Caliguiri Amyloidosis Fund. In honor of the 25th anniversary, a Marine color guard presented the American flag at the start and students from the late Mayor Caliguiri's high school alma mater, Taylor Allderdice, sang the National Anthem a cappella.

Registered for the anniversary edition were 10,083 runners, which made it the biggest turnout since 1991. "If we lined up every person who has registered for the 10K over the past 24 years and stood them shoulder to shoulder, Great Race runners would stretch for 85 miles," said Radley, who was full of facts. "The combined distance of our 225,000-plus 10K runners would equal roughly 1.4 miles. It means that Great Racers have circled the earth a total of 56 times."

Perfect Racer Hatfield added, "I consider myself lucky to be healthy and able to compete in every race. I look forward to next year!"

 I Was On the Press Truck!

BY NEAL RIEMENSCHNEIDER

That's right folks, thanks to an offer from Freddi that I couldn't refuse, I was able to ride on the press truck at the 25th anniversary of the Richard Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race. Of course, Ruth's first question when she found out Freddi had asked me to go was, "Why doesn't she send a real photographer like Clay Shaw?"

Now, I have known Freddi since my kids were little tykes. I was always picking Freddi's brain and listening to her stories about rearing children. Therefore, knowing that I do very little bonding with my teenage daughters (they ceased thinking I was cool about 12 years ago), I saw this trip as a means for my oldest daughter, Shea, and I to spend some much needed time together away from Winchester.

So Shea and I loaded up the car and headed to Pittsburgh. Shea would write up the race as part of a class assignment and while I took photos and assisted her with interviews (look, this kid takes three days to get up the courage to make a phone call to someone she doesn't know). The drive up and back was uneventful as I listened to my music on the tape deck and Shea listened to her compact CD player. The only words we exchanged were when I asked her to get out some money for the tollbooth.

But once we arrived in Pittsburgh, it was a different story. We spent a pleasant evening downtown and purchased tickets to see the Penguins and became instant Pens fans (no Mario!).

Race day was a thrill for me. We had our media credentials hanging around our necks and I actually felt important! We boarded the press truck at the finish and headed to the start. Veterans of previous Great Races were appalled with my attire of golf shirt and shorts. "You will freeze as we head to the start," they said. And boy were they right as it was a mere 40 degrees. The truck ride was brutal! Once we got to the starting area I hopped off and stood in the sun to thaw out!

It was neat being able to walk around in the elite area and mingle with the runners. Shea ate as many bakery products as she could. They were graciously provided for us media types. As the starting time drew near, we climbed on the truck and settled in for what would be a "great race." The Marine Color Guard presented the American flag while an ensemble from the Taylor Allderdice High School Choir sang the National Anthem. This school is the alma mater of Richard Caliguiri who, as mayor of Pittsburgh, established the Great Race in 1977, and died of amyloidosis in 1988. Current mayor Tom Murphy fired the gun, jumped into the field, and the race was on.

Being in the truck was obviously a great way to view the race. With all the Kenyans present, I knew it would be a fast race with a lot of subtle tactical moves throughout. Shea was right next to me so I could discuss the race strategies as they occurred. Shea is now running cross-country so her eyes were opened greatly when I told her that the first mile in 4:47 was pretty pedestrian and that it would probably get faster in the next mile and shake things out. Boy did I look knowledgeable in my daughter's eyes when the second mile was covered in 4:19, effectively dropping all but those who had a legitimate shot at winning.

I had a great vantage point to take pictures and see the faces on the runners. There was a lot of looking around and checking out the field by all the front runners whenever someone made a move. Shea remarked at one point that one runner made a move on an uphill section and strung out the field only to have all the runners reel him in on the ensuing downhill (my baby picking up race lingo!).

We hit the finish line seconds before the winner came through, jumped off the truck, and stood at the finish line taking photos and watching the runners come in. In a few minutes, we saw the top women finish and then it was off to the elite runners' staging area to interview the top finishers.

Shea, being a 19-year-old raised on MTV, got a little bored after interviewing the winners and headed off to the hotel room to do some serious cable TV watching. Me, I was going to milk this media credential for all it was worth. I saddled over to the sponsor area and sampled some of the food and drink. Then I cozied up to two-time Olympic gold medallist Roger Kingdom (110 meter hurdles) and listened as he and Mayor Murphy did some light trash talking about their race times. Then it was over to the area set aside for the "Perfect Great Racers." These are 28 individuals who have now completed all 25 Great Races. Some notables included Carl Hatfield, who won the inaugural event 25 years ago, Mayor Murphy, and long-time friend Don Slusser. This was just a nice group of everyday, ordinary runners who agreed that the Great Race was something they wanted to do every year and hoped to be around for the 50th event.

Long after the event was over, the overall awards given out, and the park pretty much empty, I walked back to the hotel, pried Shea away from the television, and we were on our way back to Winchester. Amazingly, we chatted for a solid two hours about our trip before we settled into our own music. We both agreed that the time we spent in Pittsburgh was grand and that being part of the media was a great experience. The only downer of trip was the nearly $15 in tolls I had to pay on the PA Turnpike!

Many thanks to Lorraine Capozzi who did everything possible to ensure that Shea and I received everything we needed before and after the race. Lorraine even offered me her coat when I arrived at the starting area when she noticed my teeth chattering a mile a minute!

And a special thanks to good friend Freddi Carlip for the opportunity for Shea and I to participate in a great event and for helping a father and his daughter spend some much needed time together. Of course, as soon as we got home, Shea headed to her room and blasted the stereo and I yelled, "Turn that racket down!" as things quickly returned to normal in the Riemenschneider household.

_____________________

The following 28 individuals have participated in, and finished, the Great Race for each of the past 24 years:

Tom Abbott Thomas Kennedy
Richard Baldock Marty Klanchar
Ken Balkey David Lester
Dennis Bamhart Jack Marszalek
Gary Boyd Roger McGuire
Leslie Brody Tom Miles
John Bumheimer Richard Monheim
Bob Costello Tom Murphy
Philip Ehrman Frank Nedwidek
Paul Gaberson John Richards III
John George Rob Ruck
Ronald Hannan Don Slusser
Carl Hatfield Mark Studnicki
Wayne Jacobs Francis Walsh

Major Sponsors

Dollar Bank
Allegheny General Hospital
Eat'n Park
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield
Verizon Wireless
U.S. Airways
Hilton Pittsburgh
Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel
WPXI-TV
92.9 Lite FM
Channel 97 FM WRRK
Lamar

MALE

10K

Overall

1. Gilbert Koech 27:32
2. Gilbert Okari 27:34
3. Lazarus Nyakeraka 27:44
4. Moses Machiria 27:52
5. Julius Nderitu 27:58
6. Wilson Onsare 28:06
7. Joseph Kariuki 28:32
8. David Njuguna 28:53

Masters

1. Paul Zimmerman 30:20
2. Dave Antognoli 31:56
3. Dennis Packard 32:01

11 and Under

1. Matthew Cunningham 43:18
2. Jeremy Molinaro 46:32
3. Jake Rubenstein 46:37

12-13

1. Jacob Walker 40:25
2. David Cunningham 41:53
3. Florian Blume 42:26

14-16

1. Thomas Jech 35:29
2. David Ruth 37:29
3. Levi Brown 37:43

17-19

1. Kenny Beerbower 33:24
2. Michael Vella 33:29
3. Stephen Hiser 35:26

20-24

1. James Carney 29:37
2. Ian Collings 30:42
3. Trevor Warren 32:05

25-29

1. Teddy Mitchell 29:18
2. David Kipngetich 29:31
3. Matthew Moran 29:58

30-34

1. Thomas Lentz 30:28
2. David Hackworth 31:04
3. Paul Friedrich 31:42

35-39

1. Danny Fink 31:37
2. Marc Voit 32:20
3. Herb Cratty 32:46

40-44

1. Larry Taylor 32:04
2. Ian Bath 32:07
3. Bill Olrich 33:04

45-49

1. S. Mark Courtney 32:40
2. Ed Frohnapfel 33:16
3. Lee Zelkowitz 34:22

50-54

1. Jim Freid 35:23
2. Dennis Kollai 37:24
3. Jim Moyer 38:22

55-59

1. George Carroll 37:20
2. Dale Carter 37:42
3. Jim Rohm 39:14

60-64

1. Dick Amato 38:26
2. Larry Ratkus 40:29
3. Warren Carter 43:04

65-69

1. Ray English 43:00
2. Carl Trimber 43:04
3. Leon Bierbower 43:40

70 and Over

1. Lou Lodovico 46:48
2. Matt Norris 50:26
3. John Bewick 50:27

5K

Overall

1. Andrew Jenkins 15:15
2. Kevin Stover 15:37
3. Alex Eversmeyer 15:58
4. Brian Horvath 16:17
5. Christian Reed 16:26

11 and Under

1. Nick Blodis 20:15
2. Kevin May 20:50
3. Michael McCormick 21:25

12-13

1. Dario Donatelli 17:54
2. Sean Hanlon 20:34
3. Eric Kemp 20:52

14-16

1. Mathias Hickman 16:54
2. Gil Kross 17:45
3. Brian Leone 18:05

17-19

1. Neil Ardeshna 17:08
2. Greg Bobich 17:17
3. James Araujo 17:33

20-24

1. Brad Carter 16:34
2. Michael Lutz 16:39
3. Joe Stoltz 16:55

25-29

1. Andre Lapierre 17:52
2. Alex Castrodale 18:01
3. Patrick Nied 18:40

30-34

1. Allan Brown 16:27
2. Larry Thompson 17:01
3. David Keen 17:16

35-39

1. Michael Monstwil 17:06
2. Mitch Radella 18:29
3. Jody Lobert 19:15

40-44

1. John Karpacs 17:11
2. John Lewandowski 17:12
3. Tim Savisky 18:00

45-49

1. Stephen Wreschnig 17:48
2. Jack Vermeulen 17:50
3. Ed Palko 18:16

50-54

1. Frank Goldcamp 18:07
2. Daniel Driskell 19:10
3. Art Wiland 19:24

55-59

1. Henry Sierka 19:47
2. James Szyslowski 19:57
3. Joseph M. Turner 22:00

60-64

1. Bob Heilman 19:59
2. Vince Neal 21:02
3. Bill McNellie 21:31

65-69

1. Russ Maxwell 24:25
2. Roger Coyle 24:32
3. Loren Barritt 31:14

70 and Over

1. Regis Costello 23:09
2. Dick Conners 26:17
3. Donald Mrvos 27:15

FEMALE

10K

Overall

1. Gladys Asiba 32:10
2. Naomi Wangui 32:18
3. Elena Paramonova 32:22
4. Jackline Torori 32:42
5. Heather Bury 34:20
6. Laura Hruby 34:27
7. Rhaina Echols 35:27
8. Tammy Slusser 35:29

Masters

1. Laura Hruby 34:27
2. Lisa Gonzales-Gile 39:30
3. Sabine Kane 39:52
4. Mary Anne Hredzak 40:20

11 and Under

1. Rachel Humphrey 42:32
2. Mike Mueller 44:02
3. Gary Morgan 45:25

12-13

1. Kaitlin Grimm 38:28
2. Monica Schaffer 42:32
3. Molly Cunningham 47:00

14-16

1. Melinda Klavon 41:29
2. Amanda Johnson 43:03
3. Kelly Mehno 44:49

17-19

1. Katy Makstutis 39:36
2. Shannon Miller 41:57
3. Christine Gathers 43:23

20-24

1. Karin Lockhart 35:59
2. Anne Granger 38:01
3. Margaret Polcawich 39:27

25-29

1. Kathleen Wojciechowski 39:54
2. Susan Ward 39:58
3. Lee Anne Naylor 41:10

30-34

1. Felicia Greer 36:28
2. Karen Aeberli 38:21
3. Karen Killeen 39:13

35-39

1. Emily Hass 37:29
2. John Cardone 37:35
3. Cindy Anzalone-Fox 38:40

40-44

1. Nancy Schmidt 40:29
2. Lisa Cimbala 41:51
3. Diana Mascio-Elms 42:00

45-49

1. Joan Pellegrin 42:58
2. Sandy Onofray 43:18
3. Kathleen Heller 43:52

50-54

1. Sandra Grimaldi 45:43
2. Pati Habenicht 45:49
3. Jayne Adair-Cox 46:29

55-59

1. Kathy Shoaf 47:33
2. Mary Jo Neff 48:33
3. Linda Krynski 49:04

60-64

1. Ellen Nitz 49:21
2. Rose Scheid 51:15
3. Ada Rubin 56:01

65-69

1. Donna Smith 52:58
2. Marilyn Olsen 55:02
3. Andrea Gerbstadt 55:08

70 and Over

1. Margretta Lutz 53:38
2. Jean Krause 1:02:39
3. Eileen Jamison 1:05:35

5K

Overall

1. Tricia Snyder 18:47
2. Dayna Friedman 18:51
3. Jennifer Lejeune 19:24
4. Kate Brown 19:25
5. Jen Purgason 19:48

11 and Under

1. Natalie Bower 21:46
2. Beth Pecora 22:21
3. Melanee Wilt 23:49

12-13

1. Caitlin Hewitt 20:49
2. Liz Brickley 20:55
3. Lauren Steel 21:45

14-16

1. Denise White 20:10
2. Sarah Polakovic 22:09
3. Melissa May 23:14

17-19

1. Shannon Moore 20:01
2. Amy Gaska 21:02
3. Kira Stadler 21:29

20-24

1. Amanda Howe 20:08
2. Jennifer Yates 21:53
3. Katie Weeks 22:08

25-29

1. Eleanor Bateman 19:53
2. Jodie Nicotra 23:23
3. Erin Baker 23:57

30-34

1. Annah Sukay 22:14
2. Charity Antus 22:51
3. Lisa Robitz 24:37

35-39

1. Christine Popovich 20:22
2. Miriam Nolf 20:29
3. Palma Ostrowski 20:49

40-44

1. Marci Oblak 20:43
2. Karen Mizikar 20:47
3. Toni Modig 21:09

45-49

1. Ann McCormick 21:43
2. Janet McDermott 21:45
3. Rose Mercer 22:10

50-54

1. Debi Page 21:57
2. Joan Gustafson 22:51
3. Ann Cheman 23:05

55-59

1. Betty Burrell 26:35
2. Donalee Bright 27:09
3. Patricia Adams 27:51

60-64

1. Georgette Lacey 27:16
2. Kathleen Carskaddan 31:20
3. Jane Westfall 32:41

65-69

1. Carole Preskar 33:28
2. Jane Citron 33:47
3. Tess Mastriano 38:19

70 and Over

1. Mary Jane Kemp 36:42
2. Dorothy Siemon 36:46
3. Julie Christo 48:04