Fonder, Edwards Lead Record Field
at the 40th Harrisburg Marathon


HARRISBURG, PA--The New York City Marathon’s loss became the Harrisburg Marathon’s gain. The late cancellation of the New York City Marathon, due to catastrophic damage by Hurricane Sandy, caused the many trained and ready to go marathoners to scramble for an alternative race close to the same time frame. Harrisburg, not being too far away, and scheduled for the next weekend, November 11, seemed to fit the bill for many. Due to the increased number of entries, a record 1,583 crossed the finish line located at the Harrisburg City Island. The previous year’s count was 702, with the all-time record of 940 set in 2010. First year Race Director Andy Wahila, and his hard working crew that numbered in the hundreds, ably saw to the needs of the vastly expanded field. Last minute increased shirt and finisher medal orders had to be filled, hours of more time spent stuffing race packets, recruiting more volunteers, and increasing supplies to be used along the marathon course are just a few of the many things handled with very few glitches. The many, many, pages of positive feedback in the form of e-mails attest to the success of the 40th Annual Harrisburg Marathon. There was rumor of a petition being circulated, nominating Wahila for mayor of Harrisburg. I know there would be hundreds of NYC Marathon “refugees,” along with many locals, willing to sign it.

Mother Nature also cooperated with the race by providing a nice sunny day, with a light breeze, temperatures climbing into the low to mid 60s in the afternoon. Once again the jogger/walkers got an early start, leaving the starting line on the Market Street Bridge at 6:30 a.m. Aspire Urgent Care and Family Medical was once again the primary sponsor for the 2012 Harrisburg Marathon and Relay. The main field of about 1,600 runners, and over ninety relay teams, started at 8:30 a.m. The 26.2 mile course included Riverfront Park, Shipoke, the Greenbelt path around Penn DOT, Harrisburg Area Community College, and the hills of Wildwood Park.

Michael Fonder, 26, Princeton, NJ, finished first among the record number of runners, walkers, and relay runners, in a time of 2:27:34. Fonder’s time was the first under 2:30 since the 2000 race when Thomas Stickel, 37, Lancaster, OH, finished in 2:37:42. On hand to watch the race was course record setter Rick Blood, Summerdale, PA, who set the record of 2:21:38 in 1981 at the age of 23. It was Fonder’s first marathon win on just his second attempt at the distance. It turned out to be a major personal record for the New Jersey resident, who was scheduled to run the New York City Marathon. He signed up for the Harrisburg event just hours after the New York race was canceled. After breaking away at the three-mile mark, Fonder continued to increase his lead, winning by almost eight minutes.

Finishing in second place was New York resident, Art Gunther, 41, Nyack, who was also the first Masters in a time of 3:35:19. Continuing the New York flavor, New Yorker Michael Arnstein, 35, 2:36:10, came across the finish line in third place. Arnstein won the Harrisburg Marathon in 2008 with a time of 2:32:17. Finishing fourth for the men was Pennsylvania resident Matthew DeBlander, 24, Duboistown, 2:36:22. DeBlander was second overall in 2010.


On the women’s side, Connecticut native Katie Edwards, 30, South Glastonbury, won in 2:58:00. She was followed by Annie Onishi, 25, New York, NY, in 2:58:14 and Lilia Britze, 30, Bronx, NY, in 3:05:07. Edwards improved on her second place finish, 3:11:45 in 2011, by almost 14 minutes. It was her first overall marathon win. “I definitely think Wildwood is brutal,” Edwards said, commenting on the roller coaster Hills of Wildwood Park located at Miles 18 and 19 of the marathon, “It definitely had twists and turns. I think there are flatter races. I didn’t think the course was too flat.” Edwards and Onishi became the 13th and 14th women respectively to ever break the three hour mark at Harrisburg. It was also the first time since 1993 that two women were under the three hour mark in the same race, when Bonnie Barnard-Lopez, 34, Bethesda, MD, did it in 2:53:33, and Laura Nelson, 28, Hagerstown, MD, ran a time of 2:57:43. This year’s race was the second closest women’s finish ever, surpassed only by the 1986 contest between Dianna Miller, 38, Spring Grove, PA, 2:55:55, and Barbara Swan, 39, State College, PA, 2:55:58. Caroll Myers, East Berlin, PA, set the course record for women in 1984 with a time of 2:44:00, at the age of 27.

It was a big day for everyone, New York runners in particular, who were given large rounds of applause in the City Island carousel following the race. Several running clubs, including the Central Park Track Club, were participants on the event’s biggest day in it’s 40-year history. The Harrisburg Area Road Running club as usual, was involved in helping at all phases of the race, which also included many of their members competing in the marathon.

Many repeat Harrisburg Marathon finishers were evident. Park Barner, 68, Harrisburg, PA, and Mike Ranck, 61, Deer Lake, PA, have finished all 40 Harrisburg Marathons. Hap Miller, 69, Carlisle, PA, completed his 38th. Dwight Edris, 66, Leesport, PA, 32nd. Donald Halke II, 53, Newport, PA, finished his 19th and it was also his 100th overall marathon. Dale Jordan, 59, Baldwin, MD, 18th. Alan Sommerville, 64, Halifax, PA, 16th. Paul Hedin Jr, 55, Lewisberry, PA, 15th. Elliot Collins, 60, Raritan, NJ, 14th. Jim Honchar, 48, Dillsburg, PA; Stephen Housenick, 44, Kingston, PA; Richard Parker, 58, Duncansville, PA; and Steve Whittle, 61, Hummelstown, PA, all finished their 12th. Jennifer Cadenhead, 34, Harrisburg, PA, finished her 10th marathon at Harrisburg. Nick Marshall, 64, Camp Hill, finished his 23rd Harrisburg Marathon. Also, Robin Venick, 50, New York, NY, and Lois Broussard, 66, Northborough, MA, finished their 50th overall marathon. Chris Kunkel, 55, Oradell, NJ, completed his 45th overall. Barry Goldmeier, 48, Rockville, MD completed his 5th Harrisburg Marathon while juggling five beanbags the whole way, just as he had in the previous four.

Women’s age-group winners: Tara Allen, 40, Greenwich, CT (First Masters), 3:11:00; Daphne Tsoucas, 19, Mount Kisco, NY, (19 & Under), 3:18:54; Jolene Collins, Annville, PA (20 – 24, 7th woman overall, first overall woman in 2011 with a time of 3:06:22), 3:08:03; Alysia Dusseau, New York, NY (25 – 29, 4th woman overall), 3:07:19; Dana Kolsar, Philadelphia, PA (30 – 34, 6th woman overall), 3:19:09; Alison Wilson, Larchmont, NY (35 – 39, 8th woman overall), 3:09:19; Sinead Fitzgibbon, Sag Harbor, NY (40 – 44), 3:15:57; Riva Johnson, Carlisle, PA (45 – 49), 3:13:08; Cindy Lewandowski, Sartell, MN (50 – 54), 3:24:48; Antoinette Marmora, Jersey City, NJ (55 – 59), 4:03:33; Regina Collins, Williamsport, PA (60- 64), 4:22:29; Ruth Liebowitz, 70, Staten Island, NY (65 & Over), 5:03:24. Liebowitz completed her 8th marathon at Harrisburg, winning her 7th first place age-group award, and is the third woman, 70 years or older, to ever finish at Harrisburg.


Men’s age-group winners: Adam Dunn, 19, New York, NY (19 & Under), 3:25:20; John Wallace, Denver, PA (20 – 24, 5th overall), 2:37:40; Scott Gleason, Walton, NY (25 – 29, 7th overall), 2:41:18; Rick Fesler, Carlisle, PA (30 – 34, 8th overall), 2:41:32; Brian Crispell, Philadelphia, PA (35 – 39, 10th overall), 2:43:50; Patrick O’Rourke, Timonium, MD (40 – 44), 2:45:30; Graham Merfield, Titusville, NJ (45 – 49), 2:52:35; Kevin Shelton-Smith, New York, NY (50 – 54), 2:53:42; Patrick Lynam, New Kensington, PA (55 – 59), 3:05:14; Gregory Grund, Elmira, NY (60 – 64), 3:21:59; Gary Ostwald, 66, Harrisburg, PA (65 & Over), 3:44:21.

First out of the 69 jogger/walker finishers was Vincent Ma, 43, San Jose, CA, in a time of 4:27:41. First among the 92 finishing relay teams was all male SWIFT Racing Orange in a time of 2:30:06. Team SWIFT Racing Orange, consisting of Brian Hagar, Patrick Hagar, Eric Bofinger, and Jason Brown, was only beaten to the finish by marathon winner Michael Fonder. The first female team, Rockin’ the Road, made up of Mindy Smith, Belinda Heltzel, Keri Walton, and Gredda Schreffler, finished in 3:13:43. The 2012 race was brought to a close when walkers Lynn Annis, 58, Emmaus, PA, and John Annis, 57, Emmaus, PA, finished in 8:41:15 and 8:41:16 respectively.

People from seven countries and 29 states participated in the 2012 Harrisburg Marathon. Over the years (1973 – 2012) there have been finishers from every state except Mississippi. A record number of over 43% (683) of this year’s finishers were female. The first 16 years of the Harrisburg Marathon (1973 – 1988) saw 64 woman finish at Harrisburg, or 9% of the total finishers for those years.

The Marathon raised over $55,000 to support the various programs the YMCA provides to the Harrisburg Community. The 41st Annual Harrisburg Marathon will be held on November 10, 2013.