Sun, Cold Temps for 44TH
Aspire Harrisburg Marathon & Relay

By Hap Miller

HARRISBURG, PA--It was great weather for Sunday November 13 and the 44th running of the Harrisburg Marathon & Relay. A little cool early on (27 degrees while I was driving to Harrisburg at 6 a.m.), but very nice after the sun came up. Clear sunny skies with a light breeze during the second half of the race; nice for runners, walkers, and spectators alike.

Third year Race Director Tom Gifford and his huge group of volunteers orchestrated a well run event. Everything from the start to the finish was well organized. The water/aid stations were well supplied and well staffed with enthusiastic helpers. All intersections and street crossings were well maintained and monitored (A big “thank you” to the Harrisburg Police Department and all race volunteers) and the course was well marked; if you got lost it must have been on purpose.

I arrived at the City Island just before the walkers (around 50) were to take off at 06:30 a.m. Long-time HBM stalwarts, Walt Greene and Jim Collins were getting walkers lined up for their casual start in the dark, Said good luck to Park Barner, Karl Robinson, and Steve Whittle. Passed Park,72, Harrisburg, on his way back from Fort Hunter (little past Mile 18), where he shouted at me to just “take it a mile at a time.” Park finished his 44th HBM, wearing his traditional red (shorts, singlet, socks). Karl’s wife Amy and daughter Debbie were there to see him off. Karl, 74, Carlisle, finished his 11th HBM, with his daughter Chrissie by his side the whole way. Steve, 65, Hummelstown, PA, whose wife Debbie was there to see him start, finished his 16th HBM in a row.

The gun (horn) went off at 08:00 a.m. for the runners, with temps edging just above the freezing mark. Ran and talked with Mike Ranck during most of the first mile. Mike, 65, Orwigsburg, PA, who finished the NYC Marathon the week before, had no problem finishing his 44th HBM. He and Park are the only two to accomplish this amazing feat. After finishing Mike was standing with Nick Marshall (Nick had to defer this year due to nagging injuries; he has finished 25 HBMs) at the Walnut Street Bridge just as Park went by, on his way to the finish. Nick said to Mike “you will be alone as the number-one HBM all-time finisher for about another 15 minutes”.

First time Harrisburg Marathon runner Greg Johnson, 25, Dillsburg, PA, beat 781 other competitors to a festive finish on Second Street in the downtown district, with a time of 2:36:20. Jack Kamen, 33, Howell, NJ, who ran a 3:15 at Harrisburg in 2012, finished in 2:38:05. Finishing third was Thomas Lipsie, 49, Indiana, PA, 2:40:43. Lipsie, who won the race in 2010, has finished in the top ten in all nine of his HBMs.



Winning the women’s race was Christa Lawson, 30, Quakertown, PA, 3:04:51. Lawson who was 19th overall, was also a first-time winner at Harrisburg. Second place went to Cheryl Collins-Gatons, 50, Greensburg, PA. Collins-Gatons set the all-time record for the 50–54 age group with her time of 3:09:28 beating the old mark set in 1990 by 1:20. Finishing third for the women was Kaila Proulx, 21, Buffalo, NY, 3:12:25.

Course records are held by Rick Blood, Summerdale, PA, who set the record of 2:21:38 in 1981 at the age of 23 and Caroll Myers, East Berlin, PA, setting the course record for women in 1984 with a time of 2:44:00 at the age of 27. Rick was on hand to cheer and help at an aid station midway along the course.

Masters winner for the women was Becky Wittrig, 48, Port Matilda, PA, 3:18:49. Wittrig, running for the fourth time at Harrisburg, ran a HBM PR, beating her time from 2011 when she won the 40–44 age group by 15 minutes. Second female Masters was Marci Benda, 45, Parkton, MD, 3:23:18. Third female Masters was Cathy Butler, 45, York, PA, 3:25:47.

Masters winner for the men was James Hommes, 45, Pittsburgh, PA, 2:43:29 (4th overall). Second male Masters was Ryan Paul, 42, Mechanicsburg, PA, 2:53:55 (8th overall). Third male Masters was Christopher Zelonis, 40, Saint Clair, PA, 3:00:16.



Women’s age group winners: Tori Fulkroad, Millersburg, PA (20 – 24, 4th woman overall), 3:13:06; Mary Dell, Hummelstown, PA (25 – 29, 8th woman overall), 3:18:25; Joanne Phillips, Gettysburg, PA (30 – 34, 5th woman overall), 3:13:01; Katie Thompson, Chambersburg, PA (35 – 39, 7th woman overall), 3;16:53; Jo Rupp, Pittsburgh, PA (40 – 44), 3:28:28; Michaele Rayburn, York, PA (45 – 49), 3:27:39; Judy Roche, Abbottstown, PA (50 – 54), 3:49:28; Mariann Tullius, Wexford, PA (55 – 59), 3:26:45; Rebecca Cover, Harrisburg, PA (60 – 64), 4:00:04; Mary Lou Harris, Camp Hill, PA (65 – 69), 3:34:42; Joy Hampton, 70, Clarksboro, NJ (70 & Over), 4:18:24. New record in the female 55 – 59 age group set by Tullius, 57, 3:26:45 (beat old record set in 1989 by more than 27 minutes!). The new 70 & Over age group was started in a big way with Hampton running an eye popping 4:18:24. Hampton is only the 9th finisher for females 70 & Over ever (two this year) and the only one under five hours (way under). There were no finishers for the women in the 19 & Under age group.

Men’s age group winners: Noah Bowser,19, West Point, NY (19 & Under), 3:10:35; James Weaver, Denver, PA (20 – 24, 10th overall), 2:57:27; Brian Petraco, Harrisburg, PA (25 – 29, 6th overall), 2:47:35; Ronald Joseph (30 – 34, 5th overall), 2:44:43; Eric Feree, Seven Valleys, PA (35 – 39), 2:58:11; Brian Wilantowicz, Hartsdale, NY (40 – 44), 3:10:22; Bill Dann, Chambersburg ( 45 – 49), 3:06:20; Jim Cadden, Abington Twp, PA (50 – 54), 3:02:08; James Gehenio, Camp Hill, PA (55 – 59), 3:25:43; Donald Mengel, Hamburg, PA (60 – 64), 3:25:33; Neil Policelli, Bangor, PA (65 – 69), 3:38:40; Dwight Edris, 70, Leesport, PA (70 & Over), 3:56:39.

In the relay portion of the race there were 87 four-person teams finishing the marathon. The legs in order were approximately 8, 5, 8, and 5 mile distances. Relay competition was started in 1997 (none in 2006 & 2007) with 1,081 teams completing the marathon over the years. The all-male team winner of Hasten Your Pace (HYP) waged a hard fought battle with the mixed-team winner Super Runners (SR). After being down about 10 minutes after the second leg SR roared back with a blazing third leg (eight miles at a 5:45 pace) to take a four minute lead. Not to be denied, HYP had a very strong anchor leg to edge SR by three seconds, 2:56:17 to 2:56:20. Only nine marathon runners finished ahead of both teams. The team members, in leg order, are: HYP: Adam Drake, 37, Will Gordon, 37, William Fraley, 30, and Mark Wieder, 31. SR: Teal Liu, 31, Peter Walsh, 34, Alex Pearson, 31, and Fernanda Amarante, 31.

Special congrats to the first place female Masters team of Time Chasers (TC), made up of Jill Lazar, 47, Julie Shelly, 54, Christen Snyder, 52, and Sue Wright, 57, with a time of 3:26:42. TC, 11th team overall and first female team, won their age-group category for the fourth year in a row (the team name in 2013 & 2014 was Sneaker Beaters) and also won in 2010 (minus Julie). In all five of their winning years their finishing times were in the 3:25:50 to 3:28:32 range. Like a well oiled machine, very consistent!


KAREN MITCHELL PHOTO and their great team of Pacers were on hand for the fifth year to help runners achieve their marathon goals. The pace groups, for those with goals from anywhere from three to five hours plus, were broken into increments of fifteen minutes with a sign carrying head Pacer leading each group.

In addition to Barner & Ranck (sounds like a good name for a law firm) the following have finished a few HBMs: Hap Miller, 73, Carlisle, PA, finished Number 42. Dwight Edris, 70, Leesport, PA, #36. Don Halke, 58, Newport, PA, #23. Dale Jordan, 63, Baldwin, MD, #22. Elliot Collins, 64, Raritan, NJ, #17. Steve Whittle, 65, Hummelstown, PA, #16, (16 in a row). Marge Lebo, 55, New Cumberland, PA, #16, (Only woman to run more HBMs than Marge is Caroll Myers with 22).

Barry Goldmeier, 52, Rockville, MD, juggled his way to his 8th HBM finish, just like the first seven. Julie Seo, 40, finished in 782nd place (last) with a time of 7:34:08, unlike most finishers in the top 50 or so, she was smiling.

If you still thirst for more numbers, the overall, age group, walker, and team results are at

In 2017 the 45th Annual Harrisburg Marathon is on November 12.

Marathon web site:

Pictures are at:

Note: all times used in this article are gun times.