Surprised New Yorker Wins Harrisburg Marathon

George Shorter

HARRISBURG, PA-- Trailing the lead runner by at least a half mile through 20 miles, at the Harrisburg Marathon held November 8, George Shurter, 44, from Middletown, NY, said that he didn't know he was the overall winner until he crossed the finish line. That's because, up ahead there were a couple of relay runners and the 1997 winner, Mike Bressi, who was setting a hot pace through 20 miles. Shurter's winning time was 2:46:03, about six-and-a-half minutes ahead of Kevin Pazaski, 36, from Issaquah, WA, who finished second with 2:52:34. Larry Waite, 35, from Kerhonkson, NY, finished a close third among 265 finishers in 2:53:16.

Shurter's winning time was eleven minutes slower than Bressi's winning time of 2:35:04. Shurter eventually passed Bressi in the 23rd mile, and continued to follow the two relay runners, who were still ahead, to the finish line. Bressi, 44, from Palmyra, was forced to slow down over the last six miles because of leg cramps, but still managed to finish with an impressive 2:57:59, seventh overall.

Unlike the men's race, Pennsylvania women took the top three places. Mimi Newcomer, 40, from Lancaster, led all the women and finished 19th overall in 3:07:36, followed by Melissa Pearce, 23, from Scranton with 3:12:25. Third place went to the 1997 female winner, Caroll Myers, 42, from East Berlin, with a time of 3:19:18. Myers has won the women's division ten times.

The four-person relay event, which was initiated in 1997, continued to grow in numbers, as this year's event had 14 teams compared to 11 in 1997. This year, the relay runners were identified with red numbers on the front and relay signs pinned on the back. John Hargreaves, from Harrisburg, ran the anchor leg for the winning men's team, SCRAM, and reached the finish line in 2:43:29, nearly two minutes ahead of Calvin Williams, of New Cumberland, who anchored the second place men's team from WTPA Rock Radio, and finished with 2:45:11. Lisa Stokes, from Mechanicsburg, led the first mixed team across the finish line in 3:04:05, and Melissa Stokes led the first women's team to the finish line in 3:47:07.

1998 Harrisburg Marathon
For the second year in a row, the weather was unseasonably mild, reaching a high of 51 degrees by noon. The Harrisburg Marathon, organized by the Harrisburg Area Road Runners Club (HARRC), has been a favorite event of many area runners since it first started in 1973. There were 352 registered this year compared to 318 in 1997. Although competition from other marathons has increased since then, the Harrisburg Marathon continues to draw an average of 300 to 400 participants, with the majority from Pennsylvania and close to 20% from other states such as New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and Maryland. Second-place finisher this year was Kevin Pazaski, who traveled from Issaquah, WA.

The year's winner, George Shurter of New York, commented after the race, that he was looking for a "nice smaller marathon." Over the years, the Harrisburg Marathon has been known as a well organized, smaller marathon with a mostly flat and scenic USATF-certified course, all of which are conducive to running personal bests and qualifying for the Boston Marathon. This year there were 42 first-time marathoners finishing the marathon. Based on data provided by most of the runners, at least 50 finishers ran their personal bests in this year's marathon. Perhaps more important, several of these runners qualified for the Boston Marathon at the same time. In addition to plaques for open and age group winners, all runners received a finisher's medal and certificate.

HEALTHSOUTH Rehab Center of Mechanicsburg continued as a major sponsor for the third year in a row. This year, ALLTEL, formerly 360 Communications, was a co-sponsor and donated cellular phones for communications along the course in addition to their financial support. Other sponsors and major contributors included PinnacleHealth System, Ambassador Home Improvements, Chesapeake Bagel Bakery, Cloister Spring Water Co., Mrs. T's Pierogies. The River 97.3 Radio, The Inside Track store, Nantucket Allserve, Applebee's and Eat 'n Park Restaurants, Quaker Oats Beverages for Gatorade, Giant Foods, and the Harrisburg Area YMCA.

Photo Credits - Karen Mitchell, Clay Shaw



1. SCRAM (M) 2:43:29
2. WTPA Rock (M) 2:45:11
3. Dream Team 50 (M) 2:46:40
4. Wall of Death (M) 2:57:31
5. S.A.F.E. (M) 3:01:45
6. Team Stokes 2 (MXD) 3:04:05
7. Chocolate Chasers (MXD) 3:05:03
8. Wildcat Wrestling (M) 3:22:37
9. YMCA (M) 3:23:09
10. 128 Hair Salon (MXD) 3:25:09
11. 520 Plus 1 (MXD) 3:25:36
12. Team Stokes 2 (F) 3:47:07



1. George Shurter 2:46:03
2. Kevin Pazaski 2:52:34
3. Larry Waite 2:53:16
4. Mark Sullivan 2:54:55
5. Doug Schenberg 2:56:28
6. Farley Spector 2:57:33
7. Michael Bressi 2:57:59
8. Christian Potier 2:58:20
9. John Havrilla 2:58:39
10. Jay Prensky 2:58:56
11. Brian Schafer 3:00:57
12. Elliott Lehman 3:03:09
13. Bill Bosmann 3:03:43
14. Richard Repasky 3:04:29
15. Marlin Yoder 3:05:30
16. Richard Boas 3:06:25
17. Jim Becker 3:07:07
18. Steve Dosch 3:07:26
19. Scott Curtin 3:07:53
20. Mike Lawson 3:08:10.



1. Mimi Newcomer 3:07:36
2. Melissa Pearce 3:12:25
3. Caroll Myers 3:19:18
4. Mary Larocco 3:25:34
5. Debbie Simoncek 3:30:02
6. Jackie Kingora 3:31:43
7. Lori Choynowski 3:32:52
8. Pamela Musselman 3:35:22
9. Jody Roberts 3:35:59
10. Shawna Brent 3:38:12
11. Kelly Miller 3:39:10
12. Cheryl Silfee-Stokes 3:42:05
13. Katrin Starke 3:43:13
14. Gail Thomson 3:43:32
15. Karen Shiley 3:45:15
16. Tricia Hoff 3:55:58
17. Janine Gottlieb 3:55:59
18. Kim Rio 3:56:09
19. MaryAnn Kennedy 3:56:34
20. Jennifer Ray 4:04:08