Clark Defends Title at Philadelphia Bar
BY MANNY POKOTILOW
PHILADELPHIA, PA--It was a dark and stormy night. By 7 a.m. May 17, 2009 the Philadelphia Bar Association 5K Charity Run/Walk benefiting the Support Center for Child Advocates was only an hour and a half away from starting and the rain was still coming down steadily at the site of the 30th Annual Charity Run. But, by 8 a.m. the rain had stopped and 1,049 of the 1,371 registered runners and walkers appeared at the line by the 8:30 a.m. starting time.
As a prelude, Neill Clark was running for an unprecedented 11th consecutive Bar Association title. The Philadelphia Runner, a sponsor of the race, had offered $100 to any lawyer in the Philadelphia Bar Association who could beat Neill. As the race started, he and many others jumped to the front of a very close pack of runners. After 100 yards, Raymond Bordogna of Wynnewood, Pennsylvania ran to the front of the pack, closely followed by Clark, Gary Owens of Swartz, Campbell, Peter Kada of Philadelphia, and Graham Alig of the Princeton office of Duane, Morris. Owens continued to lead at three-eighths of a mile followed by Kada, Alig, Nick Suter of Philadelphia, and Clark. As they continued towards the first half-mile, Clark and Alig made a move to pass Owens. Aligs momentum going from fourth took him to the lead as Clark moved next to Owens who was followed by Kada.
By a half-mile, Alig stayed in the lead as Clark passed Owens. Kada, Owens, and Suter continued to stay close. Alig continued to lead Clark through the first mile and the turnaround of the race at the 1.5-mile mark. Clark stayed on Aligs shoulder, barely a step behind, with Kada falling back along with Owens and Suter. Before the turnaround, Kada had passed Owens for third place.
In the womens race, Judi Cassel led, followed by Julie Deery of Bala Cynwyd, Kristin Mazzeo, Jamie Samanns, last years Bar Association winner, and in fifth place, Mary Tomich, a prior overall female and multiple-time Bar Association winner. As the women went past the one-and-a-half mile mark, they retained the same order with Judi Cassel leading the pack.
At one-and-three-quarter miles into the race, Clark started to pass Alig. Alig reacted by going with Clark and they stayed together until two miles when Clark went into another gear leaving Alig behind, followed by Kada and then Suter. As Clark approached the finish line he had pulled away from Alig, Kada, and Suter, coming strong to the finish line and finishing in a time of 16:59. Alig also finished strong to come in second, followed by Kada and Suter.
Cassel maintained her lead among the women and finished first in a time of 19:20. She was followed by Julie Hankin of West Chester, Pennsylvania who finished in a time of 19:38. Kristin Mazzeo who finished in a time of 20:27, Jamie Samanns who finished in a time of 20:39, and Mary Tomich who finished in 20:46, followed in that order.
There was a very special run done by 9-year-old Sophie Doman of Upper Black Eddy, Pennsylvania who finished first among females 13-and-under in a time of 21:22, 3½ minutes faster than 11-year-old Khanysha Peebles who finished in a time of 24:51. Sophie ran with her dad, Shannon Doman, who finished close behind her.
Neill Clarks win was his 11th consecutive Bar Association competition win. For Kristin Mazzeo, it was a good day finishing first among women in the Bar Association with a time of 20:27. She was followed by Jamie Samanns and Mary Tomich, all of whom finished within 19 seconds of each other.
There were also great runs completed on the other end of the age spectrum by Jerry Gornish, Chief Counsel of the Pennsylvania Public School Employees Retirement Fund, in the 70-74 age group who finished in a time of 23:24, 4½ minutes faster than second place Tom Vernon. In an even older age group, the oldest winner was 90-year-old George Blyn, who was first and only among men, 80 and over.
Another runner, Jeff Kall, had a very special achievement, running the Philadelphia Bar Association Charity Run for the 30th consecutive time. He is the only runner to have completed all 30 runs.
In the legal team competition, the teams of Community Legal and Duane Morris tied for first, Berger & Montague finished third, Flaster Greenberg fourth and Caesar, Rivise, fifth.
In the corporate team competition, USI Affinity finished first and Trauner Consulting Services finished second.
The Philadelphia Bar Association was joined this year by the following sponsors: FirstTrust, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, PC, Wawa, The Legal Intelligencer, Iron Mountain, USI Affinity, Veritext L.L.C., and The Philadelphia Runner. Joining the Run as legal sponsors are the law firms of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld LLP; Anapol, Schwartz, Weiss, Cohan, Feldman & Smalley, P.C.; Archer & Greiner; Caesar, Rivise, Bernstein, Cohen & Pokotilow, Ltd.; Cozen OConnor; DLA Piper; DrinkerBiddle; Fox Rothschild LLP; Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin; Morgan Lewis; Pepper Hamilton LLP; RatnerPrestia; Raynes McCarty; Sandals & Associates, P.C.; Schander Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP; and WolfBlock. In addition to the legal sponsors, the law firms of Barrack, Rodos & Bacine; Berger & Montague, PC; Semanoff, Ormsby, Greenberg & Torchia LLC, and Thorp Reed & Armstrong LLP have contributed to the Run as legal supporters.
The Bar Association worked with Heather McDanel, a member of the race committee and Executive Director of Students Run Philly Style to host more than 350 Philadelphia students. Students Run Philly Style is a mentoring program that uses long-distance running as a way for students and their mentors to build a relationship. Established in 2004, Students Run Philly Style is serving over 500 students this year alone. In addition to three to four times a week of mentored running practices, Students Run Philly Style offers summer internships, leadership development, SAT preparation, and a college-visiting program. The students were a welcome addition to the Run and provided an air of youthfulness that we can all use in these troubled economic times.
The Bar Association charity run committee comprises: chairs Manny Pokotilow, Tom Bell, Eric Marzluf and Michael Berkowitz; and committee members Frank Cervone, Kristyn DiDominick, Marc Tepper, Wendi Platt, Brian Mahone, Heather McDanel, Mary Ann Hearn, Mike McCloskey, Aliza Karetnick, and Maureen Farrell.
Prior to the race, Carlos Bradley and Kayla Seidman helped warm up and loosen up all the runners. Both are with the Aquatic & Fitness Center at Riverside in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. Carlos is a former linebacker for the San Diego Chargers and Philadelphia Eagles. He was also a three-time Mr. Pennsylvania in bodybuilding in the super-heavyweight division.
The Grand Marshall for the event was T. Morgan, of WMGK who is known as the father of classic rock. He presented awards to the winning runners. T. Morgan, in his former life, was known as Tom OHara and was a track star in the Philadelphia area.
The festivities continued after the race as volunteers passed out water, Powerade®, Wawa® iced teas and fruit drinks, fruit, pretzels, and slushies.
All-in-all, the committee and the wonderful people who volunteered on race day did a superb job in making the 30th year a very special event. There were many smiling faces leaving the event as the sky had cleared after a very rainy start.