'Final Run' for Shanksville 10K;
Students Honor RD Dave Mapes

BY GEORGE A. HANCOCK

Shanksville, PA--Mother Nature was most kind on this March 11, 2012 Sunday afternoon. The skies were a perfect clear blue. The sun’s warm rays radiated down upon a two-lane country road. Forty-five runners had gathered here about a half-mile from the Shanksville-Stonycreek school campus. The jovial runners were awaiting the start command from Dave Mapes. These runners were about to run the 32nd and final Shanksville 10K run.

The Shanksville 10K is Somerset County’s oldest road race. The first March Shanksville 10K was held on Sunday March 23, 1980. The actual first Shanksville 10K tour around Lake Stonycreek was held August 4, 1979. The race was designed, promoted, and created by Dave Mapes.

Dave Mapes is the owner-operator of the Mapes Finish Line Service. Dave also is a physical education, health teacher, and coach at the Shanksville School. Dave is retiring at the end of this school year. Dave has taught at Shanksville for 40 years.

For several decades the Shanksville road races were a fund-raising effort by the sophomore class. The funds raised are used for various class projects. These class members assist the race in numerous ways. The sophomores manned the registration tables, helped prepare the food and beverages for the postrace activities, sought donations from local vendors, acted as race course marshals, and helped distribute water to the runners and walkers.

Dave and Tim Mapes handled the timing and finish-line duties. Several class members also helped at the finish line.

The 5K run and walk begins below the school grounds. The 10K starts first, up on the hilltop. Then, about 10 to 15 minutes later the 5K event begins. The 5K is an out-and-back course towards the Shanksville Flight 93 Memorial. Twenty-seven runners and 17 walkers toured this mostly flat road course.

Twenty-eight-year-old Gabriel Foust won the 2012 Shanksville 5K in 17:57. Veteran runner Doug Ulishney was second in 18:52.

Liz Snyder, 18,was the first female 5K finisher in 22:16. Snyder finished third overall in the Sunday afternoon race. Caroline Heckman was the second female finisher in 23:40.

Fifty-nine-year-old Kim Bennett and Rich Santella, 57, finished the 5k walk in 34:34. Sherry Obert, 56, was the first female walk finisher in 35:35.

Former Somerset resident and veteran road racer Chris Sheftic won the 32nd and final Shanksville 10K in 39:10. Sheftic, 50, now resides in Altoona, PA. The 2012 win was Sheftic’s first on this loop 10K course. Meyersdale resident Tom Deakins was second in 39:36.

Tharisa Langerholc, 37, was the first female 10K finisher in 52:42. Tammy Hale placed second in 53:04.

The very first Spring 10K run also had a 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon start. This was a tradition that continued to the 2012 final race. Newspaper articles from March 1980 indicated that the race proceeds were donated to the Shanksville junior champ track and field program.

The apple-pie tradition also began at that first Spring 10K run. The top 24 finishers all received apple pies for their race efforts.

The 2012 Shanksville overall and age-group winners each received a snack apple pie. Various door prizes also were awarded to lucky runners and walkers.

The postrace festivities included hot dogs, snack chips, and various cold beverages in the Shanksville school cafeteria. Numerous Shanksville veteran participants shared race stories from previous years.

The Shanksville sophomore class surprised Dave Mapes with several gifts. Many Shanksville participants thanked Dave for the great 2012 race and his years of dedicated race support.

As the 2012 participants exited the school Mother Nature continued her mild trend. The sun was shining brightly upon the school parking lot. There was not a cloud visible in the blue skies. Mother Nature provided the perfect way to end Somerset County’s oldest road race.