RAY KITCHEN, 2ND 50-59 IN 20:31, AT
THE MEMORIAL 5K.
NEAL RIEMENSCHNEIDER PHOTO
Spence Victorious at Shippensburg

BY NEAL RIEMENSCHNEIDER

SHIPPENSBURG, PA--On February 5, 73 participants took part in the Memorial 5K Run held at Shippensburg University. It was a cold, sunny, windy morning with clear roads to run on.

Steve Spence, who...well...if I have to explain all of his exploits, you weren't paying attention to the world-class running scene back in the mid-'90s, or you are just too young. If you don't know anything about Spence, ask your favorite runner and they will tell you. Suffice it to say that at his prime he was the number one American marathoner.

But more important, Steve is just a really nice guy (as evidenced by his graciously posing with a prestigious editor for her Christmas card picture) and is hopelessly modest. He won the race in 15:23 and as I was interviewing him someone asked if that was a good time for him. Steve kind of hemmed and hawed and finally simply said, "Well, I have broken 14 minutes for 5K." GULP. You could almost hear their jaws hitting the floor. I knew if I went into his marathon exploits he would be hopelessly embarrassed so I moved on to the tough questions such as, "Did you still remember how to pin on a number?" Hey, I'm known for hard-hitting journalism.

As for this race, it was only his second event in 2 1/2 years. "I was just here for fun to get in a run. I didn't start my watch so I really didn't know my splits. I was surprised when the clock read 15:23 at the finish as I was figuring I could get as low as 15:40." Steve still coaches track and cross-country at Shippensburg University and, as he was leaving, he had his hands full with three kids who seemed to enjoy playing in the snow more than watching the race.

In the women's race, Bible Baptist High School senior Elizabeth Colechio didn't take the lead until halfway but once she got out front she stayed there till the finish. "The cold really bothered me as my chest was pretty tight in the beginning," explained the Shiremanstown, PA resident. "I ran faster last year but it was really windy this year." Ironically, Colechio will be attending Shippensburg U in the fall as an English and Philosophy major and will run for...Steve Spence. Colechio kiddingly added, "I owe it all to my Mom," when I explained to her that I was a feature writer for a major news publication.

Top Masters in the race were longtime veteran racers Carolyn Showalter (who finished as second female) in 21:30 and this author. Veteran--a nice way to say we are old and slow. And I must thank Chamersburg High School math teacher and top Masters runner Tim Cook for coming to the race just to watch me run (actually he was there to watch his son). Otherwise, I would have watched him pull further away during the race.

Ray Kitchen, second in the 50-59 age group in 20:31, remarked how he enjoys reading my articles in Runner's Gazette to see me rag on Ruth. Well, now I know that at least five people read my articles. Alas, Ruth was home recovering from minor foot surgery; so sorry about that Ray.

Finally, Ray also mentioned that he only comes to this race because the $12 entry fee gets you brunch at the school's dining hall. Now if you opt to skip the meal, the registration is only $8. That means it only costs you four bucks to eat. And you can do some serious chowing down what with three separate kitchens, huge dessert and bread bars, and make-your-own waffles. This is a much better deal than the 20-30 bucks one plops down for a mega-race where you wait in line forever for one plate of vittles.

MALE

Overall

1. Steve Spence 15:23

Masters

1. Neal Riemenschneider 18:16

Under 21

1. Dan Knepper 17:08
2. Brian Cook 17:57

21-29

1. Kevin Geesaman 16:14
2. Kurt Dunkel 20:23

30-34

1. Chris Monheim 17:00
2. Daniel Hockman 26:26

35-39

1. Doug Crist 16:47
2. Troy Werdebaugh 18:40

40-44

1. Bob Walker 18:47
2. Michael Fitzgerald 18:54

45-49

1. David Timmons 23:08
2. Darrell Keefer 25:42

50-59

1. Ron Slozat 20:00
2. Ray Kitchen 20:31

60 and Over

1. Leon Bierbower 22:39

Walk

1. Ron Shields 29:31

Masters

1. Larry Freeman 35:52

FEMALE

Overall

1. Elizabeth Colechio 20:56

Masters

1. Carolyn Showalter 21:30

Under 21

1. Shannah Troncone 21:52

21-29

1. Tammy Jo Allen 21:46
2. Beth Muehl 22:20

30-39

1. Bev Gallagher 23:12
2. Margie Lebo 24:57

40-49

1. Karen Keefer 22:34
2. Margaret Horioka 23:49

50 and Over

1. Marlys Palmer 22:58

Walk

1. Marsha Hartz 37:11

Masters

1. Merrilynn Kessler 39:44