Reccek Captures South Mountain Run

BY BRIAN J. SCHAFER

BETHLEHEM, PA--There's an old saying in sports about the winner bringing home the bacon. Well, Sunday morning, November 7, at the 23rd annual South Mountain 10-Mile Run, Kristie Reccek brought home a little more than just bacon. By besting the women's field, she won a Thanksgiving turkey! She also asserted herself as one of the top road racers in the Lehigh Valley.

But winning is nothing new for the 22 year old from Hellertown. Since stepping off the track in May as a Division III All-American at Moravian College, Reccek has racked up several road-race victories. She dominated the field at the Moore Township 10K and then led a team of Moravian runners to a title at the Miles for Matt Relay in June. This fall has seen Reccek garner two more big wins as she finished first at the JCC 5-Mile Run in Allentown, and then led some 1000-plus runners in the Women's 5K Classic on the Allentown Parkway two weeks later.

Reccek established an early lead on Sandy Reedy, who won this race in 1997 with a time of 1:06:08. Running the 2.5-mile climb over South Mountain is familiar to Reccek, who trains on the hill in preparation for races with hilly courses. This may prove to be a very wise idea considering her next race was the Berwick Run for the Diamonds 9-Mile Run on Thanksgiving Day. The Berwick course has a difficult hill from two to four miles but, after South Mountain, she should be quite confident in her hill-running abilities.

"I do some hills in training and can do pretty well on the uphills. The downhills can hurt, too," said Reccek, who is a part-time employee at Aardvark Sports Shop and races for their team.

As the course wound back into Saucon Park, she was still reeling in some of the men's competitors. She broke the tape in 1:04:53, which put her seventh overall in the field of 125.

"I was just glad to get under seventy minutes," commented Reccek. "I've never raced at this distance before and I wasn't sure where I'd finish among the other runners. I ran the second half faster so hopefully I'll do okay at Berwick."

While she has made the sometimes difficult transition from shorter distances (3000 meters) on the track to longer races on the roads, Reccek has no plans for stepping up to the marathon just yet. "Ten miles was enough. I like five milers. They're over quicker."

In comparison, for second place finisher Sandy Reedy of Reading, everything is geared for the marathon distance. She has qualified for the 2000 Women's Olympic Trials and has been putting in high mileage weeks getting ready for the Philadelphia Marathon.

"I was using this race to get in some mileage and a good hill workout. I didn't exactly race it. I've done several 20 milers and feel pretty good heading into my marathon in two weeks," said Reedy who won the Bethlehem Christmas City 5-Mile Run back in July. Reedy's time for ten miles was 1:07:01.

With two-time defending champion Jamie Hibell sitting this one out due to an upcoming marathon, the men's field definitely lacked a clear favorite. The absence of other top Lehigh Valley runners opened the door for Jeff Barker of Boyertown. He led the way with a time of 55:17, with Scott Karawacki of Bethlehem in second place in 57:30.

Barker was unaware of the course's toughness but did not let that bother him.

"I wasn't sure how bad the hill would be. After the turnaround, I started opening up my stride and got away from the others," said the 22 year old who is running the steeplechase and 5000-meter events for Edinboro's track team.

Bill Plough was fifth overall and first in the Masters field with a time of 1:03:37. Jane Serues of Springtown took the women's Masters title with a 1:16:22 clocking.

In addition to the ten-mile run, there was also a 5K race which drew 95 finishers. Troy Rutter placed first in a time of 17:50 and Anne Nash won the women's division with her time of 19:17.