Youth Prevails at Thanksgiving Day 5K

BY NEAL RIEMENSCHNEIDER

STEPHENS CITY, VA--Thanksgiving morning dawned cold and sunny with a light breeze which made for ideal conditions at the 11th Annual Frederick County Parks and Recreation Thanksgiving Day 5K. The race featured a new certified loop course that consisted mostly of off-road running through the park and a start and finish on the Sherando High School (Go Warriors!) track.

A lead pack of mostly under 25-year-old runners sprinted to the front and sailed through the fast first mile (all on pavement) in 5:15. Ryan Foster, a former Sherando HS cross-country runner was very familiar with the next two miles. “I have run a lot of training runs and races in this park so the trails didn’t bother me much.” Foster used this edge to slowly break away from the pack and open up a lead he would carry to the finish line, stopping the clock first with a time of 16:50. “The course was really tough with all the turns, short steep hills, grass, and trails but I felt comfortable the whole race,” explained the 23-year-old Foster. Finishing second was 19-year-old Ryan Witt (17:01) while 18-year-old Bobby Vance (17:12) took third. Finishing as the top Masters was 46-year-old Mark Stickley (17:48) who went out with the leaders but had to settle for fifth place overall.

In the women’s race, first-time participant Brooke Boening was running with past winner Brenda Schrank for the first half-mile or so when she felt Schrank begin to fall off the pace. “I hit the first mile in just over six minutes and just tried to run within myself the next two miles,” stated the 19-year-old Boening. Holding onto a slim lead the rest of the way, Boening hit the tape first in 19:39, just nine ticks ahead of the 36-year-old Schrank (19:48). Tara Franklin grabbed the third spot completing the course with a time of 20:48. Top Masters was 48-year-old Wanda Armel who finished with a time of 24:41.

There were 257 finishers in the race with another few dozen tykes running various kids’ events on the track. The kids’ runs were held while the results were being compiled so there were a lot of adults around the track cheering the kids on. All participants were eligible for numerous random awards including a few gift certificates to local eateries, a night at a local hotel, and a turkey. Ruth was none too happy when I got home and informed her that I did not win any of the random awards. As if I could train harder next time to win one…

Kudos to Jason Brown and his staff at the Parks and Rec for once again putting on a fine event that was well marked and manned. Race proceeds went to the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Winchester and many of their board members were on hand to help with the race. And thanks to an efficient (read: quick) awards ceremony, all finishers were pulling out of the parking lot by 10:15 a.m. and heading to their Thanksgiving Day festivities.

Oh, and for those of you keeping score, my team lost AGAIN in the Annual Riemenschneider Family Turkey Bowl football game held this year in Mechanicsburg, PA. Though my team played tough defense (we only gave up one TD), we could not muster any offense as we went down to defeat AGAIN. At least my streak (of never having won a game) is still intact. Though I must say it gets tougher every year trying to get family members to play on my team…