Record Turnout for Thanksgiving Day Race

BY NEAL RIEMENSCHNEIDER

STEPHENS CITY, VA--Jason Brown, who works for the Frederick County Parks and Recreation and is the race director for their annual Thanksgiving Day race, was thrilled that over 200 runners had pre-registered for the race. What was even more thrilling for him was another 200 plus runners registered on race day making it the first time this event had over 400 finishers.

The 5K course starts and finishes on the track at Sherando High School (Go Warriors!) and is a loop course that is a mix of trails, gravel, pavement, and grass. The course is extremely well marked especially the ¾-of-a-mile section on the trails which is leaf blown and has every root marked with white spray paint. It is a very tough course with 5-6 short, steep hills and numerous tight turns.

Running in his first race in six years, local speedster and recently turned Masters runner
Craig Woshner jumped out to the front less then a ½-mile into the race. Opening up a lead he would carry to the finish, Woshner hit the tape first in 17:25. “I felt pretty good at the one-mile mark but the second mile was slow given the tight turns, rolling terrain, and muddy conditions,” stated the Athletic Director at James Wood High School (Go Colonels!). “I really thought someone behind me would make a move on me with 1200 meters to go because I could hear them behind me but I was able to hold on for the win.” Finishing second was Karsten Brown who, amazingly, stopped as he hit the track to get his camera from a lady holding it for him! Brown finished in 17:36 just 11 seconds back while Matthew Lofton (17:58) took third. Top Masters was Brant Halerman, 47, who finished 16th overall with a time of 19:42.

The women’s race featured some tough competition as teenagers Tammy Chung, Crystal Nelson, and Karly Knechtel sped to the front at the gun and ran extremely hard the first mile. Lurking behind was veteran runner Brenda Schrank who was the first female here in 2007 and finished second inn 2008. Knechtel fell off the pace early while Chung and Nelson ran side by side with Schrank staying a few steps back off the pace. Schrank worked the hills hard in mile two and passed the leaders just past the two-mile mark. “I was running right near the leaders and when we came out of the woods and hit the pavement I passed them and was surprised they did not go with me,” explained the 37-year-old Health Care Consultant for GE. Schrank hit the tape first in 19:34 setting a new course record by five seconds. Chung and Nelson stayed close but finished just four ticks back in 19:38. The top Masters was Vicky Krossman who finished with a time of 22:41.

After the feature race was completed, three kids’ races were held on the school track much to the delight of all the adults present. Runners feasted on bananas and bottled water and ooohed and aahed during the random awards (they give away some great stuff). The event then doled out over 90 awards yet everyone was on the road home by 10:15 a.m. in order to get ready for the big day.

And for those of you wondering, I lost the Annual Turkey Bowl Football Game again this year for the umpteenth time in a row (it hurts to count). Even with home-field advantage, my team took a 49-35 drubbing. What made it even more painful was one of my nieces not in attendance sent me a text from New Jersey just 15 minutes after the game was over asking me how it felt to be a loser again! I think one of her sisters ratted me out…