A Look at History Gives Glimpse
BY GEORGE A. HANCOCK
WINDBER, PA--History is a fascinating subject. History is the knowledge branch that deals with past events. Historians study the people, the places, and the events that shaped our culture. There's an old adage that states those who never learned history's lessons are then doomed to repeat history's mistakes.
The 23rd Annual J. Irving and John Whalley Memorial 5-Mile Run was held Saturday July 6, 2002. July 6 was a clear, bright day. The starting line temperature was 61 degrees.
One hundred thirty-four runners completed the 5-mile run. Fifty-three walkers finished the 2-mile walk. And over 50 children competed in the four different age group lollipop races. Windber Cub Scout Pack 161 made this year's Whalley Run one of their Summertime activities. The Cub Scouts could choose the 5-mile run, the 2-mile walk, or compete in the lollipop races.
Dave and Tim Mapes again provided the Whalley competitors superb finish-line support. The Mapes brothers continued their streak of accurate finish line places and times. Runners and walkers routinely gather near the Mapes' vehicles for the latest road-race news and race-entry forms.
Craig Baer, 43, from Fort Hill, PA, won the Whalley 2-mile Walk in 17:03. Baer led the Walk from the starting gun. Baer won by a 1½-minute margin.
A.J. Harbaugh, 49-years old, from Berlin, PA, placed second in 19:05.
Diane Rugh was the first female Walk finisher. Rugh, 51, from Johnstown, PA, completed the course in 20:27. Rugh also finished 3rd overall in the 2-mile Walk.
The 2-Mile and 5-Mile courses are athlete friendly. Both events are along the house-lined streets of Windber and Paint Boroughs. The road athlete is never more then several yards from immediate assistance. The Whalley competitors also pass two different fire stations. The local fire police provide outstanding traffic protection.
The Whalley course has several well-manned water stops. Many Windber residents man additional water stops. Numerous other Windber residents offer the Whalley competitors moral and psychological support. Many Windber residents gather at various locations and cheer the road athletes toward the finish line.
Stephen Gonzalez, 17, won the 2002 23rd Whalley Memorial 5-Mile Run. Gonzalez finished the course in 26:15. Gonzalez's winning effort tied the course record set by Steve Molnar in 1992.
The Whalley 5-Mile road course was reconfigured in 1990. The original course began and finished in Windber Rec Park. The old course featured a blazing run down 9th Street and a brutal climb back into the park via 4th Street.
Marty Nagy ran an astounding 25:24, in 1984, setting the all-time Whalley 5-Mile course record. Nagy's record setting time was completed on a tougher, more physically demanding road course.
Veteran runner Steve Molnar set the current course record in 1992. Molnar won the race in 26:15.
Gonzalez clearly was capable of breaking Molnar's course time. Gonzales' swift pace easily carried him to the Community Center finish line. Gonzalez stated after the race that he was not 100% certain of the course record. Gonzalez believed he could have run faster. He just did not know the exact course record time.
History, even road race history, is a fascinating subject. However, we often are oblivious to some historical deeds. Sometimes things just slip by.
The History Muse smiled on the Whalley Memorial Race organizers. The top three male runners ran faster times than all the previous Whalley winners dating back to Jamie Dick's 1994, 26:56, winning time.
Ryan Gleason, 20 years old, from Johnstown, finished 2nd in 26:22. Gleason won the Whalley Race in 2000 and in 2001.
Johnstown runner, Dave Mock, 16, placed 3rd in 26:53. Thirty-eight seconds separated these fleet road athletes.
Gonzalez, Gleason, and Mock currently own Windber's road course. Gonzalez and Mock are students at Westmont High School. Gleason is a Westmont graduate and current standout runner at Susquehanna University.
Ryan Gleason ran 30:33 finishing in 10th place in 1999. Dave Mock was 19th in 32:39. Steve Gonzalez finished 26th in 33:50.
Gleason won the 2000 race in 28:08. Stephen Gonzalez was 4th in 28:41. Dave Mock was right behind in 5th place in 29:03.
Gleason finished first in the 2001 race in 27:02. Gonzalez was 2nd in 27:10. Dave Mock place 3rd in 27:32. Then came the remarkable 2002 Whalley Run. Just shuffle these three runners and observe the natural running talent.
Windber native Connor Mulcahy, 19, placed 4th in 29:33. Mulcahy, a strong, talented Windber High School graduate finished nearly three minutes behind the fleet Westmont runners.
Leona Nastase, 17, was the first female finisher in 32:45. Nastase, a Beaverdale, PA, resident is a top runner for the Forest Hills Rangers. Nastase placed 12th overall in the Whalley Run.
Paula Bridges, 36, from Cumberland, MD, was the 2nd female finisher in 35:55. Bridges placed 3:10 behind Nastase. Bridges was 36th overall in the race.
Michelle Wissinger, 30, was 3rd in 37:16. Wissinger was 47th overall in the Whalley 5-Mile Run.
The Whalley 5-Mile Run has numerous Special Awards. Joe Zankey was the first male Windber School District resident finisher in 34:21. Jennifer Podrasky was the first female Windber School District resident finisher in 41:44. Connor Mulcahy was the male Windber Alumnus winner in 29:33. Samantha Kormanik's 37:34 earned her the female Windber Alumnus award.
A problem occurred with the Weight Class participant (200+) award. Rob Krentz, 40, was awarded the Weight Class trophy for his outstanding 39:52, 71st place, effort. However, upon further review, Henry Klinar, 47, actually won this award with his 38:13, 47th place, finish. Sorry Henry! Krentz and Klinar were both standout Richland Township High School athletes.
The Whalley Race Committee was pleased with the race-day festivities. An enthusiastic crowd gathered in the Windber Community Building for a lavish food and beverage spread. The Whalley competitors enjoyed a terrific mid-morning brunch.
The race monies benefit various programs sponsored by the Windber Community Building. The 24th Whalley Memorial Run is tentatively scheduled for Saturday July 5, 2003.
23rd ANNUAL WHALLEY MEMORIAL 5-MILE RUN
OVERALL TOP MALE
OVERALL TOP FEMALE
MALE 15 & UNDER
MALE 16 to 19
MALE 20 TO 24
MALE 25 TO 29
MALE 30 to 34
MALE 35 TO 39
MALE 40 TO 44
MALE 45 TO 49
MALE 50 to 54
MALE 55 TO 59
MALE 60 & UNDER
FEMALE 19& UNDER
FEMALE 20 TO 29
FEMALE 30 TO 34
FEMALE 35 TO 39
FEMALE 40 to 49
FEMALE 50 TO 59
First Male Windber School District Resident
First Female Windber School District Resident
First Male Windber Alumnus
First Female Windber Alumnus
First Weight Class Participant - 200 +
134 runners completed the 5-mile course