Cooler Weather Boosts Turnout at 21st
BY GEORGE A. HANCOCK
WINDBER, PA--Something was missing from the Saturday, July 1, 2000 21st annual J. Irving and John Whalley Memorial 5-Mile Run. The hazy, hot, humid weather usually associated with Windber's rolling 5-mile jaunt was noticeably absent from Windber's landscape. Some runners wanted a search party formed, but the majority of Windber's race field simply enjoyed the change.
The Whalley race competitors had outstanding weather for this popular road-racing event. The runners gathered, on the Graham Avenue starting line, beneath clear, cool, bright, sunny skies. The starting line temperature was 65 degrees. The main problem many runners encountered was running into the bright sun.
Late May and June 2000 were quite warm and humid. Running, even early morning running, became a sweaty chore. Many runners entered the Windber race dreading Windber's humid reputation. However, the Whalley field never realized how cool July would remain. July 2000 became Greater Johnstown's coolest Summer month ever in recorded history. The Whalley Race helped usher in some delicious running weather.
One hundred fifty-one runners completed the rolling Windber 5-mile course. Forty-five walkers finished the 2-mile walk event. About 35 children completed the various age-group lollipop runs. Sadly, the 2-mile walk attracted fewer competitors than previous years. The 5-mile run, however, had a larger-than-normal race field.
Ryan Gleason won the July 1 Windber 5-mile race in 28:08. The 18-year-old Johnstown resident ran a strong, controlled race. Gleason, an outstanding runner for Bishop McCort High School, possesses great road pacing ability.
Meyersdale, PA, resident Tom Deakins, 31, finished second in 28:27. Gleason, with his youthful speed, simply outlegged Deakins to the finish line.
Brian Neuhoff placed third in 28:38. Neuhoff, 34, from Jenners, PA, finished 11 seconds behind Deakins.
Stephen Gonzalez, 15, from Westmont High School, was fourth in 28:41. Another outstanding Westmont runner, Dave Mock, placed fifth in 29:03. Mock, 14, also runs for the Westmont cross-country team.
Course record holder and veteran 51-year-old Johnstown, PA, runner, Steve Molnar, finished sixth in 29:20.
Ageless runner Tom Fetterman, from Penn Run, PA, placed 19th in 32:59. The 58-year-old runner consistently runs strong local races.
Tracey Molnar was the first woman's finisher in 33:17. Molnar, a St. Francis College runner, placed 21st overall. Molnar, 19, resides in the Adams Township section of Cambria County. Tracey is Steve Molnar's niece.
Molnar literally ran away from the women's field. She finished nearly three minutes ahead of second place runner Leanna Nastase. Nastase, 15, finished the race in 36:17.
Jamie Weyandt, 22, placed third in 36:29. Weyandt, a Forest Hills High School graduate, resides in Dunlo, PA.
Alvin Harbaugh, 47, was second in 16:58.
The first woman's walk finisher was Diane Rugh in 20:27. The 49-year-old walker finished fourth overall.
Again, the Windber Community Recreation Staff offered a splendid food and beverage postrace spread. Assorted fruits, pizza, sandwiches, cookies, chips, and assorted cold beverages lined several tables in the Community Center gym. Trophies were awarded in many age groups. Even the lollipop runners received trophies for their running endeavors.
Dave Mapes Timing Service did another outstanding job coordinating all the finish-line details.
Gail Ankney, Director of Windber's Recreation Commission, believes the beautiful weather contributed to the large runner turnout. Ankney stated that Windber's small-town spirit and enthusiastic supporters generate an enjoyable race-day atmosphere.
Windber recently moved its annual 5-mile event to July's first Saturday. The relocation has not affected race-day attendance or support. Many runners prefer this new race date.
The 22nd annual Windber 5-Mile Run is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, July 7, 2001. Mark your calendars now for an outstanding race and community event!