SBY (Salisbury Marathon) Does it Right! Hesselbirg and Patterson Win

by Clay Shaw

Salisbury, MD, April 3, 2021—Not too many “live” events have happened in Maryland since the pandemic, although we did cover the Bel Air 5K last August and the JFK 50 in November. SBY had a marathon, half marathon, and a 5K – all in-person events.

Salisbury had a drive through packet pick-up and coded wave starts at 7:00 and 7:15 AM for the marathoners. There was bottled water and Gatorade, along with Clif Bars and gels on tables. There were plentiful trash cans near each aid station. (A note of shame to fellow runners for way too much littering, in my opinion.) 328 total runners finished the marathon.

Connor Hesselbirg of Kings Park, NY won in 2:32:26, by nearly a 12-minute margin. Hesselbirg returned to Salisbury, where he was a standout XC runner for Salisbury University. Kyle Hall of Washington, DC was second in 2:44:13. Keith Gruchacz of Greensboro, NC was third in 2:44:27. Cillian Lynch of Washington, DC was 6th overall and top master in 2:47:58. One of Maryland’s best road-racers in history, Doug Mock of Ellicott City, MD, finished 9th in 2:49:01. Doug is 54, and another Salisbury University alumni. A shout out to York (PA) runners, Benjamin Abeles of Felton, PA (15th in 2:55:39) and Josh Jamison of York, PA (18th in 2:56:28), for going under the three-hour mark. 

Natalie Patterson of Fredericksburg, VA was the women’s champion in 2:51:47, with an exact 9-minute win. Sadie Smith of Kirkwood, MO was second overall and top master in 3:00:47. Smith is 50SUB4 runner #136. Amanda Denning of Washington, DC was third in 3:06:47. On the short out ‘n back section, we were able to see Jamison, and get photos of Smith and Denning.  Oh yeah, we “ran” SBY too – very socially distanced. Shout out to Flying Feet teammate, Kelsey Toth of Lewisberry, PA, who was 16th in 3:33:02 and in the top 20.

Pandemic travels have kept us closer to home and we really have explored places “close by” that formerly we either drove by or had never been to. Our list has been: Punxsutawney, PA; Tyrone, PA (cycling on Lower Trail); Bethlehem, PA; New River Gorge, WV (now a National Park); Annapolis, MD; Havre de Grace, MD; Dover, DE; Cambridge, MD and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Museum; Leesburg, VA; and Covington, VA to ride the Jackson River Trail (upcoming marathon there June 5). So after seeing notes on the Facebook group “Finding Marathons that Won’t be Cancelled,” I decided Salisbury would give me the chance to get in a 2021 marathon, with its flat course and liberal time limit. Karen Mitchell and I made the time limit, in 6:36:53 (she could have run faster, but stayed with me). It was marathon #206 for me and my 42nd straight year with a marathon finish. Karen Mitchell ran marathon #123, and was the only 70-year-old or older woman in the marathon. Mike Ball of Wellsville, who has been at state #48 for bit, did his 87th marathon. Mike needs Alaska and Hawaii, and he might get Alaska during 2021. Awesome spending time with Mike.

A very competitive half marathon started after the marathoners were gone, with 382 finishers. Tyler Muse of Bel Air, MD won the men’s division in 1:08:35. Austin McGinley of Arlington, VA was second in 1:08:56. Lukasz Olenginski of Washington, DC was third in 1:09:52. Hannah Cocchiaro of Baltimore was the women’s champ in 1:15:08. Nina Zarina of Arlington, VA was second in 1:15:36. Heather Cleary of Morgantown, WV was third in 1:19:41. Another 121 finished the 5K. 

Great job by race director Jason Chance and staff in these trying times.

Top Women

  1. 2:51:47 Natalie Patterson, 28, Fredericksburg, VA
  2. 3:00:47 Sadie Smith, 42, Kirkwood, MO
  3. 3:06:47 Amanda Denning, 37, Washington, DC
  4. 3:11:43 Amanda Sneed, 35, Cherry Hill, NJ
  5. 3:14:11 Megan Feehan, 37, Philadelphia, PA
  6. 3:15:31 Andrea Hamlen-Ridgley, 35, Alexandria, VA
  7. 3:16:37 Xiahong Qian, 50, Edison, NJ
  8. 3:23:18 Joelle Kenney, 40, Riverton, NJ
  9. 3:24:57 Angela Treleven, 40, Tacoma, WA
  10. 3:26:31 Lauren Valentino, 43, Houston, TX

Top Men

  1. 2:32:26 Connor Hesselbirg, 25, Kings Park, NY
  2. 2:44:13 Kyle Hall, 26, Washington, DC
  3. 2:44:27 Keith Gruchacz, 35, Greensboro, NC
  4. 2:44:43 Dirk Walther, 39, Cambridge, MA
  5. 2:45:17 Will Knox, 36, Towson, MD
  6. 2:47:58 Cillian Lynch, 42, Washington, DC
  7. 2:48:57 Spencer Jurkiewicz, 32, Washington, DC
  8. 2:49:01 Alvaro Pontes, 31, Cambridge, MA
  9. 2:49:01 Doug Mock, 54, Ellicott City, MD
  10. 2:49:17 Kevin Love, 32, Philadelphia, PA
Amanda Denning of Washington, DC was third woman overall in 3:06:47. Denning was also third in Harrisburg in November.
Sadie Smith of Kirkwood, MO was first master and second overall in 3:00:47.
Mike Ball of Wellsville, PA ran marathon #87. Mike is at 48 states, and needs Alaska and Hawaii.
York gals masked up prior to the chilly start in Salisbury. Kelly McKinley, Kelsey Toth, Heidi Cebula, and Tina Ulsh.
Karen Mitchell and Clay Shaw actually participated in the Salisbury Marathon. It was Karen’s 123rd, and Clay’s 206th marathon. We look splendid prior to the marathon.


Categories: Race Coverage

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