The field in the YMCA Turkey Trot in Bel Air continues to swell, like a turkey in a pre-Thanksgiving fattening regimen. When the annual 5K went off for the 17th time Nov. 22, 1,285 runners stood behind the starting line, so many that it took 2 minutes for the hindmost to clear the line.
It was a record crowd, and with it came a record performance by Irina Watkins of North East in the women's race. The men's race was a reprise for Tyler Muse, who prevailed in a duel of past winners.
Watkins, a Temple University graduate student and a native of Finland, won the women's race in record time of 17:54 over a course that ends on the Ma & Pa Trail. She finished eighth overall.
Muse, a Harford Community College sophomore, found himself in the mid-air phase of a warm-up leap when the starter sent the crowd on its way. He lost perhaps a second at the start but took the lead after a mile to win easily in 16:24, defeating two-time winner Kevin Schwarz by about 100 meters.
Schwarz, of Mainville, Ohio, won in 2004 and 2006 while visiting his grandparents who live in Bel Air. He finished in 16:46. Luke Belford, running his last Harford race before his planned move to Nebraska, finished third in 17:06.
Dave Knaide, a senior at John Carroll school, repeated as the fourth finisher in 17:22. Others in the men's top 10 were Matt Klaschus, 17:32; Sergio Flores, 17:37; Matt Hoerr, 17:44; Jerry Henderson, 18:07; Zack Flores, 18:19; and Mike Capozzoli, 18:20.
Danielle Kays of Bel Air, who won the Bulle Rock Turkey Trot last year, finished second among the women in 20:12. Maggie Gallagher of Bel Air was third in 22:11. Others in the women's top 10 were Sandra Iberg, 20:43; Jennifer Eikenberg, 21:16; Jennifer Bouffard, 21:23; Stacey Davies, 21:29; Laurie Abildso, 21:47; Katie Gallagher, 22:11; and Anna Wasielewski, 22:15.
Age-group winners not among the top 10s were: Victoria Kays, 28:03 and Adam Martin, 28:03, in under-10; Sophie Kudla, 22:56, and Austin Weiss, 18:44, in 10-15; Donna Lewis, 23:33, and Taras Vizzi, 21:35, in 50-59; and Dale Davis, 28:36, and Bob Becker, 19:14, in 60-and-over.
Ecker, Eckberg lead Bulle Rock Turkey Trot
Ecker, a member of the U.S. Military Academy cross country team, led a field of 410 finishers. He was timed in 17:31 in finishing 200 meters ahead of runner-up James Toy IV of Conowingo. Toy also finished second last year. Will Hopkins of Bel Air was third in 18:33 and Josh Dawson of Chesapeake Beach, fourth in 18:48.
Others in the men's top 10 were Jesse Goodyear, 19:00; Caleb Stevens, 19:13; Aaron Smith, 19:13; Adalberto Rodriguez, 20:29; James Reeves, 20:40; and Tim Ferrese, 20:55.
Keely Eckberg, 21, a member of the Catholic University cross-country team, ran 19:06 to finish 63 seconds ahead of her sister. Kristine Claussen, also from New Jersey, finished third in 20:31. From Bel Air, Taylor Miller was fourth in 21:24, and Julie Bacso, fifth in 21:49.
Others in the women's top 10 were Elise Claffey, 21:56; Nancy Hill, 23:24; Alyssa Blevins, 23:39; Robbie Reeves, 23:40; and Brenda Walker, 23:40.
Age group winners not in the top 10s were Susan Harris, 37:55, and Michael Elder, 27:39, in over-60; Ron Keith, 22:18, in 50-59; Sean Breslin, 22:10, in 40-49; Alison Evans, 23:57, in 20-29; Eddie Arrison, 22:49, in 11-14; Kemper Robinson, 25:37, and Logan Rogers, 24:51, in under-10.
Paduch third in NCR Trail Marathon
Kelly Paduch of Bel Air placed third among the women in the Northern Central Recreation Trail Marathon in Baltimore County Saturday.
Paduch, 21, a student at James Madison University, ran the second half of the 26.2-mile race 4 minutes faster than the first half to finish in 3:22:50. Jessica Kennedy, 29, of Morristown, N.J., won in 3:01:00, and Shannon McGinn, also of New Jersey, was second in 3:16:11. Ashish Rathee of Ellicott City won the men's race in 2:50:37, leading all 407 finishers.
Santa's Sleigh 5K is Saturday
The annual Santa's Sleigh 5K will be held at the Arena Club in Bel Air on Dec. 8, with the runner's departing the line at 8:30 a.m. to race over a course through the campus of HCC. Age group awards go to the top three in seven age groups: under-13, 13-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, and over-60. Cash awards go to the top three men and women. Greg Cauller and Darcy McDonald led the field of 223 runners in last year's event. The race benefits the Boys and Girls Clubs of Harford County.