Hawkins favored to repeat, no easy call in women’s race
By Kevin Spradlin
MOUNT SAVAGE – The road in front the Masonic Temple Association on state Route 36 was relatively quiet just before lunchtime on Monday.
If one stood still long enough, the rustle of the leaves in the late September wind was bound to be the only disruption of an otherwise silent day.
That certainly won’t be the case on Saturday.
Two doors up from the temple is the starting line for the 27th annual Great Allegany Run, a 15K (9.3-mile) jaunt with a straight shot to The Narrows for seven miles and then a slight left – east – onto Alternate Route 40. Once runners get to the highly visible Page’s Ice Cream Shop, there’s about 1.1 miles to go. When they take their first hard turn – left – onto Queen City Drive, there’s but a half-mile to go. The race begins at 8 a.m.
The men’s race seems to be Frostburg resident Jaron Hawkins’s to lose. Hawkins, 25, won “going away,” said race director Dave Treber, and led last year’s field of 120 competitors to the finish line in 45 minutes and 48 seconds. And he’s even better this year.
“Jaron’s running awfully strong,” Treber said. “It really comes down to who (elite runner coordinate) Dennis Mickey gets to come. He’s been very instrumental on that” along with Mike Spinnler, president of the Cumberland Valley Athletic Club, of which Hawkins is a member.
Both Mickey and Spinnler “start talking (the race) up,” and people listen, Treber said.
Last year was supposed to be a close race – far to close to call until race day. But it wasn’t. Nick Gramskey, 30, recruited from Vienna, Va., finished a distant second, 2 minutes and 34 seconds off Hawkins’s pace. CVAC teammates Dave Mertz, 22, of Cumberland, was third in 51:13 and Jeremy Rice, 26, was fourth in 51:27.
“They were quite impressed,” Treber said of Hawkins’s competitors. “I think those guys were expecting they’d be right at the top. We were expecting a race.”
The women’s field is wide open. It’s uncertain whether last year’s runner-up, Cumberland resident Amy Rowan, will return. But it’s clear that LaVale’s Maureen Hall will not lace up her racing shoes on Saturday. She broke her foot – and damaged an elbow – in a fall at the two-mile point in a five-mile race in Williamsport in August. Amazingly, she still finished second in the women’s standings that day – but the injury will cost her a chance to defend her title in Mount Savage.
If the rest of top women’s runners returns, it’ll be quite a race with no clear favorite as runners two through four were within 50 seconds of each other. Rowan was second to Hall last year in 62:59. Kari Brown, of Bedford, Pa., was third overall in 63:21 and Doris Windsand-Daus, of Frederick, was fourth in 63:49.
On both sides of the gender line, the race serves as the Maryland RRCA 15K Championship. The event is no longer in the state’s Grand Prix Series – it didn’t get enough participants to justify the Western Maryland race’s inclusion, Treber said – but “we’re thrilled they want (the GAR) to be the 15K Championship.”
Notes: Men’s course record is held by Chris Fox (set in 1991, 43:46), women’s by Deanna O’Neil (1997, 51:13), men’s masters by Terry Permar (1994, 47:06) and the women’s masters by Marge Rosasco (54:34). The 5K course records are held by Steve Taylor (1990, 14:39) and Tammy Slusser (1992, 17:32).
For more race details, visit www.qcstriders.org or paste this link into your web browser:
The starting line of the 27th annual Great Allegany Run in Mount Savage will be anything but quiet on Saturday morning.