by Jim Flint
MONTPELIER – Donna Smyers of Adamant topped the list of Gazette-area participants on Saturday at the 46th Paul Mailman Ten-Miler. The 63-year-old triathlete was one of a small cohort of local athletes competing in the first Central Vermont Runners group race of the 2021 season.
The enthusiastic field of pandemic persevering runners was treated to bright blue skies, calm winds, and ideal running temperatures in the 50s.
Twenty-two of the 46 ten-mile finishers were age 50 and above. Smyers averaged 8:16 per mile to place 19th overall. She completed the out-and-back course in one hour, 22 minutes, and 37 seconds. Smyers seems to have improved with age. She cut more than three minutes off her 2019 Paul Mailman time of 1:26:01.
“It was great to be back racing for real again,” said Smyers. “Although I pushed myself a lot during virtual races last year, there is a very different feeling being out on the course with other runners, at a set time, with timers at the finish line. The event was very safe. We started in small waves of ten or fewer with our masks on until we started running, and everyone immediately spread out.”
Tim Hogeboom, 69, of Walden, will soon enter a new running age group. In celebration of his senior status, Hogeboom won the men’s 60-69 age group at the Paul Mailman Ten-Miler. His time of 1:26:02 was the 26th-fastest overall.
Dot Helling, the dean of local female runners, competed in the 70-79 age group for the first time on Saturday. The 71-year-old veteran marathoner averaged 9:29 per mile for the ten-mile distance. She placed 38th overall in 1:34:43.
Elizabeth McCarthy, 68, of Walden drew cheers from fellow runners as she crossed the Paul Mailman finish line in 1:47:41. McCarthy’s positive attitude captured the spirit of the event.
“On the last few miles running along the river, I looked across and saw a burial service in progress at the cemetery,” she reflected in a Facebook post. “It made me feel lucky to be running last in a 10 miler.”
A 5k race was held concurrently with the ten-mile venue. For Adamant’s Chris Andresen, the event marked a return to running after a hip injury sidelined him in 2020. Andresen, 65, ran the 3.1-mile out-and-back course at a 7:39 pace. He placed tenth of 36 runners in a time of 23:43. Montpelier’s Tim Noonan, 64, bested Andresen’s time by two seconds to win the men’s 60-69 age group.
“It was a race for everyone,” said Andresen. “New runners had a nice flat course which was great for fast runners who wanted an early season PR. We started in waves. The drawback was that you couldn’t tell how you were doing until the final results. I was surprised by my time. My hip was sore the next day but I knew it would be.”
Molly Brock of Marshfield, 40, and Richard Wiswall, 64, of Plainfield, rounded out the 5k finishers from towns covered by the Gazette. Brock placed 17th in a time of 25:29. Wiswall finished 22nd in 26:26.
The Adamant Half Marathon is next up on the Central Vermont Runners schedule. The 13.1-mile event is slated for Saturday, May 8. Ninety percent of the course is on rolling dirt roads. Athletes can enter as individuals or as a relay team. Preregistration is required. COVID-19 race protocols will be followed. Additional information is available at cvrunners.org.