Runners Roundup

By Jim Flint

Seniors Soar at Sunny Stampede

MONTPELIER – Starting in the shadow of the State House, the 44th Annual Capital City Stampede featured a fast flat course, sunny skies, and pleasant temperatures in the 60s and low 70s. Hosted by Central Vermont Runners, the 10k race attracted top athletes from across northern Vermont.

Burlington’s Kae Ravichandran edged out Winooski’s Blake Wessler to win the race. Their respective times were 34:02 and 34:17. Veteran marathoner Teague O’Conner placed third in 35:34.  

Former Harwood Union High standout Erin Magill of Moretown topped the women’s division, in 37:23. Magill just graduated from Brandeis University, where she earned All-America honors in cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field. Magill capped off her senior year at Brandeis with an eighth-place finish in the 5,000m run at the NCAA D-III national championships. She set a school record of 16:41 in the race.

Richmond’s Danielle Winslow was the runner-up in the women’s division. Her time was 38:15 for the 10k race. Winslow competed in cross country and track and field at Boston College. She ran a personal-best 5k time of 16:19 at the Penn Relays in 2015.  

Damian Bolduc, 45, from Craftsbury was the top finisher among the towns covered by the Hardwick Gazette. Bolduc paced at 7:07 per mile. He placed 24th overall with a time of 44:09.

A handful of age 60-plus athletes placed among the 97-runner field. The local cohort included Mack Gardner-Morse (45:42) from Calais; Donna Smyers (49:03) and Dot Helling (57:52), from Adamant; and Tim Hogeboom (52:33) and Elizabeth McCarthy (59:47), from Walden.

The Capital City Stampede did double-duty as the Vermont Senior Games Association 10k state championship road race. Gardner-Morse won the VSGA silver medal for the M60-64 age group.

“The temperature was comfortable, but it was a little hot in the full sunshine,” said Gardner-Morse.  “Fortunately, the bike path was shady and there was an occasional light breeze.  I went out fast, then slowed down and settled into a comfortable pace. I still had a little kick left at the end.”

Smyers won the gold medal for the F65-69 age group. “I think the new carbon plate shoes helped quite a bit, but I did get very tired and slowed some toward the end,” she said.

Smyers recently returned home after winning the F65-69 age group at the Ironman 70.3 Triathlon at Kohala Coast, Hawaii. The June 3 event included a 1.2-mile ocean swim, 56-mile bike, and 13.1-mile run. Smyers placed 224th of 2040 finishers. She finished the triathlon in five hours, 42 minutes, and two seconds. The next closest finisher in her age group came in nearly 45 minutes behind her.

“I had gone there with the hope of winning my age group so that I could qualify to race the full Ironman in October,” said Smyers. “I haven’t done the Kona Ironman since 2012, so it is a full decade. I’m curious to see what I can do in my new age group on that course.”

Helling was the silver medalist in the F70-74 age group. She is in training for the Mount Washington Road Race on June 18. “I ran up Bolton on Monday and Mansfield on Wednesday,” said Helling.

Hogeboom struck silver in the M70-74 age group. “I started about two-thirds of the way back in the pack and didn’t worry too much about being held back by slower runners. That helped me avoid going out too fast,” he said. “I decided to stick with a 10K pace I felt that I could sustain.”

McCarthy placed third in the F70-74 age group. “I was ahead of Dot Helling for the first couple of miles, but in the end, I faded and she excelled,” McCarthy said. “We both got beat out by a ringer from New Jersey. I’m happy with bronze!”

Kehler Heads to Nike Outdoor Nationals

CRAFTSBURY – Charlie Kehler is headed west to plant his feet on sacred ground. On Thursday, the rising sophomore from Craftsbury Academy will compete in the mile run at the Nike Outdoor Nationals. The competition is held at the University of Oregon’s historic Hayward Field. The iconic facility is the premier track and field complex in the country.

Kehler will be one of 58 entries from across the U.S. in the freshman mile race. He qualified for the Nike Outdoor Nationals by being the fastest freshman 1500m runner in Vermont. He set the season’s standard on May 14 at the Burlington High School Invitational. His 1500m time of 4:15.91 translated to a 4:33 mile.

He follows in the footsteps of Vermont’s most famous runner, Elle Purrier St. Pierre. The Richford Olympian won the 1500m race at the U.S. Olympic Trials on June 21, 2021. On May 28, 2022, Purrier St. Pierre returned to Hayward Field for a Diamond League meet. Running in a world-class field, she placed sixth in the 1500m race at the Steve Prefontaine Classic. Her time was 3:59.68.

Kehler has modest hopes for his performance at the national meet. During the final part of the spring track and field season, he contracted COVID-19. The virus and recovery process limited his training schedule. His goal is to stay healthy and enjoy the experience with his dad, Andy Kehler, who will accompany him on the trip.

Runners Take to the Trails

CRAFTSBURY –The 2022 edition of the Outdoor Center’s Tuesday Night Trail Race series kicked off on June 7. The field of 26 runners and six mountain bikers spanned from age seven to age 79.

Sam Brunnette, the former Plymouth State University standout and NCAA D-III All-American, held off Ollie Burruss, 22:25 to 23:00, to win the men’s 5k division. Olympian Susan Dunklee (26:03) was the top female finisher, followed by Amelia Circosta (26:43). Leo Circosta (23:39) and Kaitlynn Miller (28:02) placed third for their genders.

Danville cross country coach Maxfield English (23:51) was the top Masters (age 40+) male finisher. Rose Modry, who also teaches at Danville, was the top Masters female finisher. Her time was 29:30.

Jennifer Brooks won the 5k bike race in 23:16. Ben Bliss was the fastest 10k biker. He finished the course in 38:02. Scarlett Podolin won the 3k trail run in 22:41.

The Trail Race Series continues each Tuesday evening through August 23. Mountain bikers and runners start at 5:45 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. respectively. For race locations, visit craftsbury.com.