by Jim Flint
CRAFTSBURY-ALBANY – Sunshine, pleasant temperatures, and a light breeze greeted dozens of runners and walkers Saturday morning for the Fifth Annual Genny Tenny Race. Coordinated by the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, this year’s Genny Tenny changed from September to May, and from Sunday to Saturday. A 5k run/walk race supplemented the classic ten-mile, point-to-point race from Craftsbury to Albany Village, along with a unique Double Dirt Challenge category for ultra runners.
Participation grew dramatically from last year’s 32 ten-mile runners. This year’s field included 46 ten-milers, 53 runners in the 5k race, and 20 entries in the 5k walk. The 5k run-walk drew 18 kids and five teachers from the Craftsbury schools. This year’s ten-mile event also served as the first half of the Double Dirt Challenge, a special category for runners completing the Genny Tenny on Saturday and the Adamant Half Marathon on Sunday.
Starting at the Craftsbury General Store, the ten milers turned onto Creek Road for the rolling trek to Albany. The course hit its high point on a Class Four section of Pitkin Road, in Albany. A mile-long cruising downhill to Water Street followed the arduous climb. After reaching the low point at the Black River bridge, the runners ascended a hundred feet in the final half-mile to the finish line at the Albany General Store.
The 5k runners and walkers enjoyed a net (more down than up) downhill dirt road route from the Craftsbury-Albany town line to Water Street in Albany Village, before finishing on the same route as the ten milers. This made for an interesting confluence at the finish line. Judy Geer, 69, ended the 5k race a few steps ahead of her son, Ethan Dreissigacker, 32, who ran the ten-mile race.
Nick Orlando, 28, from South Burlington, won the ten-mile race in one hour, two minutes, and 25 seconds. Orlando is a 2017 graduate of Bates College, where he competed in NCAA D-III cross country and track and field. Montpelier High School runner Luke Murphy, 15, took home ten-mile runner-up honors in 1:04:44.
Pete Johnson, 51, from Craftsbury, was the top local ten-miler. He placed sixth overall, in 1:13:05. Audrey Mangan, 34, from Craftsbury, topped the women’s division, in 1:14:22. She was followed across the finish line by two more Craftsbury runners: Lucy Hamel, 39, in 1:14:40, and Hallie Grossman, 30, in 1:14:47.
Other local ten-milers among the top 25 finishers included Craftsbury runners Ethan Dreissigacker (1:15:23), Adrian Owens (1:15:24), Damian Bolduc (1:15:48), Erin Magoon (1:25:44); Wolcott’s Ray Boutin (1:16:05); Stannard’s Josh Gould (1:17:41), and Greensboro’s Rose Modry (1:20:04).
Ross Lieblappen, 38, from Middlesex, was the top 5k finisher, in 19:02. Lieblappen won the race pushing his two children in a double stroller. Stig Linck, 12, and Jessica Bolduc, 47, placed second and third. Their 5k times were 22:59 and 24:32.
Julia Phillipp, 20, from Middlesex, won the 5k walk in 35:17. Barb Strong, 62, from Craftsbury, placed second, in 35:41. Odin Kittredge, 8, from Irasburg, finished third, in 38:01.
Matt Caldwell, 35, from Northfield, and John Hackney, 77, from Montpelier, were the sole entries in the Double Dirt Challenge, jointly sponsored by Central Vermont Runners and the Craftsbury Outdoor Center. Hackney and Caldwell received the first half of their Double Dirt Challenge award at the Genny Tenny. The duo went on to complete the Challenge on Sunday at the Adamant Half Marathon.
Race director Susan Dunklee recruited 30 volunteers to help put on the Genny Tenny, in addition to staff from the Craftsbury Outdoor Center. The event raised vital funds to support the Albany Community Trust’s mission of promoting positive growth and increased vibrancy in the community.
One of the Albany Community Trust’s projects is to create and install a public art project at the Albany General Store. Supported by a grant from the Vermont Arts Council, the project is coordinated by local artist Theresa Peura. Project ideas include creating a story quilt of painted wooden panels mounted on the outside of the store building, a community table in the shape of the river that runs through Albany, and an outdoor “story house” to feature local artists’ work.