by Jim Flint
NORTHFIELD ̶ The 44th Annual Northfield footraces, on September 2, opened the town’s traditional Labor Day Weekend Festival. Runners and walkers, ages 5 to 84, were dispersed among a 5k run-walk, 5k Power Walk, and one-mile kids’ race.
With 128 finishers, the 5k run-walk started the action at 9:30 a.m. Mike Giberti, 31, from Waterbury, jumped into the lead and never looked back. Giberti moved up from a runner-up finish at last year’s race. His winning time of 17:34 improved from last year’s 18:12 finish.
The race for second-place featured a repeat of last year’s duel between Binney Mitchell, 54, from Burlington, and Paul Murphy, 53, from Mendon. Murphy was the faster of the two runners at this year’s contest. He edged out Mitchell, 18:55 to 19:11, for runner-up honors.
Jess Marini, 32, from Burlington, won the women’s division in 19:40. Addie Hedges, 21, from Montpelier, was the runner-up. Hedges came across the line in 21:10. Anne Treadwell, 55, from Montpelier, was third for the women with a 22:00 finish.
The Northfield 5k doubled as the Vermont Senior Games 5k state championship. Elizabeth McCarthy, 70, from Walden, earned a gold medal in the F70-74 age group. McCarthy finished the 5k course in 28:30. Her husband, Tim Hogeboom, 71, was the silver medalist in the M70-74 age group. Hogeboom finished in 25:52.
Lisa Grace, 59, from Hardwick, finished between Hogeboom and McCarthy. Grace’s 27:39 effort won a Vermont Senior Games silver medal for the F55-59 age group. Other 5k finishers from towns covered by the Hardwick Gazette included Daniel Keeney, 39, from Calais, and Manny Sainz, 67, from Marshfield. Keeney placed 44th overall, in 25:50. Sainz finished 61st, in 27:57.
The Vermont Senior Games 5k Power Walk added another dimension to the Northfield 5k. Power walking differs from race walking, which is an Olympic sport. Power walkers keep both legs bent at the knee when moving, while the knee is kept straight in race walking. As with race walking, one foot must be in contact with the ground when power walking.
Seven power walkers competed for Vermont Senior Games medals and prizes donated by Darn Tough Socks. The power walkers started two minutes after the race walkers.
Hannah Nedzbala, 74, from Nashua, N.H., was the fastest power walker. She finished in 36:06. John Pelton, from West Rupert, was the oldest power walker. At age 84, he averaged 14:27 per mile. A few yards before the finish line, Newton Baker, 81, from Montpelier, powered past Pelton. Baker won the gold medal in 44:52. Pelton brought home the silver medal with a time of 44:53.
Jackson Boright (6:20), from Maine, and Irie Miller (7:04), from Montpelier, were the fastest finishers among 42 boys and girls in the one-mile kids’ race. Two seven-year-old boys from Calais were among the young competitors. Henry Keeney and Monty Dean placed ninth and 17th, respectively. Their times were 7:29 and 8:46.
Jointly coordinated by Central Vermont Runners and the Vermont Senior Games Association, the Northfield footraces raised over $3,500 to support youth and senior running programs. Runners and walkers also contributed to support The Veterans Place, a Northfield residential facility serving unhoused and disabled veterans.
Elmore 5k Run/Walk Attracts Huge Field
ELMORE – The Fourth Annual Elmore 5k Run-Walk attracted 153 runners and walkers on September 2. The mostly flat, out-and-back course started at the Elmore town garage and proceeded along Beach Road past the Elmore State Park and back to Vermont Rte. 12.
George Aitken, 29, from Morrisville, won the race for the second consecutive year. Aitken’s time was 18:27. Ross Lieblappen, 38, from Montpelier, placed second in 19:16. Wolcott’s Christopher Trajkovski (19:39) captured third, his same finish last year.
The women’s division champion, Sarah Waterman Manning, was last year’s runner-up. Waterman Manning, 39, cruised the fast course in 20:26. Gigi Graves, 12, from Stowe, was the second female finisher. Her time was 22:36.
Damian Bolduc, 46, from Craftsbury, placed seventh overall in 20:50. Bolduc paced at 6:46 per mile in his fastest 5k race of the year. “The course was great with easy grades positioned perfectly,” Bolduc posted on Strava. “My legs opened up a bit and I was cruising comfortably with a full stride.”
George Kominos, 66, from Wolcott, placed 12th overall. His time of 22:50 won the M60-69 age group. Kominos had the fastest age-graded percentage (73%) among all competitors. Age-grading measures a runner’s performance, based on age and gender, against national standards.
Wolcott’s Breanna Hart, 44, finished in 24:48. Hart won the F40-49 age group and placed 19th overall. Craftsbury’s Jessica Bolduc, 47, placed second in the same age group. Her time was 25:15.
Mike Davidson, 53, from Wolcott, won the M50-59 age group. He finished in 26:28. Sally Cabell, 81, from Craftsbury was the most senior entry in the race. Cabell’s time of 53:27 placed second in the F70-99 age group.
Walden Seniors Run Round the Pond
ISLAND POND – Elizabeth McCarthy, 70, and Tim Hogeboom, 72, made the best of perfect running weather on Labor Day Weekend. After running in Saturday’s Northfield 5k, the Walden couple headed north on Sunday for the 17th annual Pondathon.
Sponsored by the Brighton Recreation Committee, the Pondathon raised funds to increase recreational opportunities for area residents while maintaining program affordability. The committee has hosted swim lessons and fitness classes, and worked to overhaul the playground.
McCarthy finished the 5.5 mile race in 52:14. She won the women’s “Pro” division (age 61 and up). Hogeboom placed third in the men’s “Pro” division. He rounded the pond in 48:10.
“It was a fun community race with age group medals and raffle prizes,” McCarthy posted. “After the race they had The Great Island Pond Canoe Race and a Human Foosball tournament. The race was a good warm up for the Northeast Kingdom Half Marathon-Marathon on September 16.”