Celtic Solstice, the 5 mile race that Jim Adams started in 2000 with just over 100 people, has grown into one of the area's largest annual events. This year 4,000 people registered (with about 3,000 officially recorded as crossing the line) and it seemed as though everyone in attendance had a great time. For many of us, this race represents our last competition for the calendar year. Some use it to close out their season while others use it as a gauge of their fitness going into the new year. Whatever your reason for running, it's a truly fun event.
Since 2005 there have only been two male winners of the race - Brian Godsey and Dave Berdan. With both of these guys out this year, it opened the door for a new champion. Perhaps after all the runner-up finishes, our friend Carlos Renjifo of Howard County Striders would be crowned the winner. Well as Outkast reminds us, you can plan a pretty picnic, but you can't predict the weather. In this case the "weather" was Hagerstown native and University of Oklahoma standout, Tony Clement. Tony blitzed the course, running 25:22, and putting some daylight between him and Carlos. Carlos finished 2nd in a PR of 25:35.
Our first finisher was Dustin Meeker, who in 3rd place also recorded a new distance PR for himself of 25:50. Steve Febish continues to roll as he ran 26:03 to finish 5th. His previous best at the distance came a few weeks ago at Downs Park where he ran 26:28. Familiar faces Jack Flowers (27:16) and Andy Sovonick (27:22) finished inside the top 10, while Dan Miranda crossed the line in 27:41 for 11th. Andrew Smith was 13th in 27:50 and Arjun Majumdar ran a great race, getting oh-so-close to a sub 28 minute clocking. He finished right on 28:00, but it was still a PR (by :05 over his Thanksgiving Day race). Also coming up big was Andy Thivierge, who just a few weeks ago broke 30 minutes for the first time. This time he went for broke, slicing another 1:11 out of his best as he ran 28:45. Joel Gladfelter narrowly missed breaking 30 minutes (30:07) but considering his fitness right now, I'd say that's a win!
Then some of the ladies came through. Melissa Tanner was gaining ground on race winner Sherry Stick but ran out of real estate. She finished 2nd in 30:15, and Meg McNew finished 4th in 31:40. For both of these women, the times were 3:20 faster than their 2011 times at the race. PJ Anderer ran a great race, finishing in 32:08, and Dr. Rodney Taylor was right behind him in 32:18. We saw Suzanne Hurst out there (32:41) as she heftily beat her husband to the line, and Lillian Pinault ran a stellar race, finishing in 34:20. Denise Knickman was just behind in 34:39 and Sara Breedlove came through at 34:48. Sara Damiano ran a massive PR at 35:36 and Jackie Truncellito-Range was just out for a jog with some friends as she cruised home in 35:53. It was great to see Allison Gerbereux out there, minus Justin and the kids, as she ran 42:35, and Molly Eagen represented, running 46:31.
It was brought to my attention that I missed one amazing result in the email edition - Patty Stott ran 41:14, which was a huge PR! I credit it to her running so fast and looking so un-tired after the race that I didn't realize she had run.
Our Purple Drink Athlete of the Week went, for the first time this year, to Lillian Pinault!
Click here if you're looking for results
And of course the race could not happen without the efforts of all the support it receives. Major thanks to Jim, Karen, Pete, Meg D, Eric, Dan, Monica, Stacie, Ingrid - all the folks from Falls Road Running who work tirelessly to make this the year's best event. And of course all of you who got up early to volunteer or cheer, it makes a difference!