No one could quite remember the top time in this race; in fact, no one could quite remember how long this race has existed. George Kiefer, a longtime SWSA stalwart, was out early with his stopwatch. He’d rousted Bill Geer out of bed that morning and recruited him to come help keep track of who finished when.
“Steve Belter has the best times in this race,” Kiefer said. The Salisbury resident completed the course in 20-some minutes at some point in the last 20 years or so. So much for history. But there’s no question that this race is a local tradition. Runners come from all over to compete for no prizes — no cash prizes, that is.
“It’s a good way to start off the Fourth of July,” said Donley, who is a triathlete and teaches physics at The Hotchkiss School. “Now we can kick back and enjoy the day.”
Many of the runners said they were planning to stay for the festivities at the Town Grove, which included a band, a reading of the Declaration of Independence and plenty of picnic baskets.
“This is the best race of the year,” declared Doug Landau, a resident of Virginia and Sharon. A championship runner and a triathlete, he celebrated his 46th birthday by winning this race with a time of 31:41.
Tina Mooney of Sharon, also a triathlete, was just plain celebrating at the end of the run. She was the first woman to cross the line (38:24) and said it was the first race she’s won.
“I think I’ll go swim now,” she said, eyeing the calm waters of Lake Wononscopomuc from the finish area. Most of the other runners recovered in the shade of the Grove’s oak trees and some waited in line for free rubdowns from massage therapist Donna Bearns.
After the last contestant had returned to the lakefront, Kiefer called everyone to attention so he could make an announcement.
“Don’t tell anyone about this race!” he said. “We’re getting too many people. Twenty runners is just right.”
Top Male Times
Doug Landau 31:41
Peter Hawley 33:47
Will Graustein 34:18
Top Female Times
Tina Mooney 38:24
Laura Geer 38:44
Sally Bednar 41:30