THOMASTON - Each year for twenty-five years, on Saturday at 9 a.m. after the Fourth of July celebrations are over, runners and walkers gather at the Turner Road entrance to Thomaston’s Nystrom’s Pond to test their fitness or just start getting fit at the first meeting of the summer’s Heery Running Series.
This year’s kick-off event was much like the last, as young runners show up and run faster than ever, hoping that they will reap the benefits of the training in their upcoming athletic seasons.
Older participants find out where they stand and make plans to get in better shape.
Youth prevailed on the day as Central Connecticut State University sophomore Eric Desmarais earned individual honors holding off high school freshman phenom Abby Johnston by a small margin.
Abby’s dad, Lee was not far behind as he took the top spot among the master’s division.
Thomaston High School’s senior cross country captain Jake Field was not far behind Lee as he began his summer push which he hopes will result in a memorable final year on the Berkshire League’s trails in cross country.
“Chris Lockhart showed good fitness into his twenties battled youthful Caleb Johnston for the first half of the run but Caleb navigated the hilly second half better to pull away for fifth,” face director Mark Olsen pointed out.
THS freshman Connor Foss followed the pair in seventh, with a pair of runners from next year’s THS girls cross country team finishing eighth and ninth overall as senior captain Briana Grecco encouraged her incoming freshman teammate Payton Mozelak across the line.
Women’s open champion Kayla Marble was not far behind rounding out the top ten.
After completing the course, participants talked about everything from the humid conditions of the day to their summer plans.
Competitor Kim Lorencaitis lamented that she could only make every other week because she works on alternate weekends.
Then she smiled and said, “Maybe we’ll get some cancellations and I can sneak in one extra.”
Of note, winner of the grand master’s division on the day was septuagenarian Kathy Johnston, who, when asked about her motivation, simply stated with a smile, “At my age, I just want to make sure that I get plenty of oxygen flowing to my brain!”
Needless to say, Mission Accomplished!
The series will continue on Saturday, July 11 at 9 a.m. Competitors earn points each week with prizes awarded at the final week.
The series is sponsored by the Thomaston Recreation Department.
WEEK ONE TOP 25
1. Eric Desmarais - 13:53
2. Abbie Johnston - 13:56
3. Lee Johnston - 14:03
4. Jake Field - 14:14
5. Caleb Johnston - 15:13
6. Chris Lockhart - 15:51
7. Connor Foss - 16:10
8. Briana Grecco - 16:39
9. Payton Mozelak - 16:50
10. Kayla Marble - 17:21
11. Brian Mozelak - 17:47
12. Victoria Bottass - 18:38
13. Kiera Fainer - 18:41
14. Chris Gaudette - 19:16
15. Ellie Marble - 21:16
16. Mark Andrade - 21:25
17. Dave Scougall - 21:58
18. Roxy Fainer - 22:09
19. Gianna Johnston - 22:58
19. Kiersten Johnston - 22:58
21. Ken Guay - 23:36
22. David Donofrio - 23:43
23. Christina Molliconi - 24:30
24. Micah Johnston - 24:44
25. Gracie Marble - 25:23.