Precious indeed are those mid-summer days in the Greater New Milford area when the humidity is low and mid-morning temperatures linger in the high 60s.

So it was last Saturday in New Milford and, oh, did area runners respond...

Under blue skies and cheered on by crowds assembling downtown for the Village Fair Days, a record field of 667 athletes completed either the 43rd annual 8-mile road race or the eighth edition of the Village Fair Days 5K race.

Those who opted for the shorter course broke a record as 330 sprinted around a course relatively tame compared with the challenging 8-miler.

At the same time, 337 conquered the longer route, which features a tour of the hills and dales of Merryall and the climactic ascent and descent of precipitous Canterbury Hill.

The events were directed by Michelle Gasiewski and hosted by New Milford Parks & Recreation.

Both races kicked off along the east side of the Village Green and finished to the cheers of family, friends and those many on hand for the Village Fair Days on the Green.

The 8-miler was won comfortably by Ethiopian native Derese Daniboba, 28, in 40:51, several minutes off the course record time but quick enough to easily put his rivals far behind.

Multi-time champ Mike Nahom, 42, of New Milford showed he's still got plenty left in the tank with a strong runnerup effort, clocking 44:07 to hold off fast-charging New Milford High graduate Craig Hunt, 19, by three seconds and about 25 yards.

Alemisehay Misganaw, 30, captured women's laurels with her 14th-place time of 49:00. That effort was also well off race standards but good enough to beat second-place Claudia Nero of Hopewell Junction, N.Y. by 87 seconds.

Among the Greater New Milford-area's women's highlights in the 8-miler:

Jen Paradiso, Jessica Noteware and Gabby Passarelli of New Mlford place second, third and fifth, respectively, in the women's 15-18 age division;

Stephanie Tyler of New Milford and Gretchen Tuff of Washington were third and fifth in the women's 19-29 division;

Former Washington resident Beth Mullen of Newtown won the women's 30-39 division;

Michelle Nahom of New Milford won the women's 40-49 division;

Annette Grant and Laura Olson of New Milford, Sharon Gawe of Bridgewater and Wendy Carlson of New Milford dominated the women's 50-59 division with their respective first third, fourth and fifth places.

In men's 8-mile competition:

Greg Hansell, Adam Dengler and Sam Maniscalco of New Milford, Patrick Mullen of Bridgewater and Cooper Knight of New Milford swept the men's 14 and younger division.

Joel Anderson, Nick Grudev, Cole Rossiter and Noah Rossiter were second through fifth in the men's 15-18 division;

Andy Watson and Mike DeCrescenzo of New Milford were first and fifth, respectively in the men's 19-29 division;

Paul Dolan of New Milford and Michael Croft of Washington were second and fourth in the men's 30-39 division;

Mark LoSacco of New Milford was fifth in the men's 40-49 division;

Michael Abraham of Roxbury was third in the men's 50-59 division;

Harry Ong of Roxbury won the men's 70 and older diviison.

Teens made their mark in the Village Fair Days 5K as Connor Chase, 16, of New Milford and Morgan Meaney, 15, of Pawling, N.Y. clocked respective times of 19:06 and 22:09 to claim titles.

Five area runners capture respective age division championship: Baerbel LoSacco of New Milford in women's 30-39; Donna Henning of New Milford in women's 50-59; Cole Case in men's 14 and younger; Alex Marotte in men's 19-29; and Jim Lee in men's 50-59.

For all the results from both races, check www.plattsys.com.