Record field graces 8-miler, 5K
A record throng of 570 runners toed the line and finished their assigned tasks Saturday as New Milford Parks & Recreation played host to the 42nd annual New Milford 8-mile road race and the sixth annual Village Fair Days 5K.
Muggy, warm weather greeted the huge throng as it awaited the 9 a.m. starter's gun along the Village Green yet Mother Nature was kind the sun shone only briefly during the 90 minutes or so it took for most of the runners to return to town from their respective scenic treks.
Three-hundred eighty-six athletes completed the 8-miler, the third oldest road race in the state and, by most accounts, the toughest course around.
A trio of Kenyans now living in New York dominated the race for first place and came home within seconds of each other: Abraham Ngetich, 28, (39:43), Derese Deniboba, 27, (39:46) and Stephen Chemlany, 26, (39:48) claimed the top three spots.
The women's race was led by Salome Kosgei, another Kenyan now living in White Plains, N.Y. She clocked 47:32 to finish 20th overall and easily beat runnerup Malika Mejdoub of Bethel (38th, 51:26).
A highlight for Greater New Milford area fans was the sixth-place finish of recent New Milford High graduate Craig Hunt, who checked in at 43:46 to edge older brother David by nearly two minutes for the honor of being the first hometown runner.
Sara Belles of Brookfield defended her women's 5K title with a 15th-place time of 20:02.
In all, 284 runners opted for and completed the shorter, less demanding course.
Prizes were also presented during a post-race ceremony on the stage at the Village Fair Days to 14 & younger, 15-18, 19-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69 and 70-79 divisional leaders.
Among those area runners earning the 8-mile spotlight:
*Craig Hunt and Cole Rossiter of New Milford were 1-3 in male 15-18;
*David Hunt of New Milford was third in male 19-29;
*Andy Morehouse of New Milford was third in male 40-49;
*John Richers was fourth in male 50-59;
*Jen Paradiso of New Miford won the female 15-18 division;
*Deidre Fitzpatrick of Sherman was third in female 40-49;
*Mary LaBarbera of Sherman was third in female 60-69.
Claiming a share of center stage after the Village Fair Days 5K:
*Aaron Arellano was the 14 & younger male runnerup;
*Michael Croft of Washington was the male 30-39 champion;
*Rodney LaFlamme of Gaylordsivlle was the male 40-49 winner;
*Jim Lee of New Milford was the male 50-59 runnerup;
*Linda Hastey of New Milford was the third overall female;
*Elyse Andrews of Roxbury was the female 15-18 runnerup;
*Anita Hannan of New Milford captured first in female 40-49;
*Monique Gil-Rogers of Washington was the female 50-59 runnerup;
*Neen Doubek was the female 60-69 bridesmaid.
For the complete order of finish and divisional results for both races, check www.roadntracksports.com.
For more photographs, see www.newstimes.com/spectrum.
The races were directed by Michelle Gasiewski and co-hosted by Parks & Recreation, The Greater New Milford Spectrum and The News-Times, Union Savings Bank, the New Milford Hospital medical and dental staff, People's United Bank and O & G Industries.