A Look at the 25th Leaf Peepers Half Marathon

Rountree Threepeats at 25th Leaf Peepers

The silver anniversary of the Leaf Peepers Half Marathon in Waterbury brought out the governor and commemorative t-shirts, but everything else was pretty much the same this October 5‰Û_and that‰Ûªs a good thing. The annual squabble with neighboring Duxbury was resolved, long-time race stalwart Darragh Ellerson stood by the finish line with her clipboard and Williston‰Ûªs Rick Rountree, 30, once again led the 700-strong field with a decisive victory.

Rountree, who won here in 2006 (1:10:48) and 2007 (1:12:28) posted his fastest time yet (1:10:08) during a self-described ‰ÛÏstrength workout‰Û in preparation for the upcoming cross country season. In August, Rountree switched singlets from the green and white of the Green Mountain AA to the blue and gold of the BAA.
‰ÛÏThe GMAA were nice enough to give me a 90-day waiver,‰Û said Rountree, who‰Ûªs looking to run in more USATF-NE Grand Prix team events as well as compete in cross country as a team member.
‰ÛÏI want to run Mayor‰Ûªs Cup and New Englands. I think I can go down there and be very competitive and hopefully, if I do well enough, I can make the team that‰Ûªs going to the national championships in Spokane. I was injured in early spring and I jumped right back into racing and it seemed I‰Ûªd be almost injured after every race and I‰Ûªd have to back off. The last few months I‰Ûªve been doing enough training to race and stay healthy. This is a good course and it was a good strength workout for cross country. Ryan [Robitaille] was with me early but after two miles I was alone.‰Û

Well, not quite alone. With the race a week later than in 2007, there was abundant foliage along the out-and-back route, 70% on a dirt road that parallels the Winooski River. Robitaille, 25, of S. Burlington, arrived second in 1:13:22 after almost being caught by Winooski‰Ûªs George Deane, 28, who placed third in 1:13:38.
The closest men‰Ûªs race of the day occurred in the Masters division where Waterbury‰Ûªs Tom Thurston, 47, edged out former race champion and NER cover icon Joe McNamara, 45, of Williston, by 5-seconds in 1:19:21.

The women‰Ûªs race was as close as the men‰Ûªs was wide open. Common to Common 30K champion Kathy Provencher, 38, of the GMAA, hooked up with Tuesday Nite Turtle Karen Benway, 36, of Warwick, RI. Benway, who has a sister living in the area, ran in lockstep with Provencher through the turnaround and within miles of the finish.

‰ÛÏKathy went for it in the 11th mile, but‰Û_‰Û commented Richmond‰Ûªs Jessica Cover, 38, who coaches Provencher and moved up from fourth last year into third to get a better look. ‰ÛÏStill, she ran a good race and scored a big PR by several minutes.‰Û

Benway, who ran 3:03:52 at this year‰Ûªs Vermont City Marathon, closed the show in 1:26:18 with Provencher second in 1:26:31 and ‰ÛÏCoach‰Û third in 1:29:20. The GMAA‰Ûªs Anne Treadwell, 40, of Burlington, was top Master (5th overall) in 1:33:03 with Montpelier‰Ûªs Sue Hackney, 51, bounding back from injury for a resounding Senior win while placing 8th among women in 1:35:52.

Charlotte‰Ûªs Jack Pilla, 50, won the men‰Ûªs Senior division handily in 1:22:39 while Sue Hackney‰Ûªs husband, John (also on the mend) placed second among Veteran men to Burlington‰Ûªs Chuck Arnold (1:32:03). A pair of superlative times just 7-seconds apart were logged in the women‰Ûªs Veteran division as North Ferrisburg‰Ûªs Teri Scatchard, 67, ran 2:05:40 with Rosemary Rusin, 65, of Florence, following in 2:05:47.

At a youthful 78, Darragh Ellerson‰ÛÓwho was the unpaid race director for 12 of the event‰Ûªs first 14 years‰ÛÓis vowing to run the 5K next year. Whether she‰Ûªll run with clipboard in hand remains to be seen.
‰ÛÓBob Fitzgerald

25th Annual Leaf Peepers Half-Marathon/5K, Waterbury, Sunday, October 5
692 Half Marathon Finishers, 393 5K Finishers. Timing by: Granite State Race Services. Half Marathon USATF Certified: VT03001RF – 5K USATF Certified: VT99005 – *Under USATF Age-Group guideline – Course Records: Eric Morse, 1:09:28, 1986; Cindy New, 1:19:27, 1995
Men (Overall): 1. Rick Rountree, 1:10:09; 2. Ryan Robitaille, 1:13:22; 3. George Deane, 1:13:38; 4. Justin Ryea, 1:17:16; 5. Adam Portz, 1:17:40; 6. Tom Thurston, 1:19:21; 7. Joe McNamara, 1:19:26; 8. John Pomeroy, 1:19:46; 9. John Spinney, 1:20:01; 10. Tyler Alexander, 1:20:24; 11. Ray Webster, 1:20:30; 12. Sam Davis, 1:20:49; 13. Mike Early, 1:22:02; 14. Jack Pilla, 1:22:39; 15. Chad Shepard, 1:23:18. (18-under): 1. Shawn Carter, 2:04:43. Masters: 1. Tom Thurston, 1:19:21; 2. Joe McNamara, 1:19:26; 3. Sam Davis, 1:20:49; 4. Mike Early, 1:22:02; 5. Chris Cover, 1:26:05. Seniors: 1. Jack Pilla, 1:22:39; 2. Pascal Cheng, 1:29:17; 3. Charles White, 1:30:51; 4. John Valentine, 1:33:15; 5. Steve Titcomb, 1:33:48. Veterans: 1. Chuck Arnold, 1:32:03; 2. John Hackney, 1:37:24; 3. Fred Stapenhorst, 1:42:51. Women (Overall): 1. Karen Benway (36), RI, 1:26:18*; 2. Kathy Provencher (38), 1:26:31*; 3. Jessica Cover, 1:29:20; 4. Hester Hemmett, 1:32:43; 5. Anne Treadwell, 1:33:03; 6. Victoria Comer, 1:35:18; 7. Sue Dodge, 1:35:32; 8. Sue Hackney (51), 1:35:52*; 9. Jen Miller, 1:37:39; 10. Melissa Frenyea, AZ, 1:37:53; 11. Maureen Hebert, 1:38:03; 12. Erica Danford, 1:39:31; 13. Loralyn LeBlanc, 1:39:44; 14. Kelley Wulfkuhle, 1:40:06; 15. Kylee Decelles 1:40:08. (18-under): Shannon McGowan, 2:01:55; 2.  Grace Amber, 2:06:56. Masters: 1. Anne Treadwell, 1:33:03; 2. Sue Dodge, 1:35:32; 3. Melissa Frenyea, AZ, 1:37:53; 4. Erica Danford, 1:39:31; 5. Shari Bashaw, 1:42:19. Seniors: 1. Sue Hackney (51), 1:35:52*; 2. Ruth Blauwiekel (55), 1:44:31*; 3. Nina Changelian, 1:44:52. Veterans: 1. Teri Scatchard (67), 2:05:40*; 2. Rosemary Rusin (65), 2:05:47*; 3. Karen Hennig, 2:15:46.

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