Darien runners have strong showing in road race
NORWALK -- Led by two top-10 finishes, along with the third-fastest female, Darien had good representation in the Lightfoot Running Club's 7-mile race as part of the club's summer series on Saturday morning.
The race, originally slated for the previous weekend, was postponed because of high temperatures and humidity. The conditions were much better this past weekend, and 136 runners crossed the finish line of the course which began and ended at Brien McMahon High School.
Darien's Michael Johnston, 18, finished third in a time of 40:03, and won the male 16-18 age group. Norwalk's Eneas Freyre won the race in a time of 39:18 and was followed by Ansonia's Timothy Milenkevich, in 39:25. Among the top-10 runners was Darien's David Ott, 48, who was ninth in 48:17. Greenwich's Meredith Kalish, 35, who was the top female, was 10th overall, finishing in 48:53. Darien's Shana Decsi, 34, came in 13th in 51:09.
Johnston runs every day and runs a total of 50 or so miles per week in preparation for the Darien High School cross country season. He'll be a senior captain in the fall.
"It's a nice workout," he said of participating in races.
Ott said he got some motivation to run from his daughter, Meredith, a senior captain-to-be on the DHS girls' squad, who ran the race as well.
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"I figured if she can get up and run a race at 8, I can too," said Ott, referring to the 8 a.m. start for all of the races in the series.
This was the third of six races. The first was a three-mile run, followed by a 5-miler. After the Aug. 6 run, a 9-mile course, will be an 11-mile race on Aug. 27, and the series ends with a half marathon, or 13.1-mile race on Sept. 10.
Meredith Ott, 17, finished 24th overall, crossing the finish line in 54:00, good for first place in her age group (16-18).
"It was definitely easier to run a fast time than if I was just to go out and do a distance run," she said about the benefit of running a competitive race.
Decsi said the course was challenging because of the up-hill stretches toward the end of the course.
"You've just got to aim for the finish line," she said.
Among Darien's other top finishers was Jeanne Siddell-Stre, 35, who completed the 7-mile course in 55:01, good for 31st place. Darien's Justin Murphy, 44, was 56th in a time of 59:56, and Lisa Short, 49, was 59th in 1:00:13; Lauren Sacco, 21, was 73rd in 1:03:43; and Scott Leahy, 36, was 86th in 1:06:15.
Decsi and Siddell-Stre were first and second, respectively, in the female 30-39 age category. David Ott came in third in the male 40-49 grouping.
After the race, participants cooled off with water, sports drinks and fruit, and some took advantage of free massages from representatives from Premier Physical Therapy & Wellness, which has an office in Norwalk.
For more information about the series, and to sign up for upcoming races, visit www.lightfootrunners.com.