Thursday July 5, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Five-time Independence Day Race champion David Raucci of Germantown, N.Y., was unseated yesterday morning.

It was hard for him to be upset, though as winner Klaus Schmidt of Rhinebeck, N.Y., is not only a friend, but a running partner.

"Yeah," said Raucci with a laugh. "We train together. We drove up here together."

Told he was, in a sense, the architect of his own demise, Raucci chuckled.

"I guess so," he said. "But that's okay. Klaus ran a good race."

Schmidt covered the 5K course in 15:36, only five seconds ahead of Pittsfield's Kent Lemme, who was right behind at 15:41. Raucci was third in 16:12.

The course record is 14.40, set by Raucci in 2008.

Schmidt, 21, is a senior at Oklahoma State, where he competes on the cross country team and is a distance runner on the track team.

"It was pretty much me and Kent until almost the end," said Schmidt. "Then I started to pull away."

"Every year, I keep trying to beat these young guys half my age," Lemme, the co-owner of the Berkshire Running Center, said with a smile. "Klaus started pulling away with about a mile to go. I tried to stay with him, but he kept pushing it."

Schmidt last competed in the Pittsfield race three years ago.

"It's a good course," he said. "It was a little tougher than I remembered it."

"The sun wasn't out, and that was good," said Raucci. "It was a little humid, but I'm glad the clouds were out.


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A record total of 1,236 runners signed up for the race, according to race director Mike Hogue. The Platt Systems website listed 1,156 finishers.

Tara Dooley of Lee, who finished 14th overall in 17:47, was the women's winner. Dooley just completed her freshman year at Bentley College, where she runs on the cross country team.

Dooley is better known locally as an outstanding three-sport athlete at Lee High School, where she competed in soccer, basketball and club lacrosse. Dooley was the All-Eagle MVP in girls' basketball her senior year.

But her success in this race is not entirely a surprise. Dooley was the Northeast-10 Rookie of the Year in cross country for Bentley this past fall. She shifted to the sport after her high school basketball career ended.

"I missed basketball a lot," she said of her freshman year. "But it was a matter of what I could schedule, really."

And 5K races aren't particularly alien to Dooley, as she finished second in the NE-10 cross country championships in the fall, also a 5K.

This is Dooley's first Independence Day run.

"No, I never ran it before [yesterday]," she said. "I've run in other races around the county, but this is my first try at this one."

She's 1 for 1 so far.

To reach Derek Gentile:
dgentile@berkshireeagle.com,
(413) 496-6251.
On Twitter: @derekgentile.