Lemme wins 31st edition of the Pittsfield Independence Day Race
Photo Gallery | Independence Day 5K Race
PITTSFIELD — Kent Lemme has been competing long enough to know that when he shows up at a race like the Independence Day Race, he isn't quite sure until the gun goes off if he has a chance.
"I wasn't thinking at all that I was going to win today. It always depends on who shows up," Lemme said, minutes after winning the 31st annual edition of the Fourth of July 5-kilometer race.
"At the start line, I was looking around, and I said you know, I may have another shot at it this year."
For the second time in three years, Lemme is the Independence Day Race champion. The Pittsfield resident covered the 5k course in 16 minutes, 9 seconds. That time was nine seconds slower than Tucker McNinch's winning time last year, and 22 seconds slower than the 15:47 time he won in two years ago.
Steve Dowsett and Mark Rabasco flipped finishes from last year. On Monday, Dowsett was second in 16:21, one second faster than his time of last year. Rabasco, who was second in 2015, was third this year in 16:21.
Janet Barry, a Lenox native, came home for the holidays and will return to Charlotte, N.C. with her second women's championship in as many seasons. Her time was 18:50.
"It's different, that's for sure. I'm mixing up my training routines with cross-fit and more upper body things," said Barry, a successful Spartan racer. "This was another kind of check-in to see where I'm at this season.
"The time was a little slow, but I raced hard."
Race director Ted Kellar said there were more than 1,200 runners registered for the 31st annual event. According to the final results found on plattsys.com, 1,150 finished.
It was a bit warmer of a day than what runners normally love. The sun was out and the temperatures were in the mid 70s.
A group of about 10 runners, with Lemme, Dowsett and Rabasco in it, separated from the mass start as they came past Wahconah Park. By the time the runners turned onto North Street, the first pack started to thin. And when the runners hit Carr Hardware for the first time, Rabasco, Lemme and Dowsett were alone. Rabasco was holding the lead through downtown with Lemme on his heels.
But as the runners made the turn at Housatonic Street, Lemme made his move past both Rabasco and Dowsett.
"The first mile was pretty slow, relatively speaking," said Dowsett. "I was pretty much maxed out, just hanging on to the back of those guys. When Kent made his move, I held tough and was only a couple of seconds back.
"I figured that move would break one of them. Then Mark fell back and I passed him."
Rabasco said he felt good during the entire five kilometers, but Lemme was just too much for him.
"He made his move and I just couldn't stay with it," said Rabasco. "I was pretty relaxed. It was an overall good race for me."
It got to be an "overall good race" for Lemme as he made his way up South Street. By the time he got to Park Square, he was in control. He was third as Rabasco and Dowsett started moving away, so Lemme said he surged to catch them.
"I was thinking when I got to the shady part of North Street, that's when I was going to make my move. I tested Mark with one surge and he went with me," said Lemme. "I said 'OK, let's see if he was recovered and I put a second one in.' I heard him breathing hard, so I said 'OK, just keep going.'
"I ran hard from there to the finish."
In the women's race, Barry finished 22nd overall, and her time was 21 seconds slower than last year's winning time. Sarah Bryan was second among the women, and 53rd overall in 19:55, while Daisy Dolan was third and 58th overall in 20:01.
"I felt good going out, but then I started hurting a little bit," said Barry. "I pushed hard and did my best today."
Nobody set any records, but it was a good day.
"It's probably going to go down as one of the slowest winning times ever," said Lemme, who won for the second time as a Masters racer. "It's a race, so it's just about the place you get, not the time. Right?"
Top 20 finishers
1. Kent Lemme, Pittsfield, 16 minutes, 9 seconds; 2. Steve Dowsett, Newburyport, 16:21; 3 . Mark Rabasco, Pittsfield, 16:24; 4. Brian Mongeon, Stowe, 16:41; 5. Nicholas Curelop, Housatonic, 17;17; 6. Phillippe Mortelliti, Tucson, Ariz., 17:18; 7. Matt Rabasco, Pittsfield, 17:19; 8. Matt Cartier, Ashley Falls, 17:33; 9. Tim Allard, Pittsfield, 17:50; 10. Nate Bruno, Pittsfield, 17:53.
11. Chong-Hwan Son, Latham, N.y., 17:56; 12. Mike Spitzer, Sheffield, 18:01; 13. Brandon Williams, Pittsfield, 18:02; 14. Sam Harding, Lee, 18:03; 15. Edson Chipalo, Albany, N.Y., 18:05; 16. Conor Newton, Clifton Park, N.Y., 18:06; 17. Ethan Carpenter, Ellicott City, Md., 18:11; 18. James McMahon, 18:15; 19. Jesse Arevalo, Lee, 18:35; 20. Gregory Herrman, Pittsfield, 18:41.
Top 10 women
23. Janet Barry, Lenox, 18:50; 53. Sarah Bryan, Burlington, 19:55; 58. Daisy Dolan, Hood River, 20:01; 59, Michelle Kroboth, Pittsfield, 20:04; 66. Jenny Kurz, White Plains, N.Y., 20:17; 70. Megan Anello, Windsor, 20:22; 81. Grace Phair, Pittsfield, 20:45; 84. Meryl Phair, Pittsfield, 20:50; 86. Heather Williams, Pittsfield, 21:02; 90. Eleni Kanavas, 21:04.
Age 10 under — Female: Olivia Gamberoni, Dalton, 23:09. Male: Noah Poirer, Pittsfield, 22:50.
11-15 — Female: Grace Phair, Pittsfield, 20:45. Male: Keveen Delgado, Pittsfield, 19:18.
16-19 — Female: Meryl Phair, Pittsfield, 20:50. Male: Phillippe Mortelitti, Tucson, Ariz., 17:18.
20-29 — Female: Caleigh Tansey, New York, N.Y., 21:27. Male: Nate Bruno, Pittsfield, 17:53.
30-39 — Female: Megan Anello, Windsor, 20;22. Tim Allard, Pittsfield, 17:50.
40-49 — Female: Laura Sexton, 21:05. Male: Matt Cartier, Ashley Falls, 17;33.
50-59 — Female: Marry Sheehan, Lenox Dale, 22:30. Male: Chong-Hwan Son, Latham, N.Y., 17:56.
60-69 — Female: Laurie Brenner, Lanesborough, 25:46. Male: Larry Litscher, East Longmeadow, 21:35.
70-79 — Female: Catherine Roberts, Pittsfield, 32:37. Male: John Krol Sr., Pittsfield, 26:57.
80-over — Male: Joseph Kelly, Menands, N.Y., 39:23.
Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.