Racers beat the heat in annual Independence Day Road Race
PITTSFIELD -- It was a record field of runners but no course records at Thursday morning's annual Independence Day Road Race.
The individual winners leant a local flavor to the race, as Pittsfield's Kevin Quadrozzi, Taconic Class of 2005, UMass Class of 2009, was the overall winner in 15:40. On the women's side Emily Mareb of Great Barrington (and the Windy Hill Farm Marebs), won her division for the second time in three years.
Temperatures pushed into the high 70s and low 80s on Thursday morning, which made for a hot day of running. In addition 1,477 runners participated, easily the most runners who have ever run the Independence Day Race, according to race director Michael Hogue.
The previous record of 1,265 was last year, said Hogue.
Quadrozzi took the lead early and was never headed.
"There was a guy running with me for a little while, but I didn't see him after a while. I don't know where he finished," said Quadrozzi.
The Pittsfield native last ran the race in 2010, finishing second. He said he has only run one race this season prior to this event.
"It was a lot hotter out there today than it was a couple years ago," he said. "But I felt pretty good the whole way."
Five-time Independence Day race winner David Raucci of Germantown, N.Y. was second in 16:13 and veteran runner Kent Lemme of Pittsfield was third in 16:22.
Mareb, a Great Barrington native now living and working in New York City, won the women's race in 2011.
"I was pretty much in the lead from the get-go," she said. "Which is amazing, because the heat was ridiculous, and I do not run well in the heat. That is well-known. But overall, I felt pretty comfortable, if hot."
Race organizers reported no major problems. A handful of runners got sick at the finish line, but were quickly hydrated.
"Yeah, it was hot and very claustrophobic in the pack at the starting line," said runner Jason Macioge of Lenox.
The event is sponsored by Berkshire Medical Center, and volunteers had sprinklers set up on the lawn adjacent to the finish line at Wahconah Park to cool off the athletes.
"We've had 28 of these so far," said Hogue, who has been a part of all 28, "and I think it's been hot for all but about three of them. It's July. It's hot. Maybe if someone would move the Fourth of July to April, the weather would be better."
Hogue noted that a vast majority of the runners are from the Northeast, and realize the potential for problems.
As for the turnout, Hogue admitted that he didn't really know why the interest seems to keep growing.
"I don't really know," he said. He said that the $11 entry fee, which is a lower fee than almost any other race in the county, may contribute.
"In addition to running in the race, you get a tee shirt," he said. "For 11 bucks, that's a good deal."
Full results are available at www.plattsysstems.com.
To reach Derek Gentile:
or (413) 496-6251.
On Twitter: @DerekGentile
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.