Women's Running Race brings community members together for 39th edition


Photo Gallery | 39th Women's Running Race at Berkshire Community College

Video | Fiona Ward, 7, ran the 5K of the Women's Running Race with her mom Jennifer.

Video | Megan Anello wins the Women's Running Race 5k.

PITTSFIELD — Mother's Day is a time for families to be together. And so it was at the 39th annual Women's Running Race.

"We ran this last year. We ran the 2.1 [miles] last year," said Jennifer Ward of Pittsfield, who ran the 5-kilometer race hand-in-hand with her seven-year-old daughter Fiona.

The Wards were two of 87 women of all ages who completed the 5 kilometers in the race that started and finished by the Paterson Field House at Berkshire Community College. Another 66 runners raced in the 1-mile run. Megan Anello of Windsor claimed the 5-k title, while Karli Manship of Pittsfield was the 1-mile winner in the races, which were run under overcast skies with a bit of intermittent drizzle.

"It's fun but it's hard," Fiona Ward said of the race.

"We did it last year," said her mother. "Now it will be a tradition for us."

It is part of a new tradition in the annual event. Kathy Korte, who picked up the mantle to run the Women's race thirty years ago, handed off the baton to Kent and Shiobbean Lemme of the Berkshire Running Center this year.

"It's unbelievable. It's great," said Korte, who smiles when she talks about what the race has become. "I just talked to someone whose daughter was [little] when she started. She's 16 now. That's really nice.

"It's really touched a large group of women."

The race, which began with some fanfare, has become a Berkshire County road race institution, much like the May Day races in Dalton and the Independence Day race along the Fourth of July parade route. But without Korte picking up the flag, the Women's Running Race might not be.

"They were going to drop it," she said. "The group that was doing it decided they couldn't do it anymore. There were like five of us who got together, met and scrambled to get something for the first year."

With a new team organizing the race comes a new race course. This year, the races were cut to 5 kilometers and 1 mile. Instead of running through the BCC Campus and then along West Street and a side street before finishing by the Field House. The new course for the 5-k includes a left turn on West down to Lillybrook Road and back to West. From there, it was down to Meadowview Drive and back to BCC.

As the 5-k runners turned onto West Street, there was a group of three runners running together. But by the time the runners made the turn onto Lillybrook, Anello had pulled ahead of Curtin and the rest of the field.

"It was a little bit hiller than I anticipated," Anello said. "I'm glad I wore an extra layer because the wind was in your face on the way out.

"It was good. It was a good race. I was glad the pace car was there, because I usually like to have someone to chase. I wasn't sure what my pace was."

As Anello took the little hill on Lillybrook, the pace car was the only thing standing between her and the finish line.

"I knew that if I kept my pace up that hill and back to the cul-de-sac, I knew I could make a bit of a gap."

For her part, Curtin said she knew Anello's pace was going to be a bit too much to make up.

"Pretty much on the straightaway when we got out" of BCC, said Curtin, when asked about Anello's move to the front. "Megan's a really good runner. I could see her in the distance, and I knew I wasn't going to catch her. I tried to maintain my spot."

Anello crossed the finish line first in 21 minutes, 7 seconds, while Curtin ran the 5-k in 21:59. Cassandra Lane was third in 22:08, followed by Cynthia Gardner in 23:21.

And the aforementioned Fiona Ward won her age group and was 38th out of 87 finishers in 31:29.36. Her mom was next at 31:29.43.

The winner of the 1-mile race is a distance runner at Taconic High School, and was using the race as a training run.

"It felt great out there. It felt great to win," said Manship. "It was really fast. It was faster than I thought it would be. It was over really quick."

Manship finished the mile in 5:41. Jen Ward, who ran with her daughter in the 5-k, hopped into the mile and finished second in 6:24. That was four seconds ahead of 12-year old Calie Champoux.


5-kilometer race

Top 20 finishers

1. Megan Anello, 21 minutes, 7 seconds; 2. Anita Curtin, 21:59; 3. Cassandra Lane, 22:08; 4. Cynthia Gardner, 23:21; 5. Mary Sheehan 23:38; 6. Makailey Cookis, 23:46; 7. Helen Curtin, 23:57; 8. Mia Zuccalo, 24:17; 9. Amy Boyington, 24:20; 10. Jodie Lahey, 24:52.

11. Jill Pompi, 24:56; 12. Catherine Lampiasi, 25:59; 13. Kelsey Falkowski, 26:05; 14. Heather Mumford, 26:07; 15. Michaela Grady, 26:13; 16. Donna Lusignan, 26:27; 17. Danielle Weber, 26:55; 18. Stephanie Nebesnak, 27:39; 19. Barbara McMahon, 27:43; 20. Alison Berlin, 27:47.

1-mile race

Top 20 finishers

1. Karli Manship, 5:41; 2. Jen Ward, 6:24; 3. Calie Champoux, 6:28; 4. Mya Wiles, 6:34; 5. Eliana Clark, 6:40; 6. Ciary Conyers, 6:46; 7. Jill Pompi, 7:04; 8. Natalie Pompi, 7:11; 9. Courtney Failla, 7:39; 10. Melissa Pixley, 7:45.

11. Cecilia Pixley, 7:46; 12. Samar Hall, 7:46; 13. Mohamed Ait Hazem, 7:54; 14. Amanda Donahue, 7:56; 15. Hanna Lusignan, 8:06; 16. Soumya Ait Hazem, 8:10; 17. Caitlyn Lusignan, 8:30; 18. Brenda Vella, 8:46; 19. Caprese Conyers, 8:48; 20. Bryn Angelini, 9:03.

Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.


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