Despite rain, Kennett Run draws 600 competitors
● By Richard Gaw
The rain that fell on Kennett Square during the morning of May 19 was unrelenting and at times, pelting, but no one seemed to inform the 600 competitors at the 29th annual Kennett Run that rain generally dampens the spirit.
Instead, much like children at a mud puddle, runners emerged from protective tents at Anson B. Nixon Park, lined up at the start of the 5K and 10K, and proceeded to frolic along a course that scissored its way through the park and along State Street in downtown Kennett Square, and back again.
For Christopher Daney, the president of Kennett Run Charities, there was never a doubt that Kennett Square's most popular race was going to go off without a hitch. He and local police had spent the early morning examining the course, which they said was suitable for running.
“It was going to be rain or shine,” Daney said before the race. “Runners are going to run, rain or shine or snow or wind. They're going to get wet, but they're going to have fun.”
From a field of 165 runners in the John Schultz Memorial 10K race's mens' division, Joshua Hibbs of Philadelphia won with a time of 32:23; and was followed by Darryl Brown of Eaton, 34:06; and Andrew Hinrichs of Reading, 35:50. In the womens' division, Kimberly Cary of West Chester finished in first place with a time of 40:52, and was followed by Leigh Manning-Smith of West Chester, 41:21; and Athena Manolakos of Wilmington, 44:05.
Kent Hall of Kennett Square finished first in a field of 402 runners in the 5K mens' division, with a time of 16:12. He was followed by Gavin Maxwell of Kennett Square, 17:29; and Tim Garver of Downingtown, 17:47. In the womens' division, Abby Dean of Philadelphia won with a time of 18:50, followed by Sara Damiano of Austin, TX, 20:24; and Kennedy Zednik of Downingtown, 23:28.
In the annual Joe Hector PoweRun biathlon's 5K competition, Oscar Galvan of Plymouth Meeting beat out 24 competitors, and was followed by Jorge Maldonado of Lincoln University and Devid Elsen of Vienna, Va. In the womens' division, Jessica White of Landenberg finished in first place, followed by Jennifer Abracht of Kennett Square and Loretta Perna of Kennett Square.
In the 10K event that had a field of 18 entrants, Jesus Juarez of Lincoln University finished in first place, followed by Micahel Perna of Kennett Square and William Granche of Ridgeway, Pa.
Nova Timing Systems again served as the official timer for the Kennett Run.
For as many runners that compete every year, the Kennett Run is known for an equal number of stories, told by competitors who choose to run for specific reasons. As he limbered in the rain just prior to the start of the John Schultz Memorial 10K Run, Christopher Kratz, a member of the Kennett High School track team, was joined by his mother, Lisa, whom he invited to join him.
“She's been so supportive of me over the past five years, since I began running competitively in the eighth grade,” Kratz said. “She's come to every race of mine, and when she said to me, 'I want to run a race with you,' I thought that we'd run together at the Kennett Run.”
“The last time I ran competitively was in 1982, when I was a junior in high school,” said Lisa, who competed in the 5K race. “My kids are my inspiration. Otherwise, I would be at home on the couch, watching the Royal Wedding. Chris is my role model, because he was the slowest kid in creation when he was younger. He used to run the bases in Little League and we'd be yelling at him to run faster.”
The Kennett Run also served to highlight causes again this year. Ruth Ann Deveney, Tiffany Lahn and Becky Minder each wore dresses through their race, in recognition of the Dressember Foundation, an organization that raises awareness, action and funding to end human trafficking around the world. The foundation's main event for Dressember is a challenge to advocates to wear a dress every day during December, but this year, the foundation hosted a 5K event in Los Angeles on May 20.
“The foundation is encouraging advocates, wherever they are, to participate in races,” Deveney said. “We're wearing dresses in the race as conversation starters, about how human trafficking is unfortunately very prevalent around the world, but that everyone can do something to make a difference, in small ways.”
For a complete list of all finishers in each competition, visit www.kennettrun.net/results.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email firstname.lastname@example.org.