Beneath sunny skies, 30th annual Kennett Run draws 900 competitors
● By Richard Gaw
The start of the 10K race kicked off the 30th annual Kennett Run on May 11, which drew 900 competitors and hundreds of spectators to Anson B. Nixon Park in Kennett Square.
As the early-morning sun shone through the trees and pathways of Anson B. Nixon Park last Saturday, the welcome relief that the 30th annual Kennett Run would get underway in great weather was quickly upstaged by dozens of runners who took the theme of “Run Like It's 1989” and, well, ran with it.
One year removed from the 2018 Kennett Run – which was held in a consistent rain shower -- a field of more than 900 competitors joined hundreds of community members on May 11 that featured an overabundance of big hair, spandex, knee-high socks, short shorts, all of which was magnified by the continuous blare of period pop music.
While the pre- and post-race gatherings served as the stage to rock the look, the 2019 Kennett Run also fielded a serious cadre of competitors, who ran in the 10K, 5K and the Joe Hector PoweRun.
The top finishers in the 10K were Daryl Brown of Exton, with a time of 33:50; and Leah Anne Wirfel of Fredonia, Pa., who took the top women's position with a time of 36:33.4.
Chris Mullin on Norristown took first place in the 5K with a time of 16:10.9, while Jen Fiorillo of West Chester finished first among women runners with a time of 18:58.
In the Joe Hector 10K PoweRun, Michael Perna of Kennett Square won the men's division with a time of 40:42.5 and Kelly McConnell-Cox took first place in the women's division with a time of 46:51.7; while in the Joe Hectore 5K PoweRun, Tucker Opdahl of West Chester won in the men's division with a time of 23:34.2, and Rachael Odorisio of West Chester took top honors in the women's division with a time of 27:46.6.
“The Kennett Run has a history of bringing some out-of-town runners who really like to take on a challenging course,” said Kennett Charities, Inc. President B. Christoper Daney. “This year, we had a lot of runners from Philadelphia, Ardmore, some who have run in the Boston Marathon, and the winner of last year's Mushroom Cap 13. 1 Half Marathon last fall. They tell us that they enjoy the race because it gives them the opportunity to compete against some very strong runners.”
when putting on this race every year, we're always concerned about safety, you're always concerned about safety for the runners and walkers. We spent more than $20,000 on renovations to improve the asphalt on our roads and trails, as well as major trail repair in the last few weeks, so that there wouldn't be any issues.”
In what has become a Kennett Run tradition, the competition brought out competitive runners and weekend warriors, as well as a colorful blend of locals and out-of-towners. Kennett Square native
“When I was watching the news before the race, I thought it was going to be cloudy so it was nice that the sun was out, and that there was a nice breeze as well,” said 10K winner Brown, who first competed at the Kennett Run in 1996, and has been a competitive runner for the past 15 years. “I just ran the Broad Street marathon a week ago, and I'm in the middle of a five-week training to prepare for another marathon, so I just wanted to run relaxed and not have to race and just get a good workout.
“I just wanted to maintain my pace and not have to work very hard. I'm just glad that it worked out for the best. Coming back to my hometown, it's always nice to have people supporting me.”
Wearing a wig that was reminiscent of the hair bands of the early days of MTV, Juan Pablo Galvez Fuentes was a first-time competitor, having just arrived from Chile at the invitation of his sister, who lives in Chester County.
“She told me about the race and said, 'a lot of people there running will run will look a lot like you, Juan,'” said Fuentes, who also sported a mutton chop mustache, retro sunglasses and short red shorts.
“I thought the eighties were done years ago, but it was really nice to see people get into the spirit and fun of what the Kennett Run also stands for,” Daney said.
For 10K PoweRun competitor Christopher Williams and his wife Ella – who ran the 5K – the Kennett Run holds a special significance.
“We were married on May 19, 2001, so this has become our anniversary race, and we run it together,” said Christoper, who trained on his own for the last eight weeks to prepare for the event. He then pointed to his wife, who wore a shirt that read, “I hate running.”
“I'm a fitness guy and I enjoy running, but Ella does the Kennett Run for love,” Christopher said.
Since it began in 1989, Kennett Charities, Inc. has contributed more than $1 million to local charities. To learn more about the Kennett Run and for official race results of the 2019 5K, 10K and PoweRun competition, visit www.kennettrun.net.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email firstname.lastname@example.org.