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Chester County Press

Annual Kennett Run enjoys new course, same camaraderie

05/23/2017 02:49PM ● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw
Staff Writer

Soon after race director J.J. Simon signaled the start of the 10K race at the 28th annual Kennett Run on May 20, Betsy Spence of Unionville looked for another runner with whom she could keep pace. Karen Antell of Landenberg, running slightly ahead of her through Anson B. Nixon Park and along State Street, was that person.
They nearly collided at a water stop. Antell almost hit Spence with a water cup. She apologized, and Spence replied, “I've been right behind you the whole way. You're setting my pace.”
Strangers when the race began, they crossed the finish line together.
In celebration of Joe O'Malley's 75th birthday, several members of the O'Malley family, from Princeton, N.J. and Kennett Square, donned light blue jerseys to commemorate the occasion. Dripping with perspiration at the conclusion of their races, they gathered at the party in the park for a late morning of pizza, bananas, doughnuts and beer.
Nine-year-old Hunter Sayles joined his mother, Melissa, in running the 5K race, and after finishing,  helped himself to several doughnuts. By 10:30, he was lined up to participate in the one-mile Fun Run around the lagoons, where he finished in second place. 
For every pair of sneakered feet that crossed the start and finish lines last Saturday morning, there were stories just like these, as hundreds of both competitive and weekend runners took to the race's new course on a 60-degree day.
For the first time, Anson B. Nixon Park served as the event's center point, a move made by Kennett Run officials earlier this year to consolidate operations and showcase the business center of Kennett Square.  As the Party in the Park got under way,  Kennett Run Charities president Christopher Daney pointed to the hundreds of runners, their families and community members who were gathering near the food tents, vendor areas and the Two Stones beer booth.
“I talked to a lot of the runners, who were very, very positive about the new course, and a lot of people just attending here today are very pleased about doing everything in Anson B. Nixon Park,” Daney said. “To me, it made the Kennett Run more of a community event. I talked to a man I know who runs a lot of marathons, and he told me that he really loved running on State Street. Others told me the same thing, because they got to see everything in downtown Kennett Square.”
In the winners' categories, Kyle Dawson of Philadelphia won the Men's 10K with a time of 32:29, followed by Darryl Brown of Exton, who finished in 32:41, and Garret Lee of Littleton, Colo., who clocked in with a time of 35:33.
In the Women's 10K, Leah Anne Wirfel of Slippery Rock, Pa., finished in first place with a time of 35:44; Katie Rodden of Ardmore took second place with a time of 38:09; and Kari Springer took third in 40:34.
In the Men's 5K, Colin Leak of Chadds Ford finished first with a time of 15:01, followed by Eric Chirchir of Irvington, N.J., with a time of 15:07; and in third place, Owen Dawson of Coatesville finished in 15:43.
Emily Hulme of Easton, Pa., won the Women's 5K in a time of 18:03, followed by Makdes Tadese Bekele of Floral Park, N.Y., with a time of 18:45, and Rachel Hyzny of Kennett Square with a time of 20:28.
NOVA Timing Systems served as the official timer of the race. For complete race results, visit

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].