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Saturday, March 30, 2002 -- Winchester, VA
Rotary 5K & Kids Race (iPO Event Id#: 4995)
Story and photos contributed by Karsten Brown and Jen Peachey from the SVR.

[Details] [Coverage]
Results: [Overall Results] [Results by Class] [Kids Race]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5]
[2000 Event Coverage] [2001 Event Coverage]

Rotary Shelter, Jim Barnett Park - Conditions were relatively warm and muggy early on Saturday March 30th in Winchester, VA, but a strong breeze heralded a bizarre three-hour cold front which arrived just in time for the third annual Rotary 5K. Temperatures dropped into the upper 50s by the start, and aside from the wind, it was a fine morning for running. But just 59 runners took the rolling tour around Jim Barnett Park and the grounds of Shenandoah University. The organizers postulated that the drop from the 90 finisher total last year was due to the fact that this year's race fell on the weekend of Easter, when many runners might be out of town or spending time with their families. (Apparently no churches bothered to check the ol' running calendar before they scheduled Easter this year!)

Bolting out into a quick lead was 24-year-old Shepherd College junior Michael Brosenne, who had won the St. Bridget's Feet for Freedom 5K in Berryville, VA one week earlier. The runner-up at that race, 35-year-old Winchester lawyer Mark Vann, waited patiently in second place during the Rotary 5K's early downhills. By the time the pair reached the long uphill stretch on Pleasant Valley Road at mile two, Vann had caught up to Brosenne. At that point, said Brosenne, "I ran out of gas." Vann strode to the finish for his first overall win of the year in 17:49, while Brosenne hung on for second in 18:17.

The third overall finisher turned out to be the first woman: 30-year-old Brenda Schrank, who crossed the finish line in 19:11. When asked how she ran, Schrank replied, "I had a good first mile and a good third mile, but a baaaad second mile." She was reassured when she learned later that the mile marks had been placed incorrectly. (Not to worry, folks-- the full 5K distance was certified!) Schrank, who moved to Winchester from Colorado at the beginning of the year, just happens to be a neighbor of race director Chris Northrup, and she's quietly beginning to dominate the local running scene.

Weaky Weak, a mysterious 45-year-old from Winchester, was not quite able to catch Schrank at the end, but he did manage to fend off George Mason University student Charles Bowles for the third male overall award. Bowles, notorious for his conservative starts and mad finish line dashes, fell short of Weaky's time of 19:16 by just one second.

With three Masters awards for each sex, the Rotary 5K is quite generous to runners over the age of 39. 57-year-old Jason Page of Hamilton, VA, looked like an early favorite for the top male Masters award, but an overly ambitious start left him gasping by the halfway point. Martinsburg's Mike Meadows, 44, was there to take advantage of Page's mistake, finishing in 20:05 to Page's 20:14. Longtime Shenandoah Valley Runners member Randy Wingfield, a teacher at James Wood Middle School across town, wound up with the third place male Masters spot in 21:10.

Back to the women-- 29-year-old Jennifer Ganoung went out fast but hung on for second overall. The government contractor from Hedgesville, WV held off speedy Fauquier County resident Monika Bracken, finishing in 20:38 to Bracken's 20:45. The race for the female Masters awards was just as close. 40-year-old Karen Gonyo of Stephens City eeked her way into the top spot with her 23:55 finish, staying four seconds ahead of 2000 Masters winner Kathy Manzo, 47, and nine seconds ahead of Manzo's good buddy Lorie Weimar, 40.

Medals were also given to the top three finishers in five-year age groups, and with so few runners participating, nearly everyone took home a medal. Every woman in the race won an award, and just seven men were unlucky enough to have too much company in their age groups. Still, it's hard to complain about those odds!

Of course it wouldn't be the Rotary 5K & Kids Run without the kids run, so after the 5K was over, twelve or thirteen youngsters lined up to see how fast they could run a quarter mile. Mind you, the kids run was just for fun and wasn't timed, and most (if not all) of the children seemed to enjoy it that way. 10-year-old Jimmy Dingess enjoyed it too, but he was also hoping to be the first to the finish line. And win he did! We're not sure who was the top girl, alas. The author also saw at least three runners take spills during the event, starting with poor McKenzie Schrank right at the starting line. She cried for the remainder of the race-- except for when a camera was pointed at her. Another youngster, a persistently smiling boy in red, pitched over about three-quarters of the way through the race, but not even that loss of balance could wipe the goofy grin off of his face. The youngest participants were the most fun to watch, needless to say. One got the sense that they weren't quite sure what the point of all this was, but it sure was neat to get a medal and to have all these people cheering for them!

Many thanks to race director Chris Northrup, who put on a quality race with help from his fellow Winchester Rotarians and the Shenandoah Valley Runners ( Proceeds from the race will be benefitting Rotary Charities. And helping to boost those proceeds were the race's sponsors: Jim Stutzman Chevrolet, Cadillac, & Buick; H.N. Funkhouser, Co.; Edward Jones; Action Mortgage; Powhatan School; National Fruit Products; Linden Heights Animal Hospital; Virginia Property Group, Inc.; Valley Health System; Signet Screen Printing & Embroidery; DK Industrial Services; Apple Blossom Mall; Philip S. Griffin II, P.C.; and Clarke Motors. Let's also thank the Winchester Police, the Winchester Parks & Recreation Department, Mark Stickley, and Neal Riemenschneider for their valuable assistance. And of course we bow to for posting our results and pictures. Hopefully we'll have more runners next March at the fourth annual Rotary 5K & Kids Run!