The members of the Greater Derry Track Club (GDTC) who were involved with the second annual 5K and 10K Run For Freedom events in Derry on July 4 wound up with many reasons to be pleased with the way the day went.
“Weather conditions at the 7:30 a.m. start were warm and quite humid, yet spirits were high among runners and spectators,” said GDTC spokesperson Bonney Cashin, who ran the 5K race.
About 170 runners – many from the local area – finished the two races.
A total of 116 runners finished the 5K race, with 22-year-old Kyle Williams of Newmarket finishing first in 17 minutes and 16 seconds, and former Pinkerton Academy standout athlete Cayla Pellegrini as the first woman across the finish line – an excellent fourth overall – in 19:53.
The first two Derry finishers of the 5K were Mike Fraysse (17:36, second overall) and Pellegrini, and the first two Londonderry finishers were recent Londonderry High graduate and former running star Makayla D’Urso (21:23, 10th overall) and Dennis Wieners (26:41, 33rd overall).
The 10K had a strong Pinkerton flavor, with former PA athletic stalwart Doug Ainscow winning in 36:26 and Hampstead resident Amy Bernard – a coach and teacher at the Derry school who was also a running standout at Pinkerton during her high school years – leading the women to the finish line (40:07) and finishing fifth overall out of a field of 54 finishers.
One feature of the longer race was a good-natured competition between two armed forces teams – one from the Army and the other from the Air Force – with each team consisting of three members.
The runners of both races set out from the starting line onto Bypass 28 in front of Pinkerton, turned onto Tsienneto Road (5K) or English Range Road (10K) to Route 102, and ran back to Pinkerton.
The 5K participants included a group of beginning runners who trained with members of the GDTC during the club’s eight-week “Couch to 5K” program.
Local age group winners in the 5K event included Caryn Pepin of Derry in the women’s 20-29 division (22:08, 13th overall), Bonney Cashin of Derry in the women’s 60-69 class (35:19, 85th), and the unstoppable Sachiko Burkinshaw of Londonderry in the ladies’ 70-99 division (35:35, 88th).
Area age group winners in the 10K race included 12-year-old Michael Delmore of Londonderry in the 19-and-under males’ grouping (59:47, 36th overall), former Pinkerton running stalwart Jon Alizio in the males’ 30-39 class (39:26, fourth overall), Maria Checket of Derry in the ladies’ 40-49 division (48:57, 14th), Michael Gallagher of Derry in the men’s 50-59 class (51:26, 17th), and Cindy McNally of Derry in the women’s 50-59 division (52:03, 18th).
All proceeds from the races will be donated to Liberty House in Manchester, a non-profit organization sponsored by the Manchester Veterans of Foreign Wars that offers transitional housing, medical care, and job assistance to homeless veterans in the Granite State.
All participants were asked to donate a non-perishable food item to help restock local food banks.