KINGSTON TWP. — Tony Korch ran to his fifth victory in the Wyoming Valley Striders Fall Trail Run on Sunday at Frances Slocum State Park.
“Today I ran, getting strength from (Jen Stec),” said Korch, 55, of Nanticoke, referring to his best friend and running partner who died in October, two years ago at age 35. “Jen gave me the ability to do this. It’s two years now since she died and I miss her very much.”
The Striders Fall Trail Run is an age group handicap race. The handicaps were determined by the World Masters Association, an organization that collects statistics on how much runners slow down with age. The format gives older runners a chance to pull off big wins. The handicaps are determined mathematically according to age and gender. These runners are given head starts. The clock starts ticking when the first heat , featuring older females, begins.
Korch’s winning time, 51:44, includes the added time given to those who were given head starts while he waited for his turn to start. Joe Drumsta, 47, of Scranton, finished second in 56:25.
Korch has won the spring version of Striders trail runs four times.
The head start helped Patti Turissini, age 63, from Scott Township, finish first among the females. She finished eighth in 1 hour and 27 minutes. Ashley Shamus, 28, of Clarks Summit, was the second female to finish, clocking in at 62:28 in 13th place.
“The (age group handicaps) worked to my advantage — I loved it!,” Turissini said.
Another thing that helped were the hills on the course.
“I love running hills,” she said. “And this is a good course for that. In fact, it was almost too many hills. That last hill, near the end of the race, really did me in. The course is very challenging. But it’s a fun one.”
Turissini started running at age 57. Her first race that year was the Utica Boilermaker 5K in Utica, N.Y. The Boilermaker — one of the best races in the USA — also features a 15K (9.3 miles). Turissini’s second race, that same year, was the Steamtown Marathon.
The field of 84 runners is a record.
Wyoming Valley Striders 28th Annual
5-1/2 mile Fall Trail Run Results
Top 20 medal winners
1. Tony Korch, 55, Nanticoke, 51:41
2. Joe Drumsta, 56, Scranton, 56:25
3. Bob Warnagiris, 56, Hunlock Creek, 58:25
4. John Martino, 31, Dallas, 58:59
5. Markus Antila, 35, Clarks Summit, 59:38
6. Jeff Baran, 55, Bear Creek Twp., 60:01
7. Randy Lyban, 46, Dupont, 60:09
8. Patti Turissini, 63, Scott Twp., 60:27
9. Dan Rosa, 45, W. Pittston, 60:54
10. Mike Kerrick, 26, Clarks Summit, 61:38
11. Ron Lozowski, 46, Warren Glen, 61:48
12. Leo Turissini, 63, Scott Twp., 62:16
13. Ashley Shamus, 28, Clarks Summit, 62:28
14. Debbi Alunni, 64, Jessup, 62:42
15. James Cole, 42, Plymouth Twp., 63:01
16. Deana Manzoni, 47, Dallas, 63:23
17. Brian Hoffman, 35, Berwick, 63:24
18. Jeff Hynick, 41, Lehman Twp., 63:27
19. Bob Guzenski, 48, W. Wyoming, 63:28
20. Frank Richards, 43, Taylor, 63:38
Field: 84 registered. 80 starters (48 males, 32 females, four no shows), record.
Official starter: Vince A. Wojnar. Timing: Vince A. Wojnar. Results: Wyoming Valley Striders. Race directors: Don Grose and Linda Wojnar.
Sunday: Jewish Community Center of Wyoming Valley’s Benjamin August Memorial 3 Mile Run/Walk at the JCC, S. River St., Wilkes-Barre at 10:30 a.m. Info: Bill Buzza, 570-208-0264, ext. 232.
Sunday, Nov. 8: Wyoming Valley Striders 20K Run at Lehigh Gorge State Park, White Haven at 9 a.m. Info: Linda Wojnar, 570-474-5363.
Thursday, Nov. 26 (Thanksgiving): Berwick Marathon Association’s (9 mile) Run for the Diamonds at Market and Second streets, Berwick at 10:30 a.m. Info: Margaret Livsey, 570-579-1300.
Reach Times Leader sports at 570-829-7143 or on Twitter @tlsports.