By David Yon
Over the course of a year, GWTC stages 15 or so races and helps with many others. But for each club race, there is a unique place that makes it special. Women’s Distance Festival doesn’t get the most attention or the biggest crowds. Nevertheless, it is a quality event that celebrates the accomplishments of women, especially in running. Its all-women’s start ten minutes ahead of the men’s start is unique as is the beautiful course through Indian Head acres across all the Nene streets.
I remember reading the stories of Lynn Jennings, one of the top US women runners, running with the boys cross country team because there were no girls to run with. I remember Grete Waitz teaching the world that women could not just run marathons, but could run them really well as she won the New York City Marathon year after year. Then she taught us about even more important qualities of women when she ran a 5 plus hour marathon with a cancer stricken Fred Lebow, New York City’s most famous race director.
Ok, I know this is just a local 5K, but you get my drift, it has its special place. And this year Lydia Veal led all runners across the finish line winning in a time of 21:38 just under a minute ahead of second place finisher Kirsten Baggett. Lisa Echeverri took the masters title with a time of 23:19. On the men’s side, Jimmy Graham grabbed first place with a time of 18:16. Kurt Dietrich was second with a time of 18:24. Bill McCord was the top master with a time of 18:28.
Magnolia’s new running team made a huge impact on the mile, as Michael Hnatiuti won in a time of 6:39 and Alexandra Holliday captured the girls title. Both are running for new coach Judy Alexander.