23rd Annual Thanksgiving Cross Country Classic Recap by Sharon Bart

steve outridge December 9, 2016

The perfect weather we special ordered for Thanksgiving morning was promptly delivered! Clear skies, little wind, lots of sunshine and temperatures in the 40s and 50s made for amazing racing conditions. We are thankful that the cold front waited a few days before moving in to Tucson. We hope you enjoyed this year’s Thanksgiving Cross Country Classic.

The women kicked off the 5K race at 8:00 am. With 860 participants in the field, competition was close. Drbe Kumsa took first place overall with a time of 19:34. Amy Wilson, formerly of Tucson and a 10-time All-American in both track and field and cross country, took second overall and first master’s just behind Kumsa with a time of 19:39. Third place overall was another fast master runner, Tia Accetta, placing first in her age group. It is great to see two  masters placing in the top three positions! First place age group winners are: 10 and under Sydney Davis, 11-13 Alivia Romaniuk, 14-16 Grace Driskill, 17-19 Sionna Johnson, 20-24 Hannah Whetzel, 25-29 Aleta Jokisch, 30-34 Mandy Pansing, 35-39 Kara Rubelt, 40-44 Tia Accetta, 45-49 Cindy Schnell, 50-54 Bridget Black, 55-59 Janet Holland, 60-64 Merry Dearmon, 65-69 Nancy Fuller, 70-74 Karen Ragland, 75-79 Phyllis Stensland. 

The next event was the men’s 5K beginning around 9:45 am. Andrew Lemoncello, a 2008 Olympian, easily took the men’s first overall position with a time of 15:18. The master’s winner was Sergio Osorio with a time of 18:05. Sergio also won last year’s master title and he managed to take a couple of seconds off of this year’s time. Congratulations Sergio! First place age group winners are: 10 and under James Perlman, 11-13 Ayden Schilb, 14-16 Koby Blackwater, 17-19 Nathan Thomas, 20-24 Daniel Wong, 25-29 Travis Burkel, 30-34 Robert Scribner (way to represent The Running Shop!), 35-39 Anthony Francisco, 40-44 Ramon Billy, 45-49 Dave Dixon, 50-54 Luis Carrion, 55-59 Roward Tim, 60-64 Benito Gonzales, 65-69 Buck Lentzer, 70-74 James L. Brown, 75-79 Pete Cunningham, 80 and over Frank Patania. Congratulations Gentlemen! Spotted in the field was Tucson’s five time Olympian, Bernard Lagat, running with his son Niiki Lagat.

The team competition was once again a strong race. The ladies team taking first place was WOG Women 1, with a combined time of 1:22:35, including the times of Tia Accetta, Kara Rubelt, Claire Hans and Katie Keating. Eyes on the Pies followed with a time of 1:31:51, including Amy Wilson, Grace Driskill, Jennifer Driskill and Michelle Skieresz. Third place team was WOG Women 2 at 1:42:17, followed by Pusch Ridge Lion Girls at 1:57:58, Fireball Runners at 2:00:11, The Pussyfoots at 2:11:55 and Kemaitch at 2:12:45. 

The men’s winning team was The Running Shop with Robert Scribner, Anthony Francisco, Charlie Ware and Randy Arriola combining their times for the winning 1:06:31. Unfortunately there was a timing issue for a team member on the second place team so they were not recognized at the awards ceremony. Congratulations to The Grande Donkeys, taking second place, with Eric Meyer, Joshua Velasquez, Patrick Thurber, and Jacob Steward with a time of 1:10:27. Third place men’s team was Pusch Ridge Lion Boys at 1:20:10, fourth place was WOG Men 1 at 1:27:07, fifth place was TRP Howling Coyotes at 1:29:55, sixth place was WOG Men 2 at 1:33:27, seventh place was JAGS 1:41:29, eighth place was Silver Bullets at 1:46:19 and last but not least was Kemaitch at 2:27:11. 

The 1.5 Mile Fun Run was the last event to take place. With an age range from one to eighty two, we always enjoy the smiles visible, especially as the water jumps are navigated. With over 1,050 participants in this event, it was a blast to watch. New this year was a lane opened for our wheelchair athletes and their running buddies, representing one of our beneficiaries, Team Hoyt Arizona. We heard about the challenge those hills gave to those pushing the wheel chairs but we also heard about how much fun was had. We hope we’ll see them again next year!

Oro Valley Photography was again our official photographer. Find your photo on their site by using your name or your bib number. We also hope you enjoyed the Photo Booth this year. I swear the pictures get better every year. It looks like the Photo Booth is much enjoyed! Visit http://www.orovalleyphotography.com/thanksgiving-cross-country-classic-tucson and be sure to order your favorite photos.

We can never give enough gratitude to those who make this event happen. Our sponsors help us keep entry fees low. Have you ever talked to a runner from another state and told them what you paid to run the Thanksgiving Cross Country Classic? I had a recent conversation with someone from central California and her response was “and how much do you pay for the shirt? What?! It’s included in the $20 entry fee? And there’s a photo booth? And fruit and bagels? And a DJ? What?!” So please give our sponsors some support as they’ve given to you. Thank you The Running Shop and Brooks! More thanks go to Sonic Drive In and Bashas’. Further gratitude is extended to Sierra Springs, Bruegger’s Bagels, DJ Rich, Craig Dabler Jewelry and Southern Arizona Roadrunners.

And we couldn’t succeed without our amazing volunteers! Next time you see Lucas Tyler, Diane Manzini, Itzel Marquez, Shirley Hester, Michelle Hawk, Sandy White, Marti and Stephan Ackermann, Sheryl and Steve Felde, Jessica Sheldon, Connie Lopez, Sarah Sheldon, Melissa Rose, Frank Herrera, Dennis Richards, Joe Faulk, Maureen Cunningham, Austin Grover, Kailee Grover, Lisa Schlink, Bill Hill, Larry Rundel, Andres Rivera, Heather Hopkins, Tim Bracker, Kristen Metzger, Tara Bruce, Rachel High, Doreen Davis and Ray Henson, be sure to say Thank You. Thank you each and every one of you! (If I missed your name, I truly apologize. Your contribution is greatly appreciated and the omission is not intentional.)

We appreciate all of the toys that were donated race morning and we are proud to contribute $2,250 to Toys For Tots. We are grateful for the volunteer Marines who gave their Thanksgiving morning to our event and that represented Toys for Tots. We are also honored to donate $800 to Team Hoyt AZ and appreciate all that they do to help the disabled participate in events.

A few more calls of appreciation to share: To Martin Pena, my co-race director, I couldn’t do this without you; To Lucas Tyler, who so patiently recruits volunteers and helps maintain my sanity at The Running Shop; To Chip Travers for always designing a fun new turkey and keeping our turkey current with the trends; To Greg Wenneborg and Roadrunner Race Timing for accurate results.

We wish Happy Holidays and an active and healthy 2017!

The Southern Arizona Roadrunners is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting health and fitness in Tucson and Southern Arizona through running and walking.

southern arizona road runners