21st Annual Thanksgiving Cross Country Classic
Thanksgiving 2014 began with over 2,500 runners and walkers enjoying the sunny morning at Reid Park. We observed many grins and heard giggling and laughter. Was it the hay bales? The sunshine? The amazing comradery that morning? Whatever the reason, we are thankful for the great turnout at the race and the many happy folks we got to share our morning with.
The race began with the women at 8:00 am. Bridgette Doucet won in a time of 19:06. Tia Accetta and Allie Keogh were second and third in 19:33. The masters’ winner was Jennifer Harrison in 21:39. The top women’s team was Sexy Ladies of WOG with a combined time of 1:22:12 with Katie Keating, Dari Duval, Claire Hans, and Michelle Hawk. Second place team was Mama WOG with a time of 1:25:44 with top four finishers Tia Accetta, Cara Payne, Stephanie Wenneborg and Alison Meadow. Those are some fast Mamas!
The men’s race started next at 8:45. Josh Fowler won in 16:09. Second was Poli Baltazar in 16:16 and third place in 16:27 was Anthony Francisco. Anthony has previously placed in the top two slots in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Welcome back Anthony! The men’s masters’ winner was Ramon Billy in 17:58. The men’s first place team this year is the All Stars-PIMA with Mark Bennett, Ahmed Mohamed, Amanuel Logo and Peter Gonzalez with a speedy time of 1:09:10. Close on their heels was team Tricats Boys, 1:10:00, with the top four finishers being Josh Fowler, Sean Anderson, Colin Reisenhauer and Jimmy Riccitello.
We are honored each year to see so many multi-generational families partake in the festivities. How amazing is it to see four generations at a sporting event?! We had participants from age 1 to age 88 register. How cool is that?! And it’s fun to see folks there that have been part of our running community for years. Jimmy Riccitello, a professional triathlete for over 20 years, brings his entire family out to participate each year. We’ve watched as his and Traci’s kids are growing up to be fine young people and athletes. Jeanne Anne Krizman is another former professional triathlete who also participates each year and brings the family. It’s a tribute to our running community to see former professional athletes raising their families in the sport and participating in events as a family! This year my granddaughter Avianna, who is three, not only ran her first fun run but also helped with the awards ceremony!
Oro Valley Photography is our official photographer and we were excited to have our first photo booth. We hope you took advantage of the opportunity and got your free photo. Check out your photos at orovalleyphotography.com.
I would like to say Thank You to so many who helped us continue this fun family gathering. My co-race director, Martin Pena, always sets up an accurate, well marked course. Lucas Tyler, my amazing co-worker at The Running Shop, does an excellent job in making sure all volunteer positions are covered. Southern Arizona Roadrunners, for helping promote the event and providing a group of volunteers to recruit. Brooks for providing shoes to our winners and Sonic Drive In for our trophies and medals. Chip Travers contributed his amazing artwork for our shirts yet again! Steve King and My Team Triumph also deserve a huge Thank You for the great coffee provided race morning. Thanks also to the U.S. Marines for representing Toys for Tots and to Bashas’, Bruegger’s Bagels and Culligan for helping keep our participants well fed and hydrated. DJ Rich for his always entertaining music and games and Craig Dabler Jewelers for helping with incentive for speed.
A huge Thank You to the many volunteers who spent their Thanksgiving morning contributing to our event: Eddie and Raquel Arriola, Marti and Stephan Ackermann, Guy McArthur, Connie Lopez, Michelle Hawk, Leo Richard, Buddy Martin, Erik Sanders, Maricruz Wilson, Ann Hollis, Monica Bermudez, Don Taylor, Marc Janis, Elli Christmann, Steve and Sheryl Felde, Gary Giese, Merry Dearman, Stephen Moore and Joe Faulk. I know there were many more of you out there but these are the names that were recorded. I want to say Thank You to each and every one of you. If I missed your name, I Thank You too. I did not intentionally miss you but I don’t know the names of our other volunteers. I do want to point out an exceptional volunteer again this year: Michelle Hawk! Not only did she spend her entire Wednesday here at the store managing registration, but she worked at registration before the women’s race, ran, and then took over handing out bagels per the Pima County Health Department regulations. Next time you see Michelle, thank her for keeping the race running smoothly.
Wishing everyone the merriest holiday season.