Jim Flint's Runners Roundup, Sports

Taska and Thornton-Sherman Duel at Spring Race

photo by Darrel Lassell
Tim Hogeboom (No. 1107) won the M70-79 age group at the Barre Town Spring Run in 24:57. His spouse, Elizabeth McCarthy, was the F70-79 winner, in 28:43. The Walden couple are training for the National Senior Games 5k and 10k road races, held in July in Pittsburgh.

by Jim Flint

BARRE – Saturday’s Barre Town Spring Run was the culminating event of a six-week running camp for kids from the Barre area, including a Girls on the Run group. The roughly 5k race featured a whopping field of 138 entries. Seventy-eight runners were six to 12 years old. The other 60 entries spanned an age range from 13 to 79.

Energy and excitement fueled a massive swarm of kids sprinting from the starting line, and then nearly as quickly slowing down. Elizabeth McCarthy, 70, navigated the race start carefully, trying not to trip over the younger runners. McCarthy overheard one of the kids say to another after less than a quarter mile, “I don’t remember this race being this long before.”

Joel Thornton-Sherman, 13, from Waterford, didn’t waste any time getting out in front of the pack. Thornton-Sherman was the Barre Town Spring Run’s defending champion. He blitzed last year’s course in a time of 20:02. A year older and dramatically faster, he was poised to win again.

Ben Taska, 33, moved from Woodbury to Barre in 2021. A four-year Bates College letterman in cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track and field, he graduated in 2011. Taska won last summer’s Barre Heritage 5k Trail Race. This was his first Barre Town 5k Spring Run.

Neither Taska nor Thornton-Sherman knew what they were up against. “Joel definitely gave me a run for my money,” said Taska. “He led right out of the gate. I started in eighth to tenth place.”

The 5k course is out-and-back on a bike path, with a big dip in the middle and a steady climb to the turn-around. By a half-mile into the race, Taska was in second place, but still a fair distance behind Thornton-Sherman.

“It was a long slog to gradually gain ground,” said Taska. “Not knowing who he was, I had expected him to fade much sooner. Having a good runner ahead to target was a pleasant surprise, and it ended up helping both our races.”

photo by Darrel Lassell
The Barre Town Spring Run on May 20, drew a huge field of 138 runners. Mack Gardner-Morse (No. 1119), from Calais, placed tenth overall and won the M60-69 age group. Ben Taska (No. 1041) started out behind Gardner-Morse. Taska speeded up to win the 5k race in 16:57.

Taska closed the gap to a handful of seconds by the turnaround. He started pushing on the downhill and managed to catch Thornton-Sherman at the halfway point on the trip back. “I tried to give a little surge when passing him, but I eased up soon thereafter, as I was getting pretty winded,” said Taska. “When I came up the final hill before the track finish, I looked back a few times, seeing he wasn’t far behind. It was a tough race: he did not let me off easy!”

Taska won in 16:57. Thornton-Sherman finished in 17:01, three minutes faster than last year. On a historical note, Joel’s older brother, Evan Thornton-Sherman, finished the 2018 Barre Town Spring Run in 18:51, when he was 13. Evan recently completed his first year at the University of Maine. He earned America East Rookie of the Year honors in cross country and ran a 4:05 mile this spring on the track.

Ann Treadwell, 55, from Montpelier, was the fastest female finisher, in 22:18. On April 17, Treadwell completed the Boston Marathon in three hours and 50 minutes. Clara Ayer, 34, from East Montpelier, was the women’s runner-up. She placed 14th overall, in 24:44.

Mack Gardner-Morse, 62, from Calais, was the top finisher from towns covered by the Hardwick Gazette. Gardner-Morse placed tenth, in 22:48, and won the M60-69 age group. Walden runners, Tim Hogeboom, 71, and Elizabeth McCarthy, 70, topped the M70-79 and F70-79 age groups. Their respective times were 24:57 and 28:43.

“Conditions were ideal, nice and cool, with a breeze to blow the bugs away and a user-friendly course that starts with a gentle downhill,” said Hogeboom. “What a joy to run with a full range of age groups! After running the Adamant Half Marathon, the Barre hills didn’t seem so bad.”

“Being the oldest woman running, it felt good to hopefully be a role model for the young girls trying their best,” said McCarthy. “I felt strong, though that last hill did slow me down more than I’d hoped. I’m working on improving my 5K time before the National Senior Games in Pittsburgh; this was a start.”

The next Central Vermont Runners event is the Capital City Stampede, in Montpelier, on Saturday, June 10. A large field of runners is anticipated. The 10k road race also serves as the Vermont Senior Games State Championship. To register and for more info, visit cvrunners.org.

Dandelion Run Helps Umbrella

DERBY, MORGAN, HOLLAND – Pleasantly cool temperatures, with intervals of sunshine, marked the 15th Annual Dandelion Run, on Saturday, May 20. Sponsored by Kingdom Games, the scenic backroads venue featured half marathon, 10k, four-mile, two-mile, and one-mile races. The event raised $1,250 to support the nonprofit organization, Umbrella, and its work to assist victims of domestic violence.

Orr Ashenberg, 38, from Massachusetts, and Kristen Lande, 41, from New Hampshire, were the top male and female half marathon finishers. Their respective times were 1:38:28 and 1:45:37.

Nicholas Monty, 37, from Newport, sprinted past Wolcott’s George Kominos, 66, to win the 10k race, 47:20 to 47:21. Sacha Pealer, 45, from East Calais, topped the women’s 10k division, in 51:12.

Nick Brown, 26, from Essex Junction, edged out East Hardwick’s Chris Eckerlin, 34, to win the four-mile race. Their times were 32:39 and 33:47.

Coach Julie Higgins entered the Craftsbury School Running Club in the four-mile race. McKenna Flint, 9, took first place among the youth, in 46:13, followed by Jordon Flint, 11 (48:35), Emma Stout, 13 (55:11), Evelyn Stout, 10 (56:34), and Mia Stout, 10 (56:34). The Craftsbury girls received beef jerky, maple syrup, and Barr Hill raw honey to celebrate their Dandelion Run.

“The girls came back super proud of themselves,” said their mom, Caitlyn Stout. “They have the best medals (handcrafted out of wood) and got to take home sweet local gifts.”

Tuesday Night Trail Races Set to Begin

CRAFTSBURY – The Craftsbury Outdoor Center is ready to host its annual Tuesday Night Trail Races, beginning on June 6. The 12-week race series for runners, walkers, and mountain bikers goes through August 29. Trail race options include a 3k kids fun run, 3k walk, three-mile run or bike, and a six-mile run. Mountain bikers begin at 5:45 p.m. Runners and walkers start at 6 p.m.

Residents of Craftsbury, Albany, and Greensboro receive complimentary annual Outdoor Center memberships, which include free registration for the Tuesday Night Races and free Community Run training sessions. The Community Run program meets at the Outdoor Center on Thursdays at 5:30 p.m., starting on May 25. Information is available at craftsbury.com.

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