Downie, Sponaugle blaze a trail in National Pike 5K - 5/16/04

May 17, 2004|by ANDREW MASON

CLEAR SPRING - Once the wagon train left town, Jeremiah Downie and Brad Sponaugle were the top stallions in Clear Spring on Saturday morning. Downie, 31, of Hagerstown, and Sponaugle, 24, of Martinsburg, W.Va., placed first and second at the inaugural National Pike Days 5K.

The pair shared the lead for nearly two miles of the challenging 3.1-mile course, a large portion of which was off-road, before Downie made his move, opening a gap which increased until the finish.

"I felt like it was going pretty well, so I just went for it," said Downie, who crossed the line in 18 minutes, 14.0 seconds - 32.3 seconds ahead of Sponaugle. "I was running hard, laboring pretty good."

Seventy-three competitors finished the race. Downie never expected to be the first.

"Not at all," he said. "I just did the Frederick Marathon (placing ninth overall in 3:07) two weeks ago and I'm just trying to get in shape for the shorter distances, the 5Ks and 10Ks this summer.


"I was really hoping for a time in the low- to mid-17s today, but it was a good early race to get ready for the summer."

Many runners Saturday didn't achieve their goal times. Some suggested the course may have been longer than advertised.

"Maybe I need to measure it again, but I wheeled it to the inch," said race official Terry Baker. "Some of those hills are tougher than people think."

In the women's race, Danielle Mason, 31, of Hagerstown, went by Gabriella Uza, 27, of Germantown, Md., with about a half-mile remaining and held on for the win in 23:09.8. Uza was second in 23:18.2.

The age-group winners were: Females - 14-19: Kellyann Courter, 16, of Clear Spring (26:05.7); 20-29: Uza; 30-39: Alys Dahbura, 32, of Hagerstown (24:14.7); 40-49: Denise Haley, 41, of Hagerstown (25:14.2); 50-59: Paget Humphreys, 53, of Hagerstown (28:39.6).

Males - 13 & Under: Jeffrey Elliott, 13, of Clear Spring (38:18.0); 14-19: Brandon Elliott, 17, of Clear Spring (20:08.1); 20-29: Sponaugle; 30-39: Andy Mason, 32, of Hagerstown (19:44.1); 40-49: Ric Lillard, 45, of Clear Spring (21:38.6); 50-59: Dave Ruff, 50, of Hagerstown (22:18.9); 60 & Up: Richard Mason, 61, of Chambersburg, Pa. (29:48.5).

"For the first one, we're pleased," Baker said. "We want to make this an annual event. We'll shoot for 100 runners next year."

Andy Mason is assistant sports editor of The Morning Herald. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2334, or by e-mail at

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