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Park and Rec Trek gets off on right foot

Race through city revives tradition

Race through city revives tradition

October 11, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - A race through Hagerstown on Sunday drew a former Olympian, three generations of one family and the return of a tradition to Municipal Stadium.

The City of Hagerstown hosted a Park and Rec Trek that led runners and walkers through parts of downtown Hagerstown and ended at Municipal Stadium.

In all, 71 people ran the 5K race and about 25 people walked the two-mile walk, said John Budesky, the city's chief administrative officer.

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The city plans to make the new event an annual tradition, which accomplishes a goal of holding a community event encouraging people to be active and healthy, Budesky said.

The $1,300 in event proceeds were donated to the United Way of Washington County.

The event sparked some participants to reminiscence about a 10K race the Optimist Club of Hagerstown held from 1981 to 1993, which also ended at Municipal Stadium.

Maria Spinnler of Hagerstown had the fastest time for the women, 19:52. She came in 11th overall.

Spinnler, 42, also won the Optimist Club event from the first year she participated, 1985, through its last race, in 1993, said the event's master of ceremonies and her husband, Mike Spinnler.

While it was 11 years before another race ended in the stadium, she continued a tradition by coming in first among the women, Mike Spinnler said.

The first runner to finish Sunday's race was Steve Spence, 42, of Shippensburg, Pa., with a time of 15:10. Spence was the top American marathon finisher at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. He came in 12th.

When later announcing the results, Mike Spinnler told the crowd, "You were on the road today with an Olympian."

Spence said the course and the event, sponsored by First Data Merchant Services and the City of Hagerstown, were great.

Maria Spinnler and Spence said they are hoping the event will draw a larger, more competitive field next year.

"It is great for the city to put on something like this," Maria Spinnler said. "I applaud them."

There also were young competitors, including Andrew Rodgers, 12, of Funkstown, who finished in 22:56. He joked that his goal in races is to beat his father, Bob Rodgers, 43, a feat he accomplished Sunday. He described running as fun.

But another family did the Rodgerses one better, having three family members - four if you include a 2-year-old in a stroller - participating in the event.

First, Brent Jones, 31, of Ridgeley, W.Va., finished in a sprint, coming in with a time of 24:11. After walking around and catching his breath, he watched to see if his wife or mother were entering the stadium for the final section of the race.

Soon his wife, Mary Jones, 39, appeared, walking the final part of the two-mile walk while pushing their son, Cade, in a stroller.

Then as the couple shouted, "Go, grandma!" Brent Jones' mother, Sharon Slonaker, 57, of Greencastle, Pa., ran the final section, crossing the finish line at almost the same time as Mary Jones and Cade.

Slonaker said the family often runs together.

"It is great. It is wonderful. It is a fun activity," she said. She bragged, "I was passing some of the young guys."

She later received a trophy for coming in first for women 50 and older. Her time was 29:53.

As for Cade Jones, "he sits back and enjoys the ride," Mary Jones said.

As he ran around on the field, Sharon Slonaker watched him.

She predicted that he, too, is going to be a runner one day.

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