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Hundreds trot at HCC campus

November 25, 2005|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

tiffanya@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Nabbing a big fat turkey, a case of beer and some pie were a few of the payoffs for running a little more than three miles Thanksgiving morning.

Nearly 230 runners showed up for the annual Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 5K, where the top finishers won trophies and turkeys.

All runners were eligible for 75 other prizes - which ranged from beer to athletic apparel - through a drawing.

Proceeds from the entry fees go to scholarships for the Hagerstown Community College track teams, race director Jaime Dick said.

The race drew the biggest turnout in its five-year history, said Dick, also the recreation director for the Washington County Recreation Department.

"We were a little afraid the weather was going to keep some people away, but only six of the people who preregistered didn't show," Dick said.

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Elite marathoners, former HCC runners and casual joggers rounded out the field, with the top finishers coming in at or below a 7 minute-per-mile pace.

Matt Rouse, a 20-year-old cross-country runner at McDaniel College, finished first, clocking in at 16 minutes, 32 seconds. Kaitlin Grimm, a 17-year-old high school student from Pittsburgh, finished first for the women in 19:27.

Last year's top finisher, Mark Eissens, was unable to compete this year. Eissens, 25, of Hagerstown, was deployed to Kirkuk, Iraq, six months ago. The city was the recent target of a suicide car bomber who killed 18 people.

Eissens arrived in Hagerstown late Wednesday night, just in time for the Turkey Trot, he said.

"I've been thinking about this day for six months," said Eissens, a member of the National Guard. "Now that it's finally here, it's like a dream come true."

Before he was deployed, Eissens ran track and cross-country for Hagerstown Community College. He said he helped set up the first race, which only had 90 runners.

Eissens was the official starter for the race. He said it was hard for him to watch everyone else run.

"When I first came here, I helped put this event on," he said. "It's so very special to be here because it almost didn't happen."

He said he was afraid the snowy weather would delay his arrival in Hagerstown.

Now that he's back home, Eissens said he plans to spend the holiday with his running buddy, Ryan Davis, 21, of Hagerstown.

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