On the run - Burke wins Brown 5-Miler

August 27, 2006|by ANDY MASON

WILLIAMSPORT - Having placed third in each of his previous two tries at the Gary Brown Memorial 5-Miler, 37-year-old Edmund Burke thought his best finishes at the race were behind him.

"I didn't think I'd finish in the top three, honest to God," said Burke of Saturday's 25th annual edition of the race. "It was a great field of runners today."

Burke, of Burtonsville, Md., surprised himself by beating them all. He clocked a winning time of 25:28 on the out-and-back course on the C&O Canal towpath.

Matt Barresi, 23, of Ashton, Md., was the runner-up in 25:36, and Jaron Hawkins, 23, of Cumberland, Md., took third in 25:48.


"There were five of us together at the turnaround. And then, about 3 miles into it, I broke away and gapped them a little bit," Burke said. "I guess there was always the chance that I could win, because I went in hungry, but I wasn't banking on it."

In recent years, second place was about the best finish a runner like Burke could hope for. Steve Spence - the 1992 Olympic marathoner - entered Saturday's race as the three-time defending champ. But he finished seventh in 26:43, well off his course-record time of 25:08 from 2003, but still tops in the Masters (40-and-older) class.

"When I got out there today, I realized it just wasn't happening. I didn't go into it with the attitude that this is my race and I'm going to win it. And that's what it takes," said Spence, 44, of Shippensburg, Pa. "Edmund ran very well. I don't think I could have won it today even if I had been on.

"But at least we got one Spence in the winner's circle."

Spence's 16-year-old daughter, Neely, and Susan Graham-Gray, 38, of Greencastle, Pa., shared the women's title in 31:39. They crossed the finish line holding hands.

Graham-Gray, who set the course record of 29:47 in 2002, has won at least a share of the Gary Brown title for five straight years.

"Susan and Neely were step-for-step the whole way," said Mike Spinnler, Graham-Gray's coach and the race director. "It was a preconceived tempo run. They were just working together.

"Susan's pointing toward the Rocket City Marathon in December, and Neely's pointing toward the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in November."

Burke is pointing toward a second straight appearance at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. But first he has to qualify, which he hopes to do this fall.

"I'm just trying to get a feel for what kind of shape I'm in," said Burke, who ran 6 seconds faster Saturday than his previous course best from 2003, when he qualified for the trials at the Chicago Marathon six weeks later. "I didn't feel like I was in that kind of shape this year."

Maria Spinnler, 44, of Hagerstown won the women's Masters title in 33:35.

There were roughly 150 finishers.

Top 10 males: 1. Burke 25:28; 2. Barresi 25:36; 3. Hawkins 25:48; 4. Nick Gramsky 26:05; 5. Jake Green 26:17; 6. Justin Gindlesperger 26:42; 7. Spence 26:43; 8. Mark Stickley 27:22; 9. Clint Schiavone 27:35; 10. Tim Schuler 27:51.

Top 10 females: 1. Spence, Graham-Gray 31:39; 3. Angie Rhoderick-McKinley 32:51; 4. Spinnler 33:35; 5. Lindsey Hollenshead 34:04; 6. Sarah Boward 34:57; 7. Cayce Troxel 37:49; 8. Mary Anne Burke 38:25; 9. Michelle Summers 38:51; 10. Leigh Cordell 39:45.

Tri-State calendar

Sept. 2

Race to Sea Base Boy Scout 5K, Greencastle-Antrim High School, 8:30 a.m., 717-597-4350,

Sept. 9

60th Anniversary Hawk 5K, Hagerstown Community College, 8:30 a.m., 301-790-2800, ext. 225.

Sept. 24

Vibrant Life 5K, Review and Herald Publishing, Hagerstown, 9:30 a.m., 301-393-4019,

Oct. 14

Fairgrounds 5K, Hagerstown, 9 a.m., 301-739-8577, ext. 183,

Nov. 4

Run for Your Life 5K, Halfway Park, Hagerstown, 9 a.m., 240-313-2808.

Nov. 11

Dash for Drew 2-Miler, Greencastle-Antrim High School, 9 a.m., 717-597-5699,

Nov. 18

JFK 50 Mile, Washington County, 301-739-7004,

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

The Herald-Mail Articles