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Draper tops county runners

November 19, 2006|by ANDREW MASON

WILLIAMSPORT - Before Scott Draper could complete the journey from Boonsboro to Williamsport at the 44th annual JFK 50 Mile ultramarathon Saturday, he had to take an even longer trip home.

"I just flew back from Alaska," said Draper, 35, of Williamsport, who was on a two-week business trip to the country's 49th state. "We left at 11:30 Thursday night and got home at 5 p.m. Friday.

"It's a four-hour time difference. I couldn't sleep. My body was on a whole different time zone. It was crazy."

That didn't stop him from completing his sixth JFK and, for the second time in three years, earning the bragging rights as Washington County's top finisher.

Draper finished 76th in the field of more than 1,000 runners in 8 hours, 5 minutes and 40 seconds.

"I'd like to do a little better," said Draper, whose best time for the race is "like 7:30-something. I'm not sure, I don't keep track. It's just a good challenge. It's a cool thing no matter what.

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"The weather was nice today. It was a nice day for a run."

'A learning experience'

Mark Cucuzzella, 40, of Shepherdstown, W.Va., was in second place halfway through Saturday's race.

But ...

"It just wasn't in the cards today," said Cucuzzella, who dropped out at Mile 38. "I started throwing up at 20. And by 38, I was like, 'I'm dead.'"

Cucuzzella, the area's top marathoner, was taking his first stab at an ultramarathon.

"It was a learning experience," he said. "You learn something new every day. Next time ..."

Torrence fades

Running his 13th straight JFK, Ian Torrence was first early.

Torrence, a two-time runner-up but never a winner, had a two-minute lead on his closest competitor as he entered the 9.4-mile aid station at Gathland Gap on the Appalachian Trail.

"Too bad it didn't last," he said.

Torrence, 34, of Flagstaff, Ariz., finished 22nd in 7:05:18, more than an hour behind champion Pete Breckinridge.

"I just knew it was going to turn out that way," he said. "I just wanted to run hard for as long as I could."

He said his job as a national-park field supervisor just left him too drained.

"I've been really tired," he said. "The last month I've just been beating myself down at work, lots of physical labor."

He said he still has plenty of time left to chase his first JFK victory.

"I'll be here next year," he said. "And I'll be back the next year and the next year."

Nice guy finishes first

Breckinridge seemingly wasted valuable seconds at nearly every aid station to make sure he disposed of his waste.

Rather than just grabbing the paper cups and energy gels on the fly and later tossing them to the ground - like most frontrunners in the heat of the JFK battle do - he stopped to consume the supplies and then wouldn't proceed until he found a trash bag.

"I don't know. I didn't want to litter," Breckinridge said. "That's the way I was brought up."

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