Cucuzzella leads local runners in Boston

April 22, 2008|By ANDREW MASON

BOSTON -- At 41 years of age, Mark Cucuzzella has been forced to take a different approach to his running career.

"All my training now is slow and easy," he said. "As you get older, it's the only way you can keep at this."

Don't be fooled. Cucuzzella, of Shepherdstown, W.Va., hardly qualifies as a recreational jogger.

He was the top Tri-State finisher at the Boston Marathon for the third straight year Monday. He covered the legendary 26.2-mile course in 2 hours, 34 minutes, 49 seconds, finishing 94th overall in the field of more than 25,000 runners.

"It was a perfect day," said Cucuzzella, who has completed more than 50 marathons in his career and owns a personal-best time of 2:24. "At age 41, it's about having fun. Both of my kids (ages 5 and 3) were out there, and I was able to high-five them on the route."


Jeff Delauter, 47, of Clear Spring finished 723rd overall in 2:55:11. He was the top Washington County runner.

"That will get me a cup of coffee, won't it?" Delauter said with a laugh. "I'll have to rub it into Greg Sellers."

Sellers, 52, of Boonsboro was 2,564th in 3:10:54.

"I was looking to crack 3 (hours). I was in shape to crack to 3," Sellers said. "But I got dehydrated, cramped up, all that stuff. I just willed myself to the finish.

"I ended up in the first-aid tent in a wheelchair, but I feel OK now. That was definitely my last marathon. I'm not getting any younger."

Jennifer (Hartnett) Plevinski, 30, of Clear Spring was the top Tri-State woman. She finished in 3:13:42 in her Boston debut.

"I was a little nervous," said Plevinski, who was 3,006th overall and 223rd amongst females. "But the weather was beautiful, and there were so many people to key off of, and the crowd was great."

Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong was a crowd favorite. He finished his first Boston Marathon in 2:50:58, placing 496th.

"I came up on Lance just before 3 miles," Delauter said. "The pack almost came to a stop. Everybody wanted to run with Lance. I had to run around him.

"But he got me in the hills, like at the Tour de France, and he owned me."

Racing against Armstrong gave Bret Mower of Greencastle, Pa., an idea.

"They should have 'I beat Lance' T-shirts," said Mower, who earned the right to wear one.

Mower, 37, was 266th in 2:44:38. He combined with Frostburg, Md., runners Jaron Hawkins and Jeremy Rice to give Hagerstown's Cumberland Valley Athletic Club an eighth-place finish in the men's team standings in 7:59:28. Hawkins, 25, finished 38th in 2:27:56, and Rice, 26, was 337th in 2:46:54.

"We were a little bummed we got beat by Howard County, but we only lost to them by 16 seconds," said Mower, whose CVAC team finished just one spot behind the Howard County (Md.) Striders. "They've got a number of good runners."

Other local finishers included: James Alexander, 35, of Kearneysville, W.Va. (3:10:07); Tim Fisler, 37, of Greencastle (3:18:20); Richard Gorman, 47, of Chambersburg, Pa. (3:30:12); Laurie Dymond, 42, of Chambersburg (3:31:34); Robert Russon, 53, of Hagerstown (3:35:16); Jill Montaquila, 40, of Harpers Ferry, W.Va. (3:42:17); Johna Bolinger, 46, of Chambersburg (3:43:21); Hector Martinez, 45, of Hagerstown (3:43:51); Craig Leisher, 47, of Chambersburg (3:43:52); Diane Wilson, 42, of Waynesboro, Pa. (4:08:00); Anthony Rinaldi, 41, of Martinsburg, W.Va. (4:09:22); Leigh Cordell, 37, of Chambersburg (4:25:00).

Saint James School graduate Chris Johnson, 26, of Washington, D.C., finished in 2:51:14 -- 16 seconds behind Armstrong.

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