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Master of her domain

Graham-Gray proves she's not history in Run Through History

Graham-Gray proves she's not history in Run Through History

June 02, 2008|By ANDREW MASON

SHARPSBURG - When it came to winning local road races the past several years, Susan Graham-Gray was pretty much the master.

Now that she's 40, it's official. She is the Master.

Graham-Gray of Greencastle, Pa., was the overall female champion at the 29th annual Run Through History 10K at Antietam National Battlefield on Sunday in her first race since turning 40 last month. She covered the hilly 6.2-mile course in 38 minutes, 9 seconds as she won the race for the second straight year and fifth time in the last six years. Her time Sunday was her second-best on the course.

"Not bad for being 40, huh?" said Graham-Gray, who earned $300 for the victory and an additional $150 for winning the Masters (40-and-older) division.

"The money's not the main priority," she said. "But it's definitely nice."

Early leader Hirut Mandefro - a 22-year-old Ethiopian living in Silver Spring, Md. - finished second in 39:23. Darcy Strouse, 44, of Frederick, Md., was third in 41:59.

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Graham-Gray passed Mandefro about 2 1/2 miles into the race and never looked back, showing no signs of weakness.

"She went out way too fast for me, but I knew I had to catch her," Graham-Gray said. "When I went by her, I just let her know I wasn't tired."

Sunday's 10K also was Graham-Gray's first race since the U.S. Olympic Women's Marathon Trials in Boston in April. While she achieved her longtime goal of qualifying for the Trials, she was disappointed with her 115th-place finish in 2:58:08.

"This is a good start to the summer. After the Trials, I needed a little boost," she said. "I've done the Trials, so now my next goal is to be the best Master I can be."

Jared Abuya, 31, of Kenya led the entire way in the men's race, winning in 32:04. Ethiopian Abiyot Abere, 20, was the runner-up in 32:46, and Troy Harrison, 32, of Hustontown, Pa., took third in 33:44.

"It was kind of hard, a lot of hills, but it was good for training," said Abuya, who currently lives in Fairfax, Va. "I wish I would have had someone to push with."

Abuya - who has run world-class times of 27:50 for 10K and 2:11 for the marathon - said his focus is on the New York City Marathon this fall.

"I would love to do under 2:10," he said.

Mark Cucuzzella, 41, of Shepherdstown, W.Va., was fifth overall and the men's Masters champ in 35:32.

"I was hoping to run 5:30 pace, and I ran about 5:40 pace. The heat and the hills took their toll," Cucuzzella said. "But it was fun. It was nice to see a small race have a lot of good runners. It was good to see the young high school runners out there, too."

Jefferson High School standout Cory Hampshire, who will be a senior, placed 10th in 36:29. He was the overall champion last year in 35:14.

Overall, there were 216 finishers.

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