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Hawkins puts past behind with Brown win

August 24, 2008|By ANDREW MASON

WILLIAMSPORT - Jaron Hawkins can't turn back time to take care of past disappointments. So he just went out and smashed the clock.

Hawkins, 25, of Frostburg, Md., won the 27th annual Gary Brown Memorial 5-Mile Run on Saturday in a course-record time of 24 minutes, 59 seconds. The previous mark of 25:08 was set in 2003 by Steve Spence, the 1992 Olympian, on the out-and-back course on the C&O Canal towpath.

"I'm glad I finally got it. It's been a long time coming - five years of second or third here every time," said Hawkins, who competes for Hagerstown's Cumberland Valley Athletic Club. "I always come here thinking I'm in great shape and end up running a turd of a race."

Hawkins, last year's runner-up, broke away from Michael Wardian, the reigning champ, shortly before they reached 4 miles. Wardian, who controlled the pace for much of the race, had no answer, finishing second in 25:21 - one second faster than his winning time last year. Troy Harrison, 32, of Hustontown, Pa., finished a distant third in 27:27.

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"I hate losing, but (Hawkins) ran a great race," said Wardian, 34, of Arlington, Va., who also won last year's JFK 50 Mile ultramarathon. "He sat on my shoulder, and then I ... cracked.

"I guess I could have let him do the work. I don't know. I just wasn't able to respond."

Brad Dodson, 23, of Martinsburg, W.Va., took fourth in 27:38, and Tim Schuler, 45, of Chambersburg, Pa., was fifth overall and the Masters (40-and-older) champion in 28:07.

The Masters dominated the women's race. Susan Graham-Gray, 40, of Greencastle, Pa., convincingly won her sixth Gary Brown title in 30:28, while Maureen Hall, 43, of LaVale, Md., was second in 35:09 and Karen Abbamonte, 49, of Boonsboro took third in 35:42.

Graham-Gray said she eased up the second half of the race once she knew the win was in the bag.

"I never take it for granted," she said. "But at the turnaround, I knew where I stood."

Williamsport senior Tracey Forsythe was the girls high school champ and the fourth overall female in 35:54. Kay Harrison, 45, of Hagerstown was fifth in 37:38.

Greencastle-Antrim junior Joe Pasquarello won the boys high school title in 29:49. He placed 13th out of the 132 overall finishers.

Hawkins and Wardian likely will butt heads again at the Marine Corps Marathon in October.

"I'm hoping to have a shot at winning it," said Hawkins, who finished third there last year.

Wardian's packed racing schedule this fall also includes a trip to Italy to represent Team USA at the 100K World Cup on Nov. 8. The JFK 50, Washington County's nationally renowned footrace, is just two weeks later.

"I don't know yet," said Wardian of his JFK plans. "But I'm definitely thinking about it. It'd be cool to win back-to-back."

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