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DeWitt runs away with Brown win

August 22, 2010|By ANDREW MASON
  • Susan Graham-Gray closes in on the finish line at the Gary Brown Memorial C&O Canal Five Mile Run on Saturday.
Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

WILLIAMSPORT -- Steve Spence might be past his prime, but he still casts a mighty large shadow on the starting line.

The 48-year-old from Shippensburg, Pa., isnearly two decadesremoved from his days as an Olympic marathoner and world beater, but he can still dictate the pace of a local race -- just by showing up.

"I was worried about Steve Spence, so I went out real hard," said Dan DeWitt, 22, of Frostburg, Md., after winning the 29th annual Gary Brown Memorial C&O Canal Five Mile Run on Saturday morning. "I was 5:02 at the mile, which I regretted almost instantly.

"But I knew if Spence was anywhere close at the end that I would have issues because I don't have much of a kick. Luckily, I had enough of a gap."

DeWitt, who was a two-time Maryland state cross country champion (2003-04) for Beall High School, covered the out-and-back course on the towpath Saturday in 26 minutes, 33 seconds.

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"This is great," DeWitt said of his first Gary Brown victory. "This one's nice."

Spence, who won three straight Gary Brown titles from 2003 to '05, was the runner-up in 27:45. Kyle Phillips, who is gearing up for his senior cross country season at Waynesboro (Pa.) Area Senior High School, finished third in 28:07.

"I felt good aerobically, but I feel like I have no speed," Spence said. "But I'm OK with where I am. I'm just pleased that I'm able to run, that I can still get out there and feel healthy and run some local races. My goal now is just to enjoy it.

"This is a great race, and I love running on the towpath. There are only two races I know of on the towpath, and I'm not running 50 miles," he added, referring to Washington County's annual JFK 50 Mile ultramarathon.

The women's race once again was dominated by Susan Graham-Gray, who crossed the finish line at Riverbottom Park in 31:36. It was her seventh Gary Brown victory.

"I can't even believe that many years have gone by. That's amazing," said Graham-Gray, 42, of Greencastle, Pa. "It never gets easier as you get older, so I always appreciate each one. I just take it one race at a time."

Laurie Dymond, 44, of Chambersburg, Pa., was the women's runner-up in 33:45. Margeaux Spence, 16, of Shippensburg -- the only one of the Olympian's four children in the race -- placed third in 34:16.

Overall, there were roughly a hundred finishers.

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