November 24, 2014

Elyria
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N.Y. Marathon cancellation doesn’t keep locals Kruszka, Hale from victory

ELYRIA — Tough and resilient, John Kruszka rolled with the punches and didn’t let disappointment rattle him when Superstorm Sandy forced cancellation of Sunday’s New York City Marathon.

The 32-year-old Avon resident opted instead to race the eighth annual Elyria Inland Trail Marathon. It was a good choice.

Kruszka was the class of Sunday’s field as he clocked two hours, 47 minutes and 56.6 seconds to win by seven minutes over Pittsburgh’s Doug Baskinski, 41 (2:55:03.3).

“It was a totally different race,” said Kruszka. “Instead of 50,000 runners, I faced 150. I was talking to people at the starting line, and there were several other people from New York.

“It was a little different, but it was nice to be in the almost my hometown and to be able to run a decent race.”

Kruszka raced alone from mile marker No. 7 to the finish after breaking away from Solon’s Jason Baker, 39, and Milwaukee’s Mike Beix, 37, who ended up third (2:55:53.4) and fourth (2:57:35.0), respectively.

Kruszka ran the first half in 1:22:16.7 and already had a three-minute lead. He did the second half in 1:25:39.8. It was his first career marathon win in seven tries.

“It was a different dynamic (racing alone),” said Kruszka, who wore his New York City Marathon bib number on his back. “The first 20 miles weren’t bad. The last six I started to hurt. I was cutting wind the whole way. It felt worse the last six, but I’m sure it was there the whole time.”

It was the third-best time of Kruszka’s marathon career. His 2:44 at the 2011 Rite-Aid Cleveland Marathon is his personal record.

“I took an energy gel at around mile No. 12,” said Kruszka, who averaged a 6:32 mile pace. “I probably should have taken one more. I had Gatorade about every two miles.

“Temperatures (low 40s) were phenomenal. It was probably mile marker 18 of 19 that the splits started going. They were all sub 6:20s until that time. The last two were probably 6:50s.”

For Baskinski, it was third straight top-3 finish at the Inland Trail event. He was second in 2010 and third in 2011.

“One of these years I’m going to come back and win this,” said Baskinski, who has run 67 career marathons including seven this year. “I was planning to run this event all along. I wasn’t one of the runners that switched over from New York. I kind of wish they hadn’t canceled. So it goes, as they say but I thought I ran pretty well.”

Baskinski took over second just after the turnaround, Baker and Beix close behind.

Baker and Beix were also slated to race New York. Baker hadn’t left for the Big Apple yet when it canceled. Beix had to catch a return flight and connected through Chicago to get to Northeast Ohio.

“Mega marathons are nice but it’s so nice to compete in a well-run, smaller marathon,” said Beix. “It was the exact polar opposite of being in New York. Perfect weather day. This was more enjoyable, if not more.”

It was 10-minute personal record for Baker and a 2 1⁄2-minute PR for Beix.

Superstorm Sandy also dramatically impacted the front end of the women’s field. The first three finishers had all registered for New York.

Rocky River’s Meredith Hale, 26, was the class of the women’s race as she won by nearly nine minutes with a time of 3:12:50.6. Training partners Tara Keller, 37 (3:21:49.2) and Kathy Hayden, 47 (3:21:50.2), both from Columbus, grabbed the next two spots.

Hale battled low blood iron deficiency for 12 years before finally getting the problem under control in 2010. Her biggest obstacle was right ankle tendinitis, which limited her to just a 10-week build-up for the event.

Like Kruszka and Beix, Hale made it all the way to New York City only to learn about the cancellation. She arrived in NYC 8 p.m., Friday, just 40 minutes after learning on the radio the event was canceled.

“I got back at about 8:30 last night,” said Hale, a graduate of Sidney Lehman High and Syracuse University. “I raced Cleveland in May, but dropped out at mile No. 13 because of a hip issue. I hadn’t completed one since Cleveland in 2011. I had a lot of misses so I didn’t want to miss another one.”

Hale learned about the Elyria race from training friend Liz Wetter, who won it last year.

Keller and Hayden never made it to New York, both scheduled to fly out Saturday morning.

Sheffield Village’s Joanie Washington, 35, won the women’s half marathon title in 1:28:27.4. Ryan McCartney, 27, a 2003 graduate of Admiral King, was the top Lorain County finisher in the men’s half. He finished third with a career-record time of 1:20:35.0.

A total of 430 runners competed in the marathon, half marathon and 5K events. The marathon started and finished at Murray Ridge School on Elyria’s west side and followed the Inland Trail to Kipton and back.

Marathon

Male

Overall: 1. John Kruszka, age 32 (Avon), 2:47.56.6; 2. Doug Baskinski, 41 (Pittsburgh), 2:55:03.3; 3. Jason Baker, 39 (Solon), 2:55:53.4

Age group results: 25-29: 1. Mike Remole, 3:19:34.4; 2. Joe Workman, 3:57.17.9; 3. Matt Patton, 4:06.29.9. 30-34: 1. Jonathan Bolha, 3:12.:30.9; 2. Keith Lubbers, 3:21:14.0; 3. Kristofer Strum, 3:24:35.5. 35-39: 1. Mike Beix, 2:57:35.0; 2. Abraham Dvorak, 3:14:19.0; 3. Mark Shipley, 3:18:38.8. 40-44: 1. Greg Kearney, 2:58:32.2; 2. Ed Koontz, 3:08:54.4; 3. Stephen Hoca, 3:16:07.3. 45-49: 1. Daniel Brooks, 3:18:12.1; 2. Joe Daczko, 3:21:54.3; 3. Mark Viviano, 3:23:50.0. 50-54: 1. Tim Bell, 3:09:44.6; 2. Peter Cooper, 3:11:06.3; 3. Mike Infeld, 3:22:20.1. 55-59: 1. Frank Duchossois, 3:09:28.0; 2. Tom Kilcourse, 3:33:55.8; 3. Brian Passell, 3:37:26.5. 60-64: 1. Dave Wallingford, 3:39:48.7; 2. Wing-Kiwong Koenig, 3:48:13.4; 3. Mike Abney, 4:01:56.5. 65-69: 1. John Farah, 4:20:45.3; 2. Donald Landry, 4:54:16.2.

Female

Overall: 1. Meredith Hale, 26 (Rocky River), 3:12:50.6; 2. Tara Keller, 37 (Columbus), 3:21:49.2; 3. Kathy Hayden, 47 (Columbus), 3:21:50.2

Age group results: 10 and younger: 1. Zuzu Galbraith, 4:31:59.5. 20-24: 1. Olivia Thimmig, 4:43:34.9. 25-29: 1. Melissa Terwilliger, 3:25:34.7; 2. Sarah Hotkes, 4:01:08.3; 3. Sarah Kelch, 4:09:24.7. 30-34: 1. Stephanie Eslich, 3:31:20.7; 2. Adrienne Anderson, 3:39:52.1; 3. Laura Jeffers, 3:46:58.3. 35-39: 1. Crystal Barton, 3:31:58.3; 2. Julie Campbell, 4:04:17.4; 3. Kelly Mendelson, 4:06:09.5. 40-44: 1. Deanna Nocera, 3:38:09.7; 2. Darcy Lallathin, 3:45:52.5; 3. Kara Brown, 4:05:55.4. 45-40: 1. Tracy Shell, 3:46:08.1; 2. Merete Francis, 4:11:53.8; 3. Kathy Ann Karder, 4:4:22:42.8. 50-54: 1. Jackie Farah, 4:18:44.9; 2. Catherine Chatfield, 5:14:20.3. 60-64: 1. Jeannie Rice, 3:43:57.5; 2. Karen Lubbers, 5:00:20.4.

Half marathon

Male Overall: 1. Mike Ryan, 46 (Strongsville), 1:16:00.3; 2. Greg Wilmer, 44, 1:19:04.3; 3. Ryan McCartney, 27 (Cleveland), 1:20:35.0

Age group results: 11-14: 1. Simon Perales, 1:45:09.7; 2. Jacob Ward, 1:48:10.8. 15-19: 1. Justin Kopronica, 1:35:41.2; 2. Don Henderson, 1:37:16.5; 3. Brett Myers, 1:45:52.7. 20-24: 1. Sam Berger, 2:59:27.7. 25-29: 1. Andrew Ringholz, 1:22:36.6; 2. Justin Zeim, 1:26:32.5; 3. Jason Zangmeister, 1:27:20.9. 30-34: 1. Dan Guzzo, 1:44:18.1; 2. Ryan Forbes, 1:47:34.6; 3. Stephen Hanley, 1:49:45.1. 35-39: 1. Keith Landis, 1:23:22.6; 2. Matt Ksenysk, 1:27:56.0; 3. George Coppola, 1:33:54.0. 40-44: 1. Dave Hathaway, 1:31:08.0; 2. Jeff LeBlanc, 1:32:41.7; 3. Mike Skitowski, 1:33:33.6. 45-49: 1. William Bicsoff, 1:23:48.5; 2. Ron Kopronica, 33:23.1; 3. Vince Turnbull, 1:53:08.3. 50-54: 1. Mark Connelly, 1:29:34.3; 2. Joe Vishey, 1:31:38.3; 3. Mike George, 1:36:12.1. 55-50: 1. Andy Belaska, 1:36:12.0; 2. Robert O’Brien, 1:38:57.2; 3. Mike Bates, 1:49:35.4. 60-64: 1. Dale Bilacini, 1:53:10.2; 2. Jim Cady, 2:02:49.7; 3. Ron Cook, 2:05:52.3.

Female: Overall: 1. Joanie Washington, 35 (Sheffield Lake), 1:28:27.4; 2. Milica Kuster, 33, 1:33:58.5; 3. Vicki Barone, 32 (Westlake), 1:34:2.1

Age group results: 15-19: 1. Stephanie Page, 2:0026.6; 2. Alexis Espinal, 2:10:00.6. 20-24: 1. Emily Herold, 2:03:18.6; 2. Anna Bosche, 2:08:45.7; 3. Blaine Volbers, 2:18:56.5. 25-29: 1. Laura Moyer, 1:47:37.2; 2. Kalin Bates, 1:49:34.4; 3. Jessica Wright, 1:54:59.0. 30-34: 1. Ana Wichmann, 1:46:48.4; 2. Becca Stone, 1:46:02.3; 3. Hope Bradley, 1:48:43.5. 35-39: 1. Akiko Prince, 1:37:56.8; 2. Leslie Ungerott, 1:47:33.3; 3. Wendy Reddinger, 1:48:31.9. 40-44: 1. Tara Scott, 1:47:35.6; 2. Nikki LaMastus, 1:52:13.4; 3. Priscilla Thayer, 1:53:18.7. 45-50: 1. Wendy Witmer, 1:51:28.8; 2. Lynne Greer, 1:55:37.0; 3. B. Donahue, 2:04:39.4. 50-54: 1. Joanna Brell, 1:48:39.5; 2. Michelle Bishilany, 1:56:13.2; 3. Mary Van Almen, 1:59:46.7. 55-59: 1. Michele DeWitt, 2:06:13.4; 2. Stephanie Leibfritz, 2:31:58.6; 3. Sally Miller, 2:24:26.9. 60-64: 1. Pati Habenicht, 2:08:04.4; 2. Andrea Peterson, 2:23:53.8. 65-70: 1. Donna Serdinak, 1:49:40.2.

5K

Male Overall: 1. Dave Woodward, 28 (Elyria), 18:32.0; 2. Rick Urban, 47, 20:44.8. 3. Bruce Imbacuan, 14, 22:39.7.

Female Overall: 1. Jessica Bagwell, 29, 22:40.5; 2. Athena Scrofano, 52, 22:57.9; 3. Erica Henning, 13, 24:07.1

Contact Paul Heyse at 440-329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.