Freedom’s Run Races: Historic and Fun

By Karen Gardner
October 1, 2011
Shepherdstown, WV
For the Washington Running Report

Runners dodge the raindrops. Photos courtesy of Tinadawn Stratton.

For some it was their first race and for others it was their first marathon. Nearly 3,000 runners participated in the Freedom’s Run events that included a marathon, half marathon, 10K, and 5K in Shepherdstown, WV on Saturday, October 1.  The Harpers Ferry National Historical Park was the starting location for the marathon, while the other three races started in Shepherdstown, crossed into Maryland and looped back to Shepherd University where all the events finished.

Talentino Angelosant, 52, (left) from Albuquerque, NM was the overall marathon winner with a time of 2:57:34. He was followed by Nigel Perez, 29, who finished just under three hours, 2:59:52. Jaqueline Palmer, 23, (below) of Hagerstown, MD, won the women’s marathon in 3:18:42 and Victoria Grieve, 38, from North Logan, UT took second place with a time of 3:19:20.

Afterward Palmer said she liked the hills.

In the other races, McLean’s Charlie Ban, 29, took the half marathon title in 1:12:19 and Lori Jandreau, 27, from Frederick, MD handily won the women’s half marathon in 1:32:49. The 10K winners were Stephen Malcolm, 25, from Martinsburg, WV in 39:05 and Kelly Burkak, 27, from Frederick, MD in 41:45. Martinsburg’s Brad Sponaugle, 31, won the men’s 5K in 18:13 and at age 13, Abby Colbert, from Shepherdstown topped the women’s 5K field 20:02.

Those who followed the winners had stories to tell.

John Kippen, 59, of Frederick, MD had a liver transplant in February because of cancer. The long-time runner and owner of If The Shoe Fits, a running shoe and apparel store in Frederick, finished the marathon in 5:11. He plans to run the JFK 50 Mile Run in November.

Kirke Martin, of Keedysville, MD, ran the half marathon. “I think this course is incredible,” he said. “It’s the area where I run.” Martin, a potter and a stay-at-home dad, trains while pushing a jogging stroller along the park roads at Antietam.

Shepherdstown’s John Noel, a park ranger at the C&O Canal, ran the half marathon in 1:47:50. Hill training is what got him through the race, because he does not run much.

Jennifer Scarle and Michael Burns drove in from Pennsylvania. Scarle ran her first 10K while Burns ran the half marathon.  “For this course, that was a nice surprise,” said Burns who finished the half marathon in 1:33. “The battlefield is relaxing. There was a lot of different terrain, flat, rolling hills and scenic.” The pair had planned to bike to Harpers Ferry afterward along the C&O Canal, but rain was making that unlikely.

It was the first 5K for locals Gaye Henderson, 58, and Paula Tremba, 56, a cyclist, just started running. Both were excited about their finish. “I was inspired by the movie, Seabiscuit,” said Henderson. “I was shocked that running a race was so much fun.”

Katie Payne, 34, of Westminster, MD, also ran her first 5K while her husband ran the half marathon. “My husband didn’t think I could do it,” she said after finishing in just over 35 minutes. Her son Sebastian did the 1-mile Kid’s Run, making it a family affair.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail is tough. It is approximately 2,181 miles from Maine to Georgia.  Four young men, Preston Lamance, 21, Dylan Ricke, 18, Jeff Wozniak, 26, and Michael Salas, 18, took a day off from hiking the Appalachian Trail to run the marathon. They left their backpacks and hiking boots with Lamance’s dad and put on running shoes.

“This is the first time I’ve ever run more than three miles,” Lamance said.  His time was 4:56:42.

Ricke, who ran high school cross country, finished eighth overall in 3:11:58.

“We go from town to town having adventures,” Lamance said. Two weeks ago, he called race director Mark Cucuzzella to ask if the four could run the race. Lamance, Ricke and Salas left Mount Katahdin, ME three months ago and plan to arrive in Georgia in November or December. They hike about 20 to 30 miles a day. The four were back on the trail later day.

Freedom’s Run is truly a run through history. Marathon runners pass through Harpers Ferry, the site of a 19th century arsenal and a transportation hub where railroads and canal boats carried cargo and passengers east and west. Participants then proceed over the Potomac River on the Appalachian Trail footbridge, and head west on the C&O Canal, a 19th century engineering marvel. At the colorfully-named Miller’s Sawmill Road, runners head uphill toward Antietam National Battlefield, the site of the most deadly one-day battle in the history of the United States.

Karen Gardner is a freelance writer based in Keedysville, MD.

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