With meteorologist Gil Simmons of News Channel 8 running beside them, 184 runners who participated in the 6th annual Killingworth Road Race were pretty confident the morning weather was going to be great for a run.
“I have a special switch I hit this morning to ensure the good weather,” joked Simmons as he finished the four mile race Saturday morning at the Killingworth Congregational Church on Route 81. He was enthusiastically cheered on by his wife and his in-laws, who live in town.
“There was a great turn out today, a beautiful course to run and the weather was perfect, we couldn’t ask for more,” added Simmons, who recently got back into running after badly injuring his ankle while jumping out of a burning house in Vermont during a snowmobiling trip in 2007. “I am just happy to have been able to run today and to finish.”
Nick Jones, a senior at Haddam Killingworth High School, who is on the cross country team, said the course was difficult, especially the last hill near the rotary, but he slowed down, got his energy back and finished in the top twenty.
Concurring with Jones, Simmons said, “That last hill really let you know who was boss.”
The winner of the race, 21-year-old Michael Waterbury of Higganum didn’t let the last hill get in his way, with a time of 22:21. He received a medal, a trophy and the traditional blueberry pie as his awards.
The first woman to complete the four mile scenic country race was Maureen Terwilliger of Guilford, with a time of 25:38. 14-year-old Menalie Hyde of Killingworth won her age group and the most senior racer of the day was 82 year-old Jeff Etherington of Killingworth, who has faithfully run in every one of the six Killingworth road races.
Not to be forgotten was ultra grandmaster of the race, 76-year-old Mary Saunders of Clinton, who was excited about finishing and winning a blueberry pie.
Julie Francis, of , a specialty runner's store with three shoreline locations and a sponsor of the race, agreed, saying the pies are one of her favorite things about the annual event.
“I think the pies are great,” she laughed. “But seriously this is a wonderful race, it is part of the Shoreline Road Race Series of races and it is great to see so many runners from the series here today supporting the event and each other,” said Francis, who specializes in fitting runners with the perfect running shoes.
The Shoreline Road Race Series has eight races. Runners who participate in six of the races throughout the year including the 10 mile SeaLeg Shuffle receive a coveted Road Race Series jacket and bragging rights for the year, or they can run the seven other races and receive the jacket.
“We support the local kind of grass roots races that people can do,” explained Francis. “I think that is very important, people should enjoy running and these races do that for them.”
“This is the largest turn out we have had so far for this race,” said co-race organizer Chuck Langevin. “This race really has a community feel. It starts with the church bells and the singing of the National Anthem and it raises a lot of needed funds for the church’s mission.
“We have a great, very scenic course that goes down Wolf Hollow Road and Roast Meat Hill and all the runners and organizers really enjoy themselves and enjoy the morning," Langavin added. "This year the weather was great and everyone had a wonderful time.”
The monies raised from the race, Friday's BBQ dinner and the Church fair, which began as the race ended, goes to the The Congregational United Church of Christ in Killingworth. Each year this weekend of fundraisers is the Church’s largest event.
“The money raised here will go to the Church’s many missions which include the Boys and Girls Clubs of Middletown, Helping Hands Pantry in Killingworth, homeless food programs in New Haven and Middletown, and many more,” explained a very grateful Martha Bays, the minister of the Church. “For the past 52 years the Church Country Fair has been held on the first Saturday in August and the race is a very welcome addition to it. People really enjoy the race and running through such a beautiful town like Killingworth. It is a wonderful community event and a lovely spot for everyone to have fun.”
For race results click here.