By Amelia Tarallo
Hometown Weekly Staff
Most people like to spend Labor Day getting some much-needed TLC. Some spend the day having a final summer barbecue. Others flood the beaches to get that last beach day in before they’re closed for the season.
In Walpole, however, hundreds of people were out early, some bedecked in running gear and others lining the street in support. The morning was sunny and warm - the perfect conditions for 46th Walpole Road Race - and the turnout showed it.
The road race began with a one-mile Fun Run for some of the younger runners. Despite their tender age, these runners were just as excited to hit the pavement as their elders. Onlookers emerged from houses bordering the route with handmade signs, while other supporters gathered on sidewalks. Crowds of kids lined up behind the starting line before nine in the morning. Police officers on motorcycles started leading the race, with runners just behind them. Five minutes later, the first runner crested past cheering onlookers and made his way to the finish line. Marcus Miller finished first in five minutes and 58 seconds. “I couldn’t believe how fast he was going,” commented one observer. “A six-minute mile!”The Fun Run was only the beginning of the excitement. A few minutes later, runners lined up for the 5K and the excitement hadn’t dwindled in the slightest.
Mike Stover has been running in the race for eight years. This year, he finished the 5K in 26 minutes and 20 seconds, similar to times he’s had in previous years. Though he loves running the race, his favorite part occurs before his feet even hit the pavement. “The beginning [is the best],” he observed, “because it’s a lot of excitement. It’s a great collective energy when everyone starts.”
Allison Conley, who finished the 5k with a time of 25:55, and Jana DeMartino, who finished with a time of 24:09, are 10th graders at Walpole High School. Like the rest of their fellow cross-country running teammates, Conley and DeMartino dressed in tie-dye shirts for the race. “I like the starting line,” said DeMartino on her favorite part of the race, concurring with Stover.
“I like seeing everyone supporting the runners,” added Conley. All the runners and walkers witnessed a fantastic wave of support, from neighbors holding up signs and placing them in their yards, to people cheering encouraging words as participants made their way through the toughest parts of the course.
Shane Grant of Walpole (16:45), Tyler Sullivan of East Walpole (17:15), and Anthony Borelli (17:39) were the top three male runners of 5K. Allie Morris (18:40), Mia Costa (19:36), and Laine DiMartinis (21:04), all of Walpole, were the top three female runners in the 5L. When it came to the 10K, Eric Flaman of Walpole, Joseph Keough of East Walpole, and Whitney Hall of Dartmouth dominated the race as the top three male runners. Lauren Leslie of Warwick (45:10), Alex Jordan (46:04), and Tarsha Smith (48:10) were the top three female racers of the 10K.
Whether they were running, cheering, or volunteering, everyone enjoyed their Labor Day morning at the Walpole Road Race.