NEWTOWN BOROUGH >> More than 100 people raced through the quiet neighborhood streets of Newtown Saturday morning for the benefit of a storied borough institution.
For the 13th year, the Newtown Library Company’s 5K Race - Race for Reading - stepped off with a sizable field, from kids to seniors and novice to veteran and just about everyone in between.
The crisp and cool early autumn morning began with a yoga-inspired warm-up session held on Centre Street near the library. After everyone had limbered up, it was time for the race, which followed a relatively flat course this year due to construction work which prevented the use of Chancellor Street.
The first to cross the finish line was Luke Schlegel of Wallingford, Delaware County with a time of 18:43. On his heels was Matthew Grogan who came in second overall and first in his age group category (30 to 39) with a time of 18:46.
This was Schlegel’s first time competing in the Race for Reading and he was understandably happy with the results.
“I thought it was a good time for a road 5K,” said Schlegel, who is in training for the Philadelphia Half Marathon in November. “It was a fun race, too, because it turned out to be a race with two other guys. We were battling it back and forth and I caught the one guy with about 50 meters to go. It was exciting.”
Other top male finishers in their age group categories were Niki Feldman (5 to 14), 89th overall with a time of 39:14; Luke Schlegel (20 to 29), first overall with a time of 18:43; Matthew Grogan (30 to 39), second overall with a time of 18:46; Bryan Miller (40 to 49), 21st overall with a time of 24:13; Bruce Lewis (50 to 59), 4th overall with a time of 19:40; Michael Kaplan (60 to 69), 13th overall with a time of 22:21; and John Rosania (70 plus), 55th overall with a time of 31:40.
The first to cross the finish line on the female side was Meghan Phinney of Yardley, ages 30-39, with a time of 19:43.
This was her first time competing in the Race for Reading. “It’s nice to be able to participate in these local races,” she said.
Other first place female finishers in their age group categories were Larissa deWaal (5 to 14), 75th overall with a time of 37:05; Rylee Rae Lipsky (15 to 19), 59th overall with a time of 32:27; Madeline Harrington (20 to 29), 22nd overall with a time of 24:15; Meghan Phinney (30 to 39), 5th overall with a time of 19:43; Nicola Ratcliffe (40 to 49), 29th overall with a time of 25:12; Stacy Bancroft (50 to 59), 18th overall with a time of 23:54; Gloria West (60 to 69), 47th overall with a time of 29:06; and Ann Bacon (70 plus), 71st overall with a time of 36:11.
Other results can be found by at PretzelCitySports.com
According to event chairperson Donna Gusty, this year 105 participated in Saturday’s race, which stepped off in perfect weather conditions.
“It’s a beautiful day. Not a cloud in the sky,” said Gusty. “It’s a little cool to start, but the runners love it.
“We had to change our route this year because of some construction issues,” added Gusty. “But everyone but one said to me they like the new route because there are no hills, which makes it an easier route. We were expecting a lot of personnel bests this year.”
The race has traditionally stepped from the Chancellor Center on Chancellor Street and ended at the Newtown Library Company and Market Day festivities on Court, Centre and Mercer Street
“It’s just great to see so many coming out to support this event and also the Newtown Library Company,” said Gusty. “When you get more than 100 people from the community to come out to run and you get another 50 volunteers to come out and help, it’s a good event for the community,” she said. “And the fact that you can make some money for the library while doing it, it’s a wine-win for everybody.”
The race is held in conjunction with Market Day, an annual craft festival organized by the Newtown Historic Association, with the start and finish of the race taking place within feet of Market Day activities on Centre Avenue, Court Street and Mercer Street.
The 5K Race is one of three major fundraisers organized each year in support of the Newtown Library Company.
The library also benefits from a late winter Booklover’s Cocktail Party and its annual Amazing Race (Newtown Edition) held in the spring.
Newtown Library Company, the oldest continually operating library in Bucks County, is a nonprofit that relies on membership fees and donations for support. It is located at 114 East Centre Avenue, Newtown, and can be reached by calling 215-968-7659 or visiting www.newtownlibrarycompany.org
This year’s 5K Race was sponsored by the First National Bank of Newtown, the Neil J. Brassell Foundation, PETRO, Barry Islett & Associates, the Newtown Rotary Club, Dan McCloskey RE/MAX, Eileen of Rick Steele’s Gulf, Applebee’s of Newtown, Merrill Lynch and JAG-one. Also supporting the race were Always Advancing, which donated the medals; Piccolo Trattoria, which provided gifts; and Newtown Printing, for the 5K shirts.