Every year the Revolutionary Run held in Washington Crossing Park and sponsored by the Upper Makefield Business Association caters to a wide range of interests. From ardent, die-hard runners to more casual fun seekers, over a 1000 athletes braved the heat and humidity to participate in this year’s 39th running of the July Fourth classic.
The 5K race attracted 603 competitors. Newtown’s Ethan Koza, who ran at Council Rock before moving on to compete at Lehigh University, took top honors, setting a blistering pace to win in a time of 16:24.48. The top female finisher was Makenna Pallozi from Bellmont North Carolina who covered the 5K course in 19:39.39.
The 10 K race, whose participants varied in age from 14 to 70, drew a field of 465 runners. Steve Hallman, who ranks among the top marathoners in the area, once again proved the dominant force. Steve started his running career while a student at Neshaminy High School. He qualified for states as a junior but had to sit out his senior year with an injury. He stayed away from running until he was 26 years old. Since then has gone on to compete in such prestigious events as the Boston, Dublin and Amsterdam Marathons. He still returns to his old stomping grounds, winning this year’s 10K in a time of 33:13.21. Kristen Pendergast was the first female finisher recording a time of 39:32.86.
Another local runner, Todd Wiley of Pippersville, loves the family aspect of the whole Revolutionary Run festivities. After competing in the 2016 event Todd said, “I don’t remember how many times I’ve run in this race. My wife has done it more than me. She’s been doing this race since she was 16. She is in here mid-40’s so she’s been doing it a long time. It’s a fun thing to do on July Fourth. It has become a tradition, especially for us. It’s just a neat way to meet friends and be with the family.”
The family tradition obviously lasted for the Wileys. This year Patty ran in the 5K race, finishing in a time of 27:39.31. Todd, who ran scholastically for Central Bucks West High School, captured third in the 10K and covering the scenic course in 36:23.31.
Another longtime Revolutionary Run veteran, Steve Bunke of Newtown, admits the race draws some real running aficionados. “There are some real animals in this area. It’s amazing the local talent we have.”
Steve started his own running career innocently enough, “I started running in high school to lose weight for wrestling. I ran cross country my senior year and found it much more enjoyable than wrestling. Then I went to Rider University and ran cross country and track.”
Steve realized that running helped him relax. “I’m 59 years old. I did a couple of marathons in my twenties and took about 15 years off and then started running again as I approached age fifty. I enjoy it because it’s like a reset button for me. It clears the head and obviously keeps your body in shape.”
For Steve the Revolutionary Run has become an annual event. “I guess I’ve run it about 20 times. The number one appeal is the location. It’s a patriotic event to participate in on July Fourth, especially since it is in Washington Crossing park. The early start of the race is nice. You can participate in that event and then move on to your Fourth festivities. It’s a great way to start the day.”
To some degree the very course itself helps counter the intense weather. “It’s a flat course with shade but almost every time I run it it’s been hot and very humid. It’s one of those classic brutal summer races. It’s what you expect when you run a race along the river in July. It comes with the territory.”
Despite the heat, Steve finished 120th overall with a highly respectable time of 52:31.91. That mark inspired him to consider future marathons. “I just picked up the book Run Less and Run Faster. I’m training for the Marine Corps Marathon. This program says to run three times a week. They have a distance run and a tempo run and a speed workout and they build in other types of cross training. It’s something new so I thought I’d give it a try.”
Regardless of his workout regimen, Steve plans to return to the Revolutionary Run for quite some time. “It’s a well-run race. I appreciate all those who put in the time and effort to hold it. I look forward to doing it s long as my body cooperates.”
Steve is not alone in his sentiments. All the 1000 plus participants in this year’s race would certainly agree.