By Rob Potter
ROCK HILL June 19, 2001 Mike Slinskey planned to run in Saturday mornings ninth annual Rock Hill Run and Ramble.
But as of Friday night, Slinskey, an avid runner from Wappingers Falls, was not exactly sure of the official start time for the annual event. Slinskey phoned a friend to ascertain the time and was at the starting line promptly at 9 a.m. Saturday.
And he wasted little time in reaching the finish line.
Slinskey captured his third consecutive Rock Hill Run and Ramble 5K with a time of 15:15. It was slightly off the course record time he set last year (15:02) and his 1999 time of 15:05.
But he didnt mind.
I felt okay, I did the best I could for today, Slinskey said. I like this race and this is a nice area.
After three straight wins, one wonders what Slinskeys secret to success might be.
Theres no secret, he said. Just hard work. Actually, everybody out here is working hard. Whether you finish in 15 minutes or 25 minutes, youre out there working hard and having fun.
While Slinskey is very familiar with the Run and Ramble course, the top woman finisher is not. However, Conni Grace of Poughquag ran the course in 18:23 to capture the women's first place trophy.
But Grace said she got a little advice about the course from fellow runner Jean Velasquez.
Shes a real good sport, Grace said of Velasquez.
Naturally, Grace enjoyed her victory, but she was also pleased with the overall race atmosphere.
It started to get tough near the end, because this is my 14th race in as many weeks, said Grace, who like several others in the race is participating in a series of races throughout Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties this summer. Im very impressed with this race. It is well-organized and a real community event.
Organizers were pleased with the event as well.
Race Chairperson Suzanne Rhulen Loughlin proudly announced to the hundreds of people at the post-race awards ceremony that the event was the largest ever. A total of 647 people participated in the event, either running or walking the 5K course.
And the best part is that while we raised a record $40,000 last year, our total this year is clearly closer to $50,000, Loughlin said.
That total will be split between the American Heart Association and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of America.
(The Rock Hill Run and Ramble, presented by Frontier Insurance Group, Inc., with the sponsorship of dozens of area businesses, is in memory of Walter A. Rhulen. Rhulen, a dedicated runner, humanitarian and founder of Frontier Insurance, died in 1998 following a bout with leukemia.)
Please see Fridays Democrat for a complete list of finishers.