By Eli Ruiz
MONTICELLO Close to 300 runners and walkers participated in the 33rd edition of the grueling Monster Classic 5K/10K Race/Walk, which is sponsored and organized by the Monticello Rotary Club, on Sunday morning under threatening skies in the village of Monticello.
Orshi Boldiis, race director since 2001, said the turnout was “just great, 300 is just about what we can reasonably handle.”
As Boldiis notes, in 2000 there was no Monster Classic. Indeed, that year and for the first time since 1979 the race was cancelled, but says Boldiis, “Tom[Manza] and his Sullivan Striders still ran the route that year.” “Then in 2001 Tom and I got together and we just got it going again.”
The Classic’s route, though, has seen some adjustments over the years, changes that according to Boldiis suit the runners just fine. “Originally the 10k was off on a slightly different route, with the 5K going through Broadway,” explained Boldiis. “I think the race’s new route presents more of a challenge . . . the runners definitely seem to enjoy that and I enjoy seeing people wearing the t-shirts, it’s like a badge of courage for them.”
The race begins on Richardson Avenue, leading to a rather steep incline as the runners pass Star Avenue. After a quick water stop, it’s mostly a downhill affair with the 5K runners turning back about midway down Thompsonville Road and the 10K group continuing on to the bottom of Chalet Road where they turn around to head back to the finish line only to realize that all that downhill running they did is now mostly inclines.
As for the race results: in the 5K, first place went to Breydon Gates from Ohio with a time of 16:58.2 -- more than two minutes ahead of seond-place finisher Beau Wills of New Zealand. Trailing in third place was Brandon Reed of Pine Bush at 19:49.7.
April Ackerman of Cochecton won the women’s 5K division with a time of 20:57.2. Coming in second and third, respectively, were twins Camryn and Sydney Johnson of Rock Hill with times of 21:33.0 and 22:46.2.
In the big 10K run, the top finisher was seasoned runner Raymond Revell of Wurtsboro with a time of 37:33.5. Coming in second was Wesley MacKer of Kings Park at 37:51.2.
Rounding out the top three was Kevin Wippel of Pine Bush.
On the women’s 10K side, Rianne Erlwin of Jeffersonville finished first in 43:27.5. Second place went to Katy Schlichtman from Rock Hill at 43:58.7, with third going to Jennifer Jankowski of Kingston with a time of 46:44.7.
Bob Harjes of Wurstboro took first place in the 5K walk with Kim Flynn of Woodbourne placing second. In third place for the walkers was James Goldfarb of Monticello.
In the physically challenged 10K division were Keith Winchell of Westown and Freddy Tiburcio from Goshen. Both men competed on special flat-laying bicycles propelled by hand-crank.
Also worth noting is Darold Thompson of New Paltz. Thompson, 48, who placed 106th of 107 runners in the 5K division, just ahead of 71 year old Marion Schneider, weighed a hefty 410 pounds as recently as early June, but managed to run Sunday thirty pounds lighter at 380 lbs. Thompson started exercising in early June after what he called “years of sloth” as part of his IOTA PHI THETA SUNY New Paltz fraternity’s I PHIT [like I Fit] program. The initiative is just one of the community service endeavors the fraternity takes on involving youth or as Thompson calls it, “youth impacting others through fitness and awareness.” Thompson, who has pledged to continue his progress, calls his personal crusade “couch to 5K.”
Asked how he felt about the day’s turnout, Boldiis said, “it was wonderful, absolutely wonderful. It was a fundraiser and we’ve definitely met our goal.”
All proceeds from Sunday’s 33rd annual Monster Classic will go to benefit the DARE Program and the International Boxing Academy of Monticello (IBAM). For more results from Sunday’s race go to fastfinishes.net.