Record number of runners at 18th Annual Salem Road Race
By Kevin Hotary - Staff Writer
Salem - posted Mon., Apr. 11, 2011
One of the surest signs that spring has arrived in southeastern Connecticut is the running of the annual Salem Road Race. And runners at this year’s race – the 18th annual – were greeted by near perfect weather conditions and a record number – more than 250 registered - of competitors. The 5k race was preceded by a one-mile family fun-run.
In a departure from past years, this year’s race was hosted by the Lion’s Club of Salem, with proceeds going toward the many charities supported by the Lions. But Rick Konon, a man familiar to many runners of this and other area races, remained as race director, organizing runners before the race and providing spirited motivation for runners at the end of their run.
Unique to the Salem Road race is the use of age-graded results to determine the award winners.
“It really levels the playing field for everyone,” said Konon of the age-graded results, which are based on the theoretical best possible performance for a runner’s age and sex, with their final position determined by how close they come to that standard. So, “you’re not running against the person who’s in front of you or behind you, you’re running against the world record,” said Master of Ceremonies Kevin McCaffrey.
Another change was the awarding of gift certificates to several local and national eateries to the top 10 finishers, rather than the usual trophies.
“A lot of these people have been running races for a long time,” said Konon, adding, “They just don’t need another trophy.”
Adam Bulewich of Windsor was first across the finish line, with a time of 17:34, placing him ninth by the age-graded result. The age-graded winner was 13 year-old Connor Gralton of Gales Ferry, who crossed the finish line in 18:27. Melissa Stellato, also of Windsor, was the first female finisher, with a time of 19:16, good enough for an age-graded 6th place.
As is traditional with the Salem Road Race, the fun doesn’t end at the finish line, as all of the runners were invited to the Salem School multipurpose room after the race for the Pancake and Pizza party/ awards ceremony.