Wind gave extra speed to 18th annual Jack O' Lantern Joggers
The gun for the 18th annual Jack O'Lantern 5K Jog went off at 1 p.m. last Saturday, Oct. 29, triggering a mob of witches, spiders, clowns, and action figures to run the famous course through downtown. Gusts up to 30 knots did not deter lovers of the 3-mile-and-then-some race, joining Jamestowners from all over New England to stir up a little costumed fun and raise money for improvements to the town's Community Center.
The USA Track and Field-sanctioned 5K road race attracted over 120 running enthusiasts, from ages 9 to over 70. Joggers new to the festivity as well as veterans wearing T-shirts from Jack O'Lantern Jogs past prepared to fall into pace.
"We just love running 5Ks," said Mara and Anna Keledei, 12 and 10, of Newport. Mara won best youth costume for her Hula Girl ensemble, after crossing the finish line with one hand clutching the bejeweled lampshade on her head.
A black cat with a Cheshire-cat smile shared her excitement to be in the race. Pink-nosed and sparkly-whiskered, Jennie Eagles returned to her hometown to run the race for the second time in 10 years. "I grew up here," said a grinning Eagles.
"It's a great reason to come to Jamestown," said Mike and Sherry Connelly of Scituate, who won best duo for their beer and pizza costumes. They noted a tail wind helped push them down the hill on Walcott Avenue in the last leg of the race, "considering all the carbs we blew at the beginning." Their carbohydrate filled outfits held up the rear of the pack as they trotted across the starting line.
No challengers came close to upsetting defenders of the fastest costume and hardest costume to run in awards, Brian and Tammy McNeiece of Narragansett, who received the respective honors for the second year running. Brian, packing muscles in his Batman outfit, had wind leverage with his cape, and Tammy, restricted in a long peasant dress, ran for two with a baby on her back. Or maybe she was the baby on the back of a peasant; no one was quite sure.
Batman came in second, 5:49, trailing first place winner Timothy Coffey, 5:38, of Wakefield, who was not hindered by a costume.
Best costume went to Dave Tetrault, also of Narragansett, for his fearless portrayal of Underdog. Tetrault came in eighth place at 6:33. He would have beaten Batman, but he lost a minute while sniffing out villains.
Awards were given to the top three men and women in each age category. Tom Fownes, 12, from Cumberland, placed first in the Peewee division, ages 10 to 12. Carly Bamford,12, of North. Kingstown topped the girls.
Finn Dwyer, 9, would have placed first in the under 10 category, "but I'm too young to get an award," he lamented.
Eric von Hohenleiten of Jamestown led the Junior group, 13-18.
McNeiece placed first in the Open Division (19-39), and islander Andrea Brayman placed first female overall and top female.
Coffey, first overall in the race, and Sandy MacIssac, 40, of Middletown topped the Master Division (40-49). First place in the Senior Division (50- 59) went to Steve Brunero, 51, of Saunderstown and Sharon Purdie, 54, another islander. Gary Kilroy, 62, of Middletown, placed for the Veteran Class (60 plus), and Alice Crook, 72, of Westerly, won the VIP Award for 70 plus. Keith Anderson, co-ordinator
of the event, acknowledged that the race could not be successful without the support of sponsors and a handful of volunteers. "Everyone's really generous," he said about the many local sponsors. He pointed to pumpkins, donated by Hodgkiss Farm, tied with gift certificates sitting on the awards table alongside trophies and medals. Anderson expressed his thanks to the major sponsors, World Trophies, Crystal Spring, Runner's World magazine, and Spinnakers Cafe.
For full results of the road race, check out the Department of Parks and Recreation page at www. jamestownri.net.