PITTSTON — Chris McCabe and Jenny Swiderski-Yonick ran to easy victories in the 19th annual Pittston Tomato Festival 5K Run on Saturday.
McCabe, a former Wyoming Area High School standout who now hails from Lancaster, crossed the finish line in 16 minutes, 55 seconds.
“I ran a little bit slower than last year (about 34 seconds),” McCabe said. “I really didn’t have anyone pushing me throughout the entire race. Once I ran over the bridge, less than a mile into the race, I realized I had nobody right behind me. So I settled into what I would call a good training pace. I pushed at times — but it was a comfortable push.”
Two years ago, McCabe wasn’t happy with his second-place finish, pulling in behind the winner, Matt Flynn of Media. The win was Flynn’s third straight in the 5K. At the time, McCabe said that Flynn burned him on the hills.
So last year McCabe pounded the hills and ran to victory, earning himself his first win in the Pittston race and preventing Flynn from scoring his fourth straight. Flynn didn’t race Saturday.
Bob Yonick, a former basketball player from Nanticoke Area High School who recently moved to Camp Hill, finished second, 46 seconds behind McCabe.
Yonick’s wife, Jenny, won top female honors with an eighth-place overall finish in 20:01. And she was excited about her first win in six attempts.
“I was always the bridesmaid, finishing second or third in this race,” Swiderski-Yonick said. “Now I’m happy to have finally won.
“I usually go out too hard right from the start and then realize I have to slow down a bit and save myself for later in the race. I would slow down. But I would always wait too long before slowing down.
“This time I slowed down a little earlier in the race. And it paid off. Then I embraced the hills. I love pounding the hills.”
Swiderski-Yonick swam for Bishop Hoban High School and at the club level at Penn State. Her specialty was distance swimming, like the 500-yard freestyle.
“I didn’t really start running until I met my husband in 2008,” she said.
• Before the start of the race, a moment of silence was held in memory of former Pittston Chief of Police Greg Policare, who died in August from acute myeloid leukemia at age 57.
• The race benefits Miles for Michael, a local non-profit organization that helps families dealing with cancer. An amount of $4 from each registration was donated to the Miles for Michael fund. The fund is named in memory of Michael Joyce, who died from cancer in 2006 at age 43.
• Gov. Tom Wolf and Jimmy Cefalo, football standout for Pittston Area and a wide receiver for Penn State and the Miami Dolphins, served as honorary starters of the 5K. PIAA official Joe Curry was the official starter. Cefalo and Wolf shared grand marshal duties for the parade, which got underway immediately following the race.
Pittston Tomato Festival 5K Run results
Top 3 male finishers
Chris McCabe, 27, Lancaster, 16:55
Bob Yonick, 30-34, Camp Hill, 17:41
Mike Batyko, 30-34, Na, 17:58
Male award winners
Overall: Yonick. Age group winners: 14 & under: David Bulford III, Pittston, 20:05. 15-19: Mitch Forgash, na, 19:13. 20-24: Nick Perugini, Olney, 23:22. 25-29: Graham Ginder, Pittston, 20:30. 30-34: Bob Yonick, Camp Hill, 17:41. 35-39: Mike Borzell, na, 22:09. Masters division: 40-44: John Farrell, na, 22:58. 45-49: John Jeddic, na, 20:36. 50-59: Dan Shenyo, Drums, 18:57. 60 & over: Nick Perugini, Olney, 26:21.
Top 3 female finishers
Jenny Swiderski-Yonick, 30-34, Camp Hill, 20:01
Nicole Zambetti, 15-19, Pittston, 20:54
Sara Radzwilka, 20-24, na, 21:10
Female award winners
Overall: Swiderski-Yonick. Age group winners: 14 & under: Jillian Landon, Tunkhannock, 24:11. 15-19: Nicole Zambetti, Pittston, 20:54. 20-24: Sara Radzwilka, na, 21:10. 25-29: Catherine Armezzani, na, 24:28. 30-34: Jade Cotter, na, 21:44. 35-39: Michelle Falzone, na, 22:24. Masters division: 40-44: Melissa Obmanni, Mountain Top, 23:33. 45-49: Carolyn James, na, 23:24. 50-59: Robin Dressel, Wilkes-Barre, 25:20. 60 & over: None
Field: 283 (includes walkers). Official starter: Joe Curry. Honorary starters: Jimmy Cefalo and Gov. Tom Wolf. Timing and results: Scranton Running Company. Finish line coordinator: Joleen Lazecki. Race directors: Jay Duffy and Michele Hopkins. Tomato Festival Committee chairwoman: Lori Nocito.
Thursday: Susquehanna River Runners Club’s Breaker Brewery Company Giants Despair Challenge (a 1-mile uphill race that serves as the final leg of the Valley’s Fastest Man/Woman series) at Northampton St., Laurel Run at 7p.m. Info: Chris Wadas, 570-592-2820.
Saturday, Sept. 2: Wyoming Valley Striders 43rd annual Cliff Robbins Sr. Memorial High School Invitational Cross Country Races at Letterkenny Fields, just off 42nd St., Dallas Twp., at 9:30 a.m. Info: Don Grose, 570-239-5792.
Saturday, Sept. 16: 27th running of Scranton Race for the Cure (5K Run and 1-Mile Fun Walk) at Courthouse Square, Scranton at 8:30 a.m. Info: 570-969-6072.