KINGSTON TWP. — — In an age-group handicap race, runners are given head starts based on their age and gender.
That meant Tony Korch, 57, of Nanticoke, had a 3-minute-and-42-second head start on Matt Byrne.
But Byrne, 42, of Scranton, caught and passed Korch and ran to victory in 52:31 in the Wyoming Valley Striders 30th annual Fall Trail Run, a 5-1/2 mile age-group handicap race on Sunday at Frances Slocum State Park.
Eventually another runner, Aaron Stredny, 36, of Trucksville, would pass Korch and finish second, 1:33 seconds behind Byrne. Korch, an 11-time winner in these Striders trail races (five times in the spring version of the race and six times in the fall), finished third, 28 seconds behind Stredny.
“I pushed hard right from the start,” said Byrne, who ran for Scranton High School and St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. “I’m trying to get in shape. And I’m using races like this to (accomplish that goal).
“I caught and passed Tony at about three miles into the race. I knew I had one last hill to (deal with). So once I moved in front, that hill was my only focus — just get to that hill and then keep pushing to the finish.”
Byrne was a three-time A-10 champ (twice in cross country and once in the 5K run in track) at St. Joe’s. He was recently inducted into the Hawks Hall of Fame.
Byrne recently opened a running store in Forty Fort called Valley Running Company. He also has a store in Scranton, called Scranton Running Company, as well as the Brooklyn Running Company in north Brooklyn.
Heather Dewees, 44, of Dallas, was the first woman to finish, clocking in at 1:00:08 in ninth-place overall. Melissa Delfino, 48, of Dunmore, a past Striders trail run winner, finished 10th, 16 seconds behind Dewees.
Dewees ran track and cross country for Tunkhannock Area High School, then under her maiden name Philmeck. She ran cross country for East Stroudsburg University and for Valley Forge Christian College.
In age-group handicap races, the clock starts begins as soon as the older runners head out in the early heats, while the younger runners wait for their heats — and all the while the clock keeps running. So the finishing times include the time added to their times while they were waiting to start running the course.
Wyoming Valley Striders 30th annual Fall Trail Run (5-1/2 mile age group handicap race) results
Top 20 medal winners
Matt Byrne, 42, Scranton, 52:31
Aaron Stredny, 36, Trucksville, 54:04
Tony Korch, 57, Nanticoke, 54:33
John Sobocinski, Dallas, 49, 55:22
Leo Turissini, 65, Scott Twp., 56:04
Bill Cook, 63, Scranton, 56:43
Joe Drumsta, 49, Scranton, 58:24
Markus Anttila, 37, S. Abington, 59:23
Heather Dewees, 44, Dallas, 1:00:08
Melissa Delfino, 48, Dunmore, 1:00:24
Dan Rosa Gomez, 47, W. Pittston, 1:00:26
Kyle Franceski, 30, Scranton, 1:00:31
Tom Davidick, 37, Hazleton, 1:00:38
Randy Shemanski, 40, Dunmore, 1:01:25
Jason Kobbe, 42, Tunkhannock, 1:01:42
Bill Fiore, 57, Clarks Green, 1:02:07
Toshiko, 63, New York City, 1:03:03
Tom Shaver, 39, Tunkhannock, 1:03:06
David Stanitis, 54, Plymouth, 1:03:15
Jill Matthews, 37, Ashley, 1:03:50
Official starter and timing.: Vince P. Wojnar. Results: Tony Pszeniczny (Wyoming Valley Striders). Race directors: Linda Wojnar and Don Grose.
Note: The Jewish Community Center’s Benjamin August Memorial 3 Mile Run/Walk, normally run every year in Oct. or Nov., will not be run this year. Instead — according to Rick Evans, JCC associate director — the August Memorial will likely be run in March of 2018. The 25th of March has been tentatively penciled in. But that date, as of yet, has not been set in stone.
Sunday, Nov. 12: Wyoming Valley Striders 4th annual 20K Run at Lehigh Gorge State Park, White Haven at 9 a.m. Info: Tony Pszeniczny, 570-262-9133.
Thursday, Nov. 23 (Thanksgiving): Berwick Marathon Association’s 108th running of the (9 mile) Run for the Diamonds at Market and Second streets, Berwick at 10:30 a.m. Info: Margaret Livsey, 570-759-1300.