WILKES-BARRE – Tony Korch and Sherri Yelen ran to wire-to-wire victories in the Benjamin August Memorial 3 Mile Run on Sunday.
Korch, 52, of Nanticoke broke the tape in 17 minutes and 29 seconds. He outran second-place finisher, Tony Pszeniczny, 51, of Mountain Top, by 1:37. George Dunbar, 49, of Old Forge, finished third, 21 seconds behind Pszeniczny.
"There were no young kids here today to worry about – so the opportunity was there," said Korch. "And I was able to take advantage."
Korch went out fast right from the start and never let up.
"It was a nice day for a race," said Korch. "There was a head wind on the way out and a bit of a tail wind on the way back. At the turnaround (Martz bus garage just off Old River Road), I could see that there was nobody near me. So I tried to keep my pace and run a good time. My time was faster than my time from last year. At my age, it's nice to be able to win races."
Korch -- who finished eighth in last year's Benjamin August race that featured seven of the area's young runners who you do have to worry about -- bettered his time from last year by eight seconds. But this year's race featured a light field (15 fewer finishers than last year) – probably due in part to the earlier starting time.
Korch has been running competitively for 20 years. In May he won the Wyoming Valley Striders Spring Trail Run at Frances Slocum State Park. Korch is a regular at the trail runs. And he will probably be running in the Fall Trail Run at the state park on Oct. 28.
Unlike Korch, who has been running competitively for two decades, Yelen only started running in area races in June. And she's already chalked up a couple of wins.
The 40-year-old from Kingston won top female honors easily with a fifth-place overall finish yesterday in 20:53, outrunning second-place finisher, Carma Flannery, 52, of Shavertown, by 2:26.
In August, Yelen won top female honors in the Pauly Friedman Family 5K Run at Misericordia University.
"I wanted to beat my personal best (in a 3-miler) – and I did," said Yelen. "I went out hard right from the start. I had a nice pace going. There were men running way up ahead of me. I didn't try to track any of them down. I just got into a nice rhythm. And I kept pushing myself."
She pushed herself to a decided victory.
Jewish Community Center of Wyoming Valley's Benjamin August Memorial 3 Mile Run results
Tony Korch, 52, Nanticoke, 17:29
Tony Pszeniczny, 51, Mountain Top, 19:06
George Dunbar, 49, Old Forge, 19:27
Joe Kichilinsky, 50, Wyoming, 20:03
Sherri Yelen, 40, Kingston, 20:53
Dave Jiunta, 59, W. Wyoming, 21:39
Jon Morgan, 11, Berwick, 22:09
Igor Mijalovic, 34, Berwick, 22:23
John Yenchak, 52, Wyoming, 22:26
George Cosmetis, 72, Dalton, 22:42
Male awards: Overall: Korch. Age group winners: 14 & under: 1. Jon Morgan, Berwick, 22:09. 15-19: None. 20-29: 1. Ryan Amos, Nanticoke, 26:51. 30-34: 1. Igor Mijalovic, Berwick, 22:23. 35-39: 1. Chris Corbett, Wilkes-Barre, 23:25. Masters division: 40-44: 1. John Battista, Kingston, 24:26; 2. David Hines, Kingston, 25:28. 45-49: 1. George Dunbar, Old Forge, 19:27. 50-59: 1. Tony Pszeniczny, Mountain Top, 19:06; 2. Joe Kichilinsky, Wyoming, 20:03. 60-69: 1. Gary Dougherty, Shavertown, 29:06. 70 & over: 1. George Cosmetis, Dalton, 22:42.
Top 3 females
Sherri Yelen, 40, Kingston, 20:53
Carma Flannery, 52, Shavertown, 23:27
Tiffany Amos, 27, Nanticoke, 25:39
Female awards: Overall: Yelen. Age group winners: 14 & under: None. 15-19: 1. Desiree Holena, Swoyersville, 24:01. 20-29: 1. Tiffany Amos, Nanticoke, 25:39; 2. Caroline Engel, Kingston, 28:39. 30-34: 1. Gretchen Mijalovic, Berwick, 26:01; 2. Amy Felman, Trucksville, 26:53. 35-39: 1. Nicole Marek, Plains Twp., 26:52; 2. Margaret Pefty, Mountain Top, 33:48. Masters division: 40-44: None. 45-49: None. 50-59: 1. Carma Flannery, Shavertown, 23:27. 60-69: None. 70 & over: None.
Field: 50 (40 runners and 10 walkers). Starter: Vince P. Wojnar (Wyoming Valley Striders). Timing: Vince A. Wojnar (Wyoming Valley Striders). Results: Insta Results. Race director: Bill Buzza. JCC Executive Director: Rick Evans.
Saturday, Oct. 27: King's (College) 5K Run/Walk at Kirby Park at 10 a.m. Info: Jackie, (609) 273-8054 or Dr. Bindu Vyas, (570) 208-5900, ext. 5787.
Sunday, Oct. 28: Wyoming Valley Striders' Fall Trail Run at Frances Slocum State Park – at the pavilion near the boat launch area – Kingston Twp. At 1 p.m. Info: Vince Wojnar, 474-5363.
Thursday, Nov. 22 (Thanksgiving): Berwick Marathon Association's (9 mile) Run for the Diamonds at Market and Second Streets, Berwick at 10:30 a.m. Info: Margaret Livsey, 759-1300.