KINGSTON — Mike Harnish and Marina Orrson ran to easy wins two weeks ago in the first of three 1-mile runs that are part of the Valley’s Fastest Man/Woman series. So it was a foregone conclusion that they would be overwhelming favorites to win the second leg, the Susquehanna River Runners Club’s 1 Mile Run on the paved loop on Church Street in Kingston.
They didn’t disappoint.
Harnish won overall honors in 4 minutes, 57.92 seconds. Orrson won top female honors with a fifth-place overall finish in 5:08.20.
“Actually I’m looking forward to the challenging hill (the Giants Despair Challenge — the final leg of the series set for Aug. 24),” said Harnish, who was a two-time All-American at Lebanon Valley College in the 800-meter indoor track event “Last year I finished right around seven minutes. This year I’d like to better that mark.”
“The hill is so terrible — it’s fun,” Orrson said.
While there were no surprises in the overall section of the series, Kerry Potter has been impressive at the female master (40 and over) level.
Potter was away from the running scene for a year-and-a-half following hip surgery. In just her second race after the long lay off, the 44-year-old from Kingston ran and biked her way to a second-place finish among women in the Wilkes-Barre Duathlon in June.
On Thursday, Potter finished the second leg of the Fastest series in 6:37.11, giving her a more than comfortable lead heading into the grueling Giants Despair Challenge.
“I’m up to the challenge,” Potter said. “I just hope my hip holds out. Two years ago, my first time driving up Giants Despair, my car was horrified. It was as if my car was asking me, ‘Are you kidding me?’ “
John Jeddic leads in the men’s masters division.
Susquehanna River Runners Club’s 1 Mile Run
Valley’s Fastest Man/Woman series
Mike Harnish, 24, Annville, 4:57.92
Eliot Bonds, 25, Manheim, 4:58.72
Sean Robbins, 47, Dallas, 5:03.11
Aaron Stredny, 36, Dallas, 5:05.11
Marina Orrson, 26, Shavertown, 5:08.20
First male masters (40 & over) finisher: Robbins
First female masters finisher: Kerry Potter, 44, Kingston, 6:37.11
Leaders after first two races
Mike Harnish, Race No. 1. on the track at Misericordia University, 4:27.78; Race No.2, on the paved loop in Kingston, 4:57.92.
Marina Orrson, Race No. 1. 5:08.19; Race No.2., 5:08.20
John Jeddic, 47, Hanover Twp.
Field: 50. Starter: Jeff Skwierz. Timing and results: Susquehanna River Runners Club. Race director: Chris Wadas.
Saturday, Aug. 19: 19th annual Pittston Tomato Festival 5K Run, starts at Pittston YMCA, Main St. at 10 a.m. and finishes at festival grounds. Info: Jay Duffy, 570-574-0463.
Thursday, Aug. 24: Susquehanna River Runners Club’s Breaker Brewing Company Giants Despair Challenge (final 1-miler of Valley’s Fastest Man/Woman series), Northampton St., Laurel Run at 7 p.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, Dallas Twp. at 9:30 a.m. Info: Marjorie Adams, 570-690-2978.