Wet trail run doesn’t dampen spirits

By Robert Miner - For Times Leader
Michael Wyand of Bear Creek uses a massagiing device to prepare his muscles for Sunday’s Jen Stec Memorial 5.3-Mile Spring Trail Run at Frances Slocum State Park. -
Co-race directors Don Grose, left foreground, and Linda Wojner, far left, go over last-minute instructions prior to the trail run. - Tony Callaio | For Times Leader
Sierra Strungis, 9, carefully lays out the winning ribbons for the Jen Stec Memorial Trail Run on Sunday. - Tony Callaio | For Times Leader
Dallas resident Heather Dewees was the first women to cross the finish line, in a time of 1:03:02. - - Tony Callaio | For Times Leader
Tony Korch of Nanticoke, right, pulls out in front at the start of the Jen Stec Memorial 5.3-Mile Spring Trail Run at Frances Slocum State Park on Sunday. Korch was the overall winner with a time of 56:31. - - Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

KINGSTON TWP. — Tony Korch ran to victory in the Wyoming Valley Striders 27th annual Spring Trail Run — the Jen Stec Memorial — at Frances Slocum State Park on Sunday.

Korch finished the muddy, water-soaked course in 58 minutes and 31 seconds.

The 5.3-miler is an age-group handicap race where runners, based on their age and gender, are given head starts over younger runners to give everyone a chance to win. The clock starts ticking when the older runners move out on their head starts.

Korch’s win marked the 14th time the 58-year-old from Nanticoke has won a Striders running club trail run (seven in the spring version and seven in the fall version).

“I caught and passed the leader (Leo Turissini) three miles into the race,” said Korch. “Then I worried about Bill Urbanski. But once I climbed the final, tough hill, I felt comfortable about my chances to win because I knew the remainder of the race was mostly over rolling downhills.”

Korch was given a one minute, 30 second head start over Urbanski because of the age difference. Urbanski, of Kingston — who ran track and cross country for Wyoming Valley West High School — is seven years younger than Korch.

Urbanski finished second, 3:11 behind Korch, while Joe Drumsta, 49, of Scranton, finished third, one minute behind Urbanski.

Turissini, 66, of Scott Township, the man Korch caught and passed after 3 miles, finished fourth in 1:02:12. Turissini’s wife, Patty, who won top honors in last year’s race at age 65, didn’t race due to an injury.

The race is named in memory of Jen Stec, who died following a heart attack at age 38 in October 2013. Stec loved racing in trail runs. She won the Striders Spring Trail Run six times and the fall version of the race twice.

Korch was Stec’s best friend and training partner.

“I’m happy to be here running for Jen,” he said after the race.

Stec’s parents, Tony and Coreen, were in attendance at the race.

Heather Dewees, 45, of Dallas, was the first woman finisher, and sixth-place overall, coming in at 1:03:02.

When asked how it was running in the sloppy conditions, Dewees replied, “I loved it. It was a lot of fun. I’m like a big kid. It’s the only time a 45-year-old can have fun like a kid.”

The handicaps are determined by the World Masters Association, an organization that collects stats on how much runners slow down with age.

Wyoming Valley Striders 27th annual Spring Trail Run

(5.3 mile age group handicap race)

Top 20 finishers

Tony Korch, 58, Nanticoke, 56:31

Bill Urbanski, 51, 51, Kingston, 59:42

Joe Drumsta, 49, Scranton, 1:00:42

Leo Turissini, Scott Twp., 1:02:12

Bill Fiore, 66, Clarks Green, 1:02:48

Heather Dewees, 45, Dallas, 1:03:02

Jeff Yatsko, 34, Trucksville, 1:05:06

Larry Pikul, 59, Wilkes-Barre, 1:05:57

Randy Shemanski, 41, Dunmore, 1:07:22

Jen Gregoris, 40, Carlisle, 1:07:28

Amy Swart! 44, Dupont, 1:07:37

Scott Edwards, 29, Dunmore, 1:08:02

William Parry, 39, Dallas, 1:08:18

Ryan Wenrich, 29, Wyoming, 1:10:05

Jon Valentine, 40, Forty Fort, 1:10:41

Michelle Namiak, 38, Peckville, 1:11:04

Traci Strungis, 49, Mountain Top, 1:12:05

Sherry Harvey, 47, Jermyn, 1:13:01

Michael Corcoran, 52, Wilkes-Barre, 1:14:05

Charles Shutterfly, 34, Shavertown, 1:15:21

Field: 43. Official starter and timing: Vince P. Wojnar. Results: Tony Pszeniczny (Wyoming Valley Striders). Race directors: Linda Wojnar and Don Grose.

Schedule

Monday, May 29 (Memorial Day): Forty Fort Lions 38th annual Old Fort 5 Miler at Betty Mascelli Borough Park, Wyoming Ave., Forty Fort at 9 a.m. Info: Bernie Popson, 570-498-7665.

Saturday, June 2: West Pittston Anthracite 4 Mile Run at West Pittston Borough building, Exeter Ave., W. Pittston at 9 a.m. Info: Don Shearer, 570-357-9144 or Borough office, 570-655-7782.

Michael Wyand of Bear Creek uses a massagiing device to prepare his muscles for Sunday’s Jen Stec Memorial 5.3-Mile Spring Trail Run at Frances Slocum State Park.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_Jen-Stec-Memorial-Race-1.jpgMichael Wyand of Bear Creek uses a massagiing device to prepare his muscles for Sunday’s Jen Stec Memorial 5.3-Mile Spring Trail Run at Frances Slocum State Park.

Co-race directors Don Grose, left foreground, and Linda Wojner, far left, go over last-minute instructions prior to the trail run.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_Jen-Stec-Memorial-Race-2.jpgCo-race directors Don Grose, left foreground, and Linda Wojner, far left, go over last-minute instructions prior to the trail run. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

Sierra Strungis, 9, carefully lays out the winning ribbons for the Jen Stec Memorial Trail Run on Sunday.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_Jen-Stec-Memorial-Race-3.jpgSierra Strungis, 9, carefully lays out the winning ribbons for the Jen Stec Memorial Trail Run on Sunday. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

Dallas resident Heather Dewees was the first women to cross the finish line, in a time of 1:03:02.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_Jen-Stec-Memorial-Race-5.jpgDallas resident Heather Dewees was the first women to cross the finish line, in a time of 1:03:02. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

Tony Korch of Nanticoke, right, pulls out in front at the start of the Jen Stec Memorial 5.3-Mile Spring Trail Run at Frances Slocum State Park on Sunday. Korch was the overall winner with a time of 56:31.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_Jen-Stec-Memorial-Race-4.jpgTony Korch of Nanticoke, right, pulls out in front at the start of the Jen Stec Memorial 5.3-Mile Spring Trail Run at Frances Slocum State Park on Sunday. Korch was the overall winner with a time of 56:31. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

By Robert Miner

For Times Leader