PITTSTON — Chris McCabe ran to his third straight win in the Pittston Tomato Festival 5K Run on Saturday. And Amy Viti — running for her first time in the race — topped the female division.
McCabe, 28, a former Wyoming Area standout who now hails from Carlisle, broke the tape in 15 minutes, 53 seconds. Kirt Joseph, 47, of Tobyhanna, finished second, 41 seconds behind McCabe. Tavian McKenna, a 15-year-old from Forty Fort, finished third, 51 seconds behind Joseph.
McCabe clapped his hands in victory after crossing the finish line. Then swung his fist in disappointment, realizing he finished four seconds off the course record — set by the late Tim Thomas in 2000.
Throughout the race, reports were coming in that Joseph was running not too far behind McCabe. And some wondered if McCabe could hold Joseph off.
Not to worry.
“Actually I never felt anyone pressuring me throughout the race,” McCabe said. “I kind of felt I was running against the clock. I figured I needed to be at 10 minutes at the 2-mile marker. And I was. I probably started my kick a little too late. And I missed the record by about four seconds.
“This is my favorite race of the summer. (Race officials) do a great job with this race. And there is a lot of support all along the course.”
Viti, the women’s overall winner, echoed McCabe’s words with her praise of the course and the fans.
“The whole town of Pittston is out — so you really feel the support,” said Viti, 24, of Sugar Notch.
Viti finished 14th overall in 20:30. Olivia Lanza, 23, of Falls, finished second, 19 seconds behind Viti. Jamielee Mead, 35, of Pittston, finished third in 22:17.
“I went out conservatively,” Viti said. “And it was nice having Olivia running with me — we pushed each other. I pulled ahead of Olivia at 2 miles into the race on the hills. Hills are my strong point.”
Viti ran cross country and track for Hanover Area High School and Misericordia University. She made it to nationals in her senior year for the Cougars in the 800-meter run.
In 2015, McCabe finished second to Matt Flynn, of Media, who won the event for the third straight year. The next year McCabe used a different strategy — pound the hills — and McCabe won, preventing Flynn from winning four-in-a-row.
Now McCabe has won three straight. And he will, more than likely, be going for four straight next year if he races. After all, it’s his favorite race of the summer.
A portion of the proceeds — $4 from each registered runner and Walker — goes to Miles for Michael, a non-profit organization that addresses the needs of cancer patients and their families. The fund is named in memory of Michael Joyce, of Duryea, who died from cancer in 2006 at age 43.
Joyce was president of the Joyce Financial Group, and he was known for helping the less fortunate.
The 20th annual Pittston Tomato Festival 5K Run at the 35th annual festival results
Top 3 overall male winners
Chris McCabe, 28, Carlisle, 15:53
Kirt Joseph, 47, Tobyhanna, 17:34
Tavian McKenna, 15, Forty Fort, 18:26
Male age group winners: 14 & under: Dan Danilovitz, na, 18:30. 15-19: Mitch Forgash, na, 19:36. 20-24: Joe Adanizio, na, 25:07. 25-29: Doug Johnson, na, 21:34. 30-34: Scott Verdine, na, 23:18. 35-39: Jamie Anzalone, na, 22:47. Masters division: 40-44: John Carden, na, 27:03. 45-49: Todd Lippin, na, 19:24. 50-59: John Jeddic, na, 19:55. 60 & over: Kevin McAndrew, na, 18:33.
Top 3 overall female winners
Amy Viti, 24, Sugar Notch, 20:30
Olivia Lanza, 23, Falls, 20:49
Jamielee Mead, 35, Pittston, 22:17
Age group winners: 14 & under: Datherine Zaladonis, Duryea, 29:48. 15-19: Kara Miller, na, 28:26. 20-24: Kristen Lombardo, Pittston, 23:53. 25-29: Simone Castellino, Pittston, 29:17. 30-34: Kristen Wilce, Duryea, 23:14. 35-39: Christal Zermane, Jermyn, 23:29. Masters division: 40-44: Kerrie Basara, na, 29:40. 45-49: Kim Segiel, na, 23:09. 50-59: Donna Valentini, Peckville, 28:43. 60 & over: Wendy Sartin, Pittston, 36:59.
Official starter: Justin Sandy. Finish line coordinator: Joleen Lazecki. Timing and results: Scranton Running Company (scrantonrunning.com). Tomato Festival Chairwoman: Lori Nocito. Race director: Jay Duffy.
Wednesday: Susquehanna River Runners Club’s Valley’s Fastest Man/Woman series, Race No. 3. Breaker Brewing Company Giants Despair Challenge (third and final 1-mile race of the series), Northampton St., Laurel Run at 7 p.m. Info: Chris Wadas, 570-592-2820.
Saturday, Sept. 1: Wyoming Valley Striders 44th annual Cliff Robbins Sr. Memorial High School Invitational Cross Country Races at Letterkenny Fields, just off 42nd St., Dallas Twp. at 10 a.m. Info: Don Grose, 570-239-5792 or Karen Moskel, 570-406-4029.
Monday, Sept. 3 (Labor Day): Candlehouse Hope Teen Challenge 5K Run and 1.1 Mile Fun Walk at Kirby Park at 9 a.m. Info: Sally Kinney, 570-592-3725.
Saturday, Sept 15: Scranton Race for the Cure, Courthouse Square, Scranton at 8:30 a.m. Info: 570-969-6072.