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Runners, walkers have nice day for Falcon 5K

| Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013, 4:48 p.m.
Lori Padilla | For the Daily Courier
Runners and walkers take off from the starting line at the Falcon 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013 just outside Connellsville Stadium. Connellsville Rec Board member Greg Lincoln served as starter for the race.

Runners and walkers made their way Saturday morning to Connellsville Stadium to take part in the seventh annual Falcon 5K race.

Kristen Porter, race director for the Woodruff 5K for several years, said she came up with the idea of the Falcon 5K, pulled it together, then asked the Connellsville Wellness Center to get involved.

The race serves as a kickoff for the wellness center's spring health fair and as a fundraiser for the center.

“I decided to stick with the same course as the Woodruff when I planned this,” Porter said. “It's a challenging course. You've got to work.”

The Falcon 5K is an intimate race with attendance averaging about 80 but, at one time, as high as 120.

Wade Schnorr of Connellsville, the overall winner in 16 minutes, 59 seconds, is no stranger to the race, winning it for the third time.

The course is familiar to Schnorr as well. He also has won the Woodruff 5K three times.

“I'm used to the course because I run it all the time,” he said, adding that his time wasn't close to his personal best of 16:35. “This is the first race I've run in a while, so I'm just getting the rust off.”

On the women's side, Leanne Kurpiel of Connellsville won in 24:24. She, too, is familiar with the course and the race, as she finished second last year and won it the year before.

“This is one of my favorite courses,” she said. “The first part is really hard, but the second half, you're good to go.”

She added that the cooler temperature — it was about 50 degrees — was ideal.

Debbie McGee (32:37) of Dunbar was the first walker to finish.

“I've won before, but it's always a challenge,” she said. “It's never easy. It's a challenging course.”

McGee walks at least 3 miles every day to keep herself in racing form.

“Racing is just a good time with friends,” she said.

Jason Soltis, the top male walker in 32:44, agreed.

“The best thing about racing is that you meet good people who continually push you to do your best and encourage you if you're not having a good day,” he said.

Soltis said he does better in cold weather but that the temperature shouldn't matter if a person is in shape.

“Debbie's a good competitor,” he said. “She was pushing me (Saturday). I just wish we could get more people to come out and participate in this race.”

Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.

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