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Brentwood Borough titlists remain dedicated running enthusiasts

| Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

During the Fourth of July holiday last year, Brentwood resident Clara Trueblood took her newborn son, Henry, on his first fitness walk.

For the Fourth of July holiday this year, Henry watched while his mother took first place among borough women in the 31st annual Brentwood Firecracker 5K Run, registering a time of 22:31.

“One year later, after having our baby, it was really great to be able to push yourself and challenge your body,” Trueblood said. “I've never been in better shape then since I've become a mom.”

Along with raising her first child, the 31-year-old Trueblood works full-time as a project manager for Natural Gas Environmental.

She has remained dedicated to her running routine ever since Henry came along, and credits her husband, Brian, with helping her find time to run every day.

“It's all in part due to my husband encouraging me daily and carving out the time for me,” Trueblood said. “It's just a great release. After working and all the challenges of being a mom, it's a great release. I'm able to go all year-round. I have all the winter-gear.”

Trueblood, who has lived in Brentwood for five years, was a talented athlete in the cross country program at Baldwin High School before graduating in 2000.

Still, she knows who she would bet on in a race between Clara Englert, the high school distance runner, and Clara Trueblood, the mom.

“Definitely Clara Trueblood, the mom,” she said. “Since becoming a mom, I know what exhaustion really feels like. So now, I know how far I can push myself.”

Whereas Trueblood was a newcomer to the winner's circle at the Brentwood Firecracker 5K Run, the victor in the local men's competition certainly was a familiar face.

Sam Shea reclaimed the men's borough crown with a time of 19:17 — his third in the past four years.

Shea, who starred in cross country at Brentwood High School and Duquesne University, managed to record his fastest time since 2011, and says he feels as good as he has in years.

“I was in better shape then I have been the last couple years,” Shea said. “It can be tough sometimes, making time for running, but I definitely still enjoy it, and the Firecracker gives me something to shoot for every year.”

Despite working full-time at Printers Association of America and part-time as a birthday party magician, Shea, 34, says he's in great shape and hopes to achieve even faster times in future races.

“I'd like to stay in shape and get my time somewhere in the 18-minute range next year,” he said. “The Fourth of July in Brentwood is just an awesome day. As long as I can run, I'm going to run in the Brentwood 5K.”

Shea hopes to participate in the Run Around the Square later on this summer, while Trueblood is considering competing in the Pittsburgh Great Race in the fall.

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.

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