Trent Binford-Walsh wanted to run the Richard S. Caliguiri Great Race last year, but registration filled up too quickly.
So he registered for Sunday's 35th annual running eight months early to ensure his spot, took the lead in the 10K race in Oakland and held on to win, finishing in 30 minutes, 46 seconds.
The 2010 winner, Samuel Luff, came in second at 30:59, and Lucas Zarzeczny, who led for most of the first three miles, finished third in 31:21.
“When I was in high school I ran track, and I was an 800-meter guy, so I'm usually all about speeding ahead,” said Binford-Walsh, 23, of Oakland, a Pitt graduate student who entered the race as an unseeded runner. “But (Zarzeczny), he was so far ahead I didn't want to catch up to him, but it worked out to my advantage because it kept me fairly evenly paced.”
Binford-Walsh said he began running competitively about a year ago for the first time since high school, and this was by far the biggest race he has run.
The event had a record 15,000 participants, including 10,075 in the 10K and 4,925 in the 5K. That was up from 14,500 in 2011 and 14,000 in 2010.
“Everyone was cheering me on. It was a really supportive crowd,” Binford-Walsh said.
Although most of the 10K runners completed the race in the rain, the winners crossed the finish just as precipitation began falling.
Sara Raschiatore, 32, of Leechburg won the women's 10K with a time of 34:46. She was neck-and-neck with Stephanie Bonk, 22, of Coraopolis midway through the race and narrowly edged Roberta Groner, 34, of Irwin at the finish line. Groner finished with the same time, while Bonk came in 13 seconds behind.
“When I come to this race I just wanted to get a (personal record), which I did, so I was happy with that, and I got first place so it's double,” said Raschiatore, who finished fourth last year. “I usually go out too fast and then die. This year I felt like I had an even pace all the way. I felt strong.”
Raschiatore said she knew with about a half-mile to go that someone was close behind her.
“I could hear someone say, ‘You're first,' then not much later I heard, ‘Second female,' but I didn't know how close she was or when she was going to make her move,” Raschiatore said. “I just tried to hold on.”
Justin Taylor, 22, of the North Hills won the men's 5K in 15:09, while Kristen Leslie, a 26-year-old doctorate student at Pitt, won the women's 5K in 17:56.
Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7980.
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