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New faces shine at Orchard Square 5K

| Monday, June 10, 2002

DONEGAL - New faces were the order of the day Saturday at the Orchard Square 5K Run and Walk, as four first-time winners crossed the finish line on a warm, sunny morning. Ed Filcheck of Uniontown was the top overall finisher, and Jenny Striner of Connellsville was the first female runner to break the tape. Craig Baer of Fort Hill finished first among male walkers, and Alice Piper of Bethel was the fastest female walker.

Filcheck's name is familiar to many on the local competitive running circuit, but despite turning out for numerous other area races in the past, Filcheck said Saturday was his inaugural visit to the Orchard Square 5K.

"It's probably one of the toughest (courses) I've ever run," Filcheck said of the hilly, curving terrain that makes up the route. But, as a first-time competitor, "I'm satisfied."

Filcheck is probably even more satisfied with his victory after edging another familiar face, Francis Molinaro, who notched his third consecutive second place at Orchard Square.

Striner also ran a close race, and though she is also a novice winner, she does have some experience on the course, having entered the race in the past.

"I think last time, I was in third," she said. "It's hilly, but I like it."

Both Baer and Piper called the course a tough one as well.

"I'd never done it before, and I didn't know what I was getting into," Baer laughed.

"It was hard, and it wasn't marked well," Piper added, noting that the lack of directional markers at a turn caused a friend with whom she usually walks to go off-course.

Piper said she usually hits races in the Latrobe and Greensburg areas, and the visit to Donegal was her first.

"I do my best," she said. "I try to pass everybody I can."

Baer shared those sentiments.

"I go to win. I don't always (win), but I certainly do try," he said. "I have a time that I usually try to walk them in."

Striner and Filcheck didn't set any time goals for themselves, but they did share a similar strategy.

"I was trying to save some for the end because I knew it was going to be a big hill," Striner said.

Filcheck, too, said his method is "just start out slow and try to pick it up toward the end. If you start off too fast, the hills will wear you down real quick. After about two miles, you know you've got it made, and you just try to hold on."

Proceeds from the Orchard Square 5K benefited the Chestnut Ridge Volunteer Fire Company.

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