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Striders kids escort Doc Masser to the finish line

Eight decades separate first and last in Dolphin Dash
The power of youth propels Doc Masser to the finish line. DAVE FREDERICK PHOTOS
October 4, 2017

The scene was surreal on and over the Shields Elementary School cinder track Sept. 29 at twilight in Lewes. The 10th annual Dolphin Dash, which honors teacher Betty Gooch, attracted only 65 runners, most of them Seashore Striders youths.

The sun was sinking, geese were doing flyovers while honking, and a crop duster was diving and circling about, perhaps practicing or watching the race.

Bennett Brumbley, 10, from Laurel, ran a personal best 20:41 to win the race. Eight of the top 13 runners were 10 and under, clocking 24 minutes or better.

But the magic came from the back of the race and seven decades past 10 years old, when Dr. Lee Masser, 82, returned to the Shields track for his one-lap shuffle, before finishing at the chute set up on the infield.

Striders kids went out to escort Doc to the finish line. No one told them to do it. The prime suspect was Bennett Brumbley, who has that leave-no-friend-behind mentality, like a 10-year-old Marine.

And down the infield they strolled, not unlike the geese overhead. Kids on both sides of Doc just looked at him and smiled. Doc smiles a lot - he’s an it’s-all-good personality type. He crossed the finish line in 54:37, a half hour and three generations after Bennett Brumbley. It was moving, albeit slow-moving, and emotional for everyone who watched it unfold.

The top 11 runners were Bennett Brumbley, 10, 20:41; Matt Sparacino, 39, 21:14; Aiden Bowman, 13, 21:48; Blake Fitzgerald, 8, 22:02; Mikey Thompson, 9, 22:03; Kenyen Littleton, 9, 22:09; Stephen Hart, 10, 22:32; Riley Stazzone, 9, 22:47; John Blackford, 40, 23:25; Alexander Arnold, 12, 23:50; and Gage Hall, 8, 23:56.

The first females were Lily Noonan, 9, 24:00 and Julie Daniella, 10, 24:02.

“Betty Gooch would have liked everything about tonight’s race,” said Tim Bamforth, Seashore Striders CEO. 

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