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Slowest 5K by hours brings tears and cheers at finish line

Blue Gold All-Star 5K: a community celebration
June 10, 2013
Sonal Cercena with help from Joseph Murray completes the 5K in 3:01.11. BY DAVE FREDERICK

The 10th Annual Blue Gold All-Star 5K run was about good times and slow times, but the theme for all those paying attention was an old folk lyric, “Hard times ain’t gonna rule my mind.”

The post race boiled-dogs-and-slippery-sliders crowd had thinned out. It was way past last call for finishers when word hit the front porch at Irish Eyes that a hero was heading toward the finish line. The digital display read just over three hours of elapsed race time.

Sonal Cercena, 45, of Hockessin, looking like a runner popped out of her power chair wearing bib No. 2131, was supported under her left arm by Joseph Murray, 51,  of Manalapan, N.J.

This Pop Pop of Photo Shop had said to the couple when they were 30 yards into the race, "Great job! How far are you guys going?” I got a Napoleon Dynamite-type answer: "Five K, whaddya think, gosh."

“I saw them on the race course and just went over to congratulate her," said 67- year-old Georgette O’Cone, who wears a G for Green Bay shirt and is tougher than Ray Nitschke. Georgette had to straighten out a few cardiologists so she could keep running.

Charlene Jones, second-grade teacher and Irish Eyes owner along with her husband Tom, is tough like Chuck Bednarik, proven after two fires leveled the restaurant in recent years.

“Oh my God, what an inspirational moment," Charlene said. "I had tears in my eyes.”

The fast-paced 5K race saw 15 runners finish under 20 minutes.  Mike O’Brian, 23, was first in 16:10. He was chased to the finish line by Jamie Ertel, 18, 17:21; Steven Wheeler, 29, 18:00; Sonny Landis, 17, 18:16; Mike Sewell, 43, 18:27 and Lynn Danner, 52, 18:53.

Bridget Danner, 27, a biology major and Shippensburg graduate, was the first woman in 19:27. Ashley Jumps, 18, was the second woman in 19:22.

Chris Rausch, 33, the Boy Wonder of the Cape Gazette ad staff, ran 23:02 and asked, “So what’s it mean to be chicked?” He was informed that seven women ran faster or “chicked" him, and one of them still had a year left in middle school.

That is the nature of the sport of running distances of 5K to 26 miles. The talent comes in all types of packages.

Mark Moore, 31,  an outside linebacker on the 2003 University of Delaware football team, ran 19:37,  which is “sick” for a guy with his musculature.

There were also Gold team players Travis Caraway from Sussex Central, who walked with his buddy for the game, Yuseff Bartsch, and Cape’s Diaz Nardo and his game buddy, Davey Frederick.