Familiar faces took home top honors at the 3rd Annual Gugie 5K Run, part of Oct. 5's daylong Dewey Goes Pink breast cancer awareness event at The Starboard in Dewey Beach.
For the second consecutive year, 32-year-old Hugh Toland of Fairfax, Va., ran away from the competition, logging a time of 15:50 to win by nearly two minutes over runner-up James Diienno, 42, of Avondale, Pa., in 17:48. Toland ran the course in 16:09 a year ago.
And for the second time in two years, 28-year-old Alyssa Pietrobono of Philadelphia won the women's race, clocking in at 20:46. Pietrobono won the inaugural event in 2011 and finished second in last year's event.
Rounding out the overall top five were Tracey Meder, 40, of Rehoboth Beach, in 18:03; Joey Andrisani, 31, of Hockessin, in 18:34; and Jordan O'Boyle, 28, of Frankford, in 18:36.
More than 1,200 people ran or walked the 3.1-mile course, while several hundred others completed a 1.5-mile walking course. The Starboard owner Steve "Monty" Montgomery said more than 1,600 people signed up for the event.
"Saturday was an amazing turnout," Monty said. "I feel that while the funds raised are extremely important, equally significant is the number of people who came out to run, walk or just enjoy the pig roast. There were families of all ages participating. Seeing the families come together and use this event as a way to bring their families together on a beautiful fall day at the beach is what makes me the happiest."
Montgomery and his friend Adam Howard started Dewey Goes Pink in 2011 in memory of and to honor their mothers. Montgomery lost his mother to breast cancer two years ago following a 25-year battle. Howard's mother is currently fighting the disease.
Montgomery did not have the total money raised from the event for the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition by press time, but he expects it to easily surpass $30,000.
"My mother suggested to me prior to her passing that as a business owner of three local restaurant businesses, I should use them to raise money for this local community; those that support The Starboard and Bethany Blues should be the beneficiaries of the work done with these businesses to raise money for breast cancer," he said.
Montgomery could not run the race due to a foot injury, but his wife Dee Dee and 6-year-old daughter Savannah were each able to complete the course.
"Seeing [my daughter] cross that finish line knowing this event was something I started in memory of my mother brought the entire thing full circle for me," he said. "Everything else in life seemed much less important than seeing her cross that finish line with my own eyes. It was a feeling that I hope so many others got to experience with this very significant race during National Breast Cancer Awareness month."
Following the race, race participants and others joined together for a pig roast and pink party at The Starboard, where they feasted food prepared by Bethany Blues and listened to acoustic music from Love Seed Mama Jump. Monty said more than 800 pounds of pork was served at the event.
The event attracted many individuals and groups who ran the race in honor of a family or friend battling or lost their life to breast cancer, including Team Tara. The group honored Tara Lin Blitz, an 18-year kindergarten teacher in the Indian River School District who died less than a month ago after a short battle with cancer. Tara's daughter Caitlin said even after the diagnosis her mother was upbeat and positive.
"I can still remember to this day her telling me 'baby, I got this,'" she said. "Never once over those short seven months did I think I would lose not only my mom, but my best friend."
For race results, go to races2run.com.
Kristen Latham of Day In The Life Designs Photography contributed to this story.