24th annual Dave Reynolds Biathlon attracts 250 athletes

July 11, 2014

The annual Dave Reynolds Biathlon was held July 6 in a surprisingly calm and fast ocean current after last week's storms. It was one of the better swims in the last 20 years. A field of 250 turned out for the race with just under 100 male swimmers taking to the water at 8 a.m. for the 800-meter swim, followed by just under 100 female swimmers and teams in wave two at 8:03 a.m.

Finishing with the fastest swim and run combination was 21-year-old Bradley Brooks of Newark, who turned in a good time of 28:34 to win the race for third consecutive year. He was followed by 40-year-old Brian Lovett of Allentown, Pa., who finished in 29:19. Lovett also won the male masters title. JoAnna Baird of Maryland won the overall female title for the second year in a row with a time of 30:18, while Nancy Gugerty of Newark finished in 35:12 to capture the female masters title. Baird, who was beaten by only two individual male athletes, with her time of 30:18 has the No. 2 time all-time, second only to professional triathlete Marybeth Ellis.

Striders heroes

In a two-hour span July 8, I ran into two of my favorite longtime runners, Andrea Hoffman and Bev Palmer. Andrea was found volunteering at the weekly farmers market at Grove Park greeting visitors and answering questions like “Are dogs allowed on the farmers market strip?” or “My tomatoes will not grow. Is the head green thumb around?” Andrea, her husband, Al, and daughter, Eve, spent many mornings during the past 15 years running Rehoboth Beach races at Grove Park, which was just outside her front door on Henlopen Avenue. Andrea started the volunteer breakfast for the Striders during Labor Day weekend and made a name for herself during the annual biathlon as the "body marking gal.” Eve is now an orthopedic surgeon, while Al is still moving 28-inch cones around the front of his house and Andrea is ready to get back in shape beginning with a bike. Looking forward to a reunion again with the Hoffmans on a Striders starting line.

Just two hours later, I ran into one of the best all-time Striders runners, Bev Palmer from Seaford. Bev ran week in and week out with the Striders in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

In 2004 at the first Georgetown Library 5K, Palmer ran 23:56 to win the masters division and captured the 45-49 series championship in 2002 by 22 minutes over second place. I cannot count how many masters championships Bev won with the Striders, but she was by far one of the top 10 all-time age-group runners in the history of the series. Palmer is a retired elementary school teacher who used to motivate her classes by giving them her T-shirts and awards from the races. Palmer has taken up biking and swimming to stay in shape as she enjoys retirement.

Beach Paper 5K

The annual Beach Paper Firecracker 5K was held from Grove Park July 5 with a record 433 participants registering for the event. A record 185 participants registered from 6:30-7:30 a.m., which is more than three runners per minute. “That may be an all-time series record,” said Dr. Lee Masser. “It’s a credit to our volunteers that we were able to get that many through the registration process and onto the starting line.”

Striders runner Derek Shockro led the large field down Henlopen Avenue as Brian Flynn, 31 out of Bridgewater, Va., wasted little time taking the lead. An opening mile just under 4:50 led Flynn to the two-mile mark in the 9:40 range. Flynn hit the finish in 15:02 to average 4:50 per mile.

Chris Walizer, 25, of Arlington, Va. was the No. 2 finisher in 15:46, averaging an impressive 5:04 per mile. Jeff Young, 23, of Wayne, Pa. was third overall in a time of 16:39.

On the female side of the action, Striders regular Cindy Conant, 53, of Kensington, Md., won the overall title in a time of 19:32 to average 6:16 per mile, an impressive performance being that she should be racing in the 50-54 age group. Caragh MacDermott, 20, of Woodbine, Md., was the No. 2 female finisher in 20:07. Jennifer Hockrein, 44, of Charlottesville, Va., was third overall and the masters champion in a time of 20:41. Mike Sewell of Camden Wyoming, 45, was the male masters champion in 18:07.

Bryan Bowles, 43, of Rehoboth Beach won the Clydesdale division in 22:15, while Laura Marvin, 28, of Laurel won the Filly division in a time of 25:34.

Upcoming races

8 a.m., Saturday, July 12 - 5th Kelly J. Fritchman Memorial 5K, Lewes,

8 a.m., Sunday, July 13 - 8th Dewey Beach Liquors at the Cork 5K, Dewey Beach,

7:30 a.m., Saturday, July 19 - 7th Race for the Ribbon 5K, Greene Turtle, Rehoboth,

7:30 a.m., Sunday, July 20 - 32nd Seashore YMCA 5 Miler, Deauville Beach,

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