Mike Wardian wins Masser Five-Miler

June 2, 2023

Dr. Lee Masser was an icon in the Cape Region running scene. Wherever he went to race, he was well known to so many runners. From Delaware to Florida and occasionally in the Northeast, Midwest and western Maryland, Doc ran an average of 120 races a year for 20 straight years. That averages to more than two races each weekend all year, which to me is just amazing. Doc joked to me, “I tell Mary I’m going out to get milk and bread, then a few hours later I return with a trophy.” The truth is, it was true. Folks had little trouble picking out Doc, as he always wore the same outfit — orange shorts and no shirt — regardless if it was 90 degrees or 30 degrees. I started calling him Doc in 1990 and it stuck. Hundreds of people always wondered what type of doctor he was. He would tell the men he was a doctor of running and tell the ladies he was a doctor of love. This year marked the 30th Masser Five-Miler in memory of the late Dr. Lee Masser.

A total of 234 runners registered for this year’s event at Cape Henlopen High School May 28; 218 ran off the starting line on the fast-and-flat course. Well known throughout the running world in endurance racing, 49-year-old Mike Wardian of Arlington, Va., and Dewey Beach went to the front early and cruised to the title in 27:01.2. Austen Cave, 22, of Delmar ran a nice race for second in 27:40.6.  Owen Parsons, 15, of West Chester, Pa., grabbed the third position in a time of 28:39.5. Local Strider Martin Rodriguez, 41, of Selbyville, won the male masters title in 28:56.1, good for fourth place, while Matt Sparacino, 45, of Harrington rounded out the top five male finishers in a time of 29:26.4, winning the 45-49 age group.

Taking the female overall championship was college runner Olivia Montini, 18, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., with a 13th-place finish in a time of 32:08.0. Montini, who graduated from Penn Charter High School, has been running the Seashore Striders Racing Series since she was a young 9-and-under runner, and she is following in her parents Paul and Becky’s footsteps who have several years under their belt with the Striders. Montini just finished her freshman year at Swarthmore, where the first-year runner placed ninth in the 5,000 meters (18:44.87) at the Centennial Conference Championships, helping her team to a third-place finish.

Susan Dunn, 45, of Laurel put together a nice early-summer race to get second in a time of 36:13.7, while Jen Cawthern, 49, of Lewes grabbed the third position in 36:23.1. Teresa Hutsell, 47, of Lewes finished fourth and won the female masters race in a time of 36:28.5. Gianna Mars of McLean, Va., wrapped up the top five in a time of 36:50.4. On the female side of the action, three masters runners over the age of 40 finished in the top five.

The Seashore Striders Racing Series will give runners and walkers another opportunity this weekend to run a required five-mile distance, as the Seashore Five-Miler will be held at Herring Point Sunday, June 4. 

Delmarva Dirt Dash

The annual Delmarva Dirt Dash will be held at 9 a.m., Saturday, June 3, at the Greenwood Mennonite School in Greenwood. Runners will face about 28 challenges throughout the 5K course and will be scored individually, as well as the top three teams. Teams comprise four participants. If you’re looking for a fun, challenging race, the Dash is for you. Just make sure you do not wear your new, clean running shoes, as they might not be the same shoes at the finish. Register at


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