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Thousands run in Hartford races, one couple gets engaged at the finish

Essex’s Chris Zablocki ran hard to win the Eversource Hartford Marathon Saturday.

HARTFORD, Oct. 14 – Every October, runners flock to Bushnell Park for the annual Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon. More than 7,500 runners competed in three races on Saturday – the 26.2-mile marathon, the 13.1 mile half-marathon and the 3.1 mile 5K road race. All three races finished at Bushnell Park.

In the main event, Essex’s Chris Zablocki won his first Eversource Hartford Marathon in 2:17.59, surviving a fast start – running the first mile of the race in under five minutes. By the time the 2006 Xavier High graduate crossed the finish line, he had a lead of over a minute

Zablocki beat last year’s winner Brian Harvey of Cambridge, Mass., by 1:14 but he was clearly pushed throughout the race. After the race, he spent time recovering from the run even before accepting the first place check of $6,000.

In the woman’s race, Meseret Gebre Dekebo of Ethiopia won in 2:37.27, beating Samantha Roecker of Balliston Lake, N.Y., who was second in 2:38.13. Last year’s winner, former Farmington High runner Elizabeth Place-Ryan of Boston, was third in 2:44.02.

Chris DeYoung proposes to his girlfriend Rebecca Harms at the finish line after Harms ran the half-marathon.

There were 1,622 runners that finished the marathon.

Among local runners, Unionville’s Adam Gootnick, 31, was the top area runner to cross the line in 2:51.07. Avon’s Jonathan Rosow, 23, was the first runner from Avon to finish in 2:51.40.

Simsbury’s Shannon Siragusa was second in the women’s Master Division with her time of 3:05.26. She was also 73rd overall. Avon’s Mary-Lynn Currier won the women’s 50-54 division with a time of 3:09.01, good enough for a top 100 finish (92). John Koster was the top runner from Canton in the marathon with a finishing time of 3:24.53 (173 overall).

In the half-marathon, Tim Ritchie set a new course record of 1:02.41, dancing across the finish line and into the finish line tape. He cut nearly a minute off the previous best time of 1:03.36 set in 1999 by Benedict Akoi. In the women’s race, Grace Kahura of Boulder, Colorado held off a late charge from Kaitlin Goodman of Providence to win by a second in 1:14.41.

There were 4,074 runners that ran the 13.1 mile course.

Competing the marathon is a time of celebration for many runners as they approach the finish line in Bushnell Park.

Kids take off at a series of quarter mile, half mile and one mile fun races for kids. Mom and Dad can run, too, if they want.

In the half marathon, Farmington’s Jon Krell had a top 25 finish, taking 22nd spot with his time of 1:12.31. Avon’s Dickson Suit was 95th in 1:28.18 while Canton’s John Kennedy (175th place) finished with a time of 1:34.51.

In the 5K, Higgnaum’s Nicholas Migani won the race in 15:40 beating Samuel Alexander of Mystic, who was second in 15:59. The woman’s race went to Pascaline Jerotich of Ethiopia in 18:17. Katrina Vassalo of Peabody, Mass., was second in 18:38. Farmington’s Michele Kurnik was seventh in 21:01. There were 1,892 runners that finished the 5K race.

The area runner in the 5K was North Granby’s Helen Newman, who was 21st with a time of 19:49. Avon’s Rodrigo Portal, 14, finished 26th with a time of 20:00 and Donald Bates, 39, was the top runner from Canton with a time of 21:31.

And, as always, there was some fun and celebration at the finish line. Shelton’s Gordon Bennett was thrilled to finish the marathon. He has run two marathons in all 50 states.

Gordon Bennett (150) celebrates after completing the Eversource Hartford Marathon and running two marathons in all 50 states.

Like many family members and supporters do, Chris DeYoung patiently waited at the finish line for his girlfriend to finish the half-marathon. Rebecca Harms of Mystic was a pace runner, a runner employed by the marathon to help runners on the course maintain an even pace and finish with a specific time.

When Harms crossed the finish line, DeYoung was there. He got down on one knee and proposed to her. Amid the sweat, sore muscles, photographers jostling to record the moment, there were lots of smiles, a kiss and a hug and a yes from Harms.

Avon’s Susan Davies completes the marathon in Hartford.

Canton’s John Koster (103) moves toward the finish of the marathon. He was the first runner from Canton to finish the marathon Saturday.

The happy couple at the finish line in Bushnell Park.

 

Results 2017 Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years.

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