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Excitement builds at Lobster Loop road race

Runners take off at the 30th annual Lobster Loop road race in Canton Sunday morning. Simsbury’s Luke Davis (42) and Linda Spooner (11) won their respective races. More photos

CANTON, Aug. 28, 2022 – There is some excitement around the 30th annual Lobster Loop road race in Canton.

A year ago, the race returned after a one-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some had tears in their eyes, race director Karen Izzo said, because they could finally come together and race.

The 3.1 mile race isn’t on the same weekend as the famous Lobster Festival sponsored by the Canton Volunteer Fire Department because race organizers are finding there are more runners in town to participate closer to the opening of school.

For the last two years, it’s been moved one week from its traditional spot in the third week of August.

In 2019, there were just 284 runners at the race, one of the lowest turnouts in race history. A year ago, the race had 374 runners and on Sunday, there were 468 runners that finished the race.

A young runner celebrates at the finish line of Sunday’s Lobster Loop road race in Canton. More photos

“It’s been great,” Izzo said. “Summer is over. Kids are back with their friends. Sports teams are involved. It is just a great community event which is why we keep doing it and why it is so awesome.”

There were some sharp times Sunday on a cloudy morning. Simsbury High junior Luke Davis, 17, easily won the race with a time of 16:09 – the fastest winning time since 2014 when Avon’s Marc Robaczynski won the race for a record eighth time in a time of 16:03.

Davis raced here four years ago when he was 13 and went out too fast, running out of gas in the second half of the race.

“I came back and I wanted some revenge,” he said. “I came. I saw. I conquered.”

Davis is preparing for the cross country season at Simsbury High, where he also competes with the indoor track and outdoor track and field teams.

Winsted’s Connor Marchand was second in 17:17 with Simsbury’s Mike Greenwald third in 18:24. Canton’s Aidan O’Donnell was fourth in 18:53 and was the first Canton runner across the finish line.

Several youth teams ran together at the Lobster Loop road race in Canton. More photos

In the woman’s race, Linda Spooner, 42, of Sturbridge, Mass., ran in the race for the first time and came away with the victory with a winning time of 19:16. West Hartford’s Lauren Longley was second in 20:51. Avon’s Laura Funderbuk, 15, was fourth in the race with a time of 21:43.

Spooner, who grew up in Killingly, came to Canton because she is part of the Run 169 Towns Society, a group of runners who aim to run a road race in all of Connecticut’s 169 towns.

Spooner got off to a quick start and stayed in the top 10 for most of the race. She was worried though when she ran five miles into Collinsville for her warmup run when she took a wrong turn when she missed a sign that had fallen.

But she got back in time to start the race and win it.

The first woman from Canton to cross the finish line was Morgan Babbitt, who finished with a time of 23:52.

RECORDS: The race is a fundraiser for the Canton Middle School PTO (Parent-Teacher Organization) and was first held in 1992. The race record is held by Marc Robaczynski, who won the race in 15:27 in 1997. The woman’s course record is held by New Hartford’s Kate Padden, who won with a time of 17:29 in 2002. The record for most runners finishing the race came in 1999 when 570 runners finished the race.

2022 Lobster Loop Road Race
At Canton
Luke Davis (Simsbury) 16:09 for 3.1 miles, 2. Connor Marchand (Winsted) 17:17, 3. Mike Greenwald (Simsbury) 18:28. 4. Aidan O’Donnell (Canton) 18:53, 5. Tyler Fitzpatrick (Arlington MA) 19:05; 6. Ryan Weller (Canton) 19:11, 7. Linda Spooner (Sturbridge MA) 19:16, 8. David Gunsallus (Longmont CO) 19:28, 9. Greg Vincent (Canton) 20:05, 10. Samuel Herman (Granby) 20:15

Top 10 women: Linda Spooner (7th overall), Sturbridge MA, 19:16 for 3.1 miles, 2. Lauren Longley (15) West Hartford, 20:51, 3. Larissa Giordano (20), Southington, 21:11, 4. Laura Funderbuk (29), Avon, 21:43. 5. Ying Ying Cheng Cheng (29), Avon 21:43, 6. Amanda Faccolo (47), Avon, 22:57, 7. M. Facciolo (48), Avon 22:57, 8. Amber Zaharchuk (49), Burlington, 23:09, 9. Morgan Babbitt (69), Canton 23:52, 10. Camila Jordan (73), Canton, 24:00
First Canton runners: Aidan O’Donnell, 18:53 and Morgan Babbitt, 23:52

2022 Lobster Loop road race results

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 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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