The Manchester Running Company Club women’s team swept the field with a 1-2-3 finish at the Middletown Half Marathon to claim the USATF-CT Team title on Sunday afternoon. The MRC men’s team was second overall in beautiful running conditions on a hilly Middletown course.
The MRC ladies, and the entire women’s field, were led by Melissa Stellato who took the lead from the start and never looked back. Stellato came through the six-mile mark in 39:13 before easing off the gas to break the tape in 1:28:41 – a 6:41 pace. Lanham Miller was second throughout much of the race and was passed only by teammate Brianna Demers in the final miles. Demers came through the 6-mile mark in 42:38 and had a strong second half to cross the line in 1:34:16 while Miller finished in 1:35:05. The three scoring ladies’ cumulative time was 4:38:09, outpacing the second place team, Mohegan Striders, by nearly 45 minutes.
Sarah Ferrero was the first master’s woman across the line for MRC, running a time of 1:48:42, Tulsi Patel was clocked in 1:57:32 and Michele Kay ran a strong 1:59:54, to dip just under the 2-hour mark. Erin Clark made her club team debut with a 2:22:18 showing.
On the men’s side, Jake Gurzler finished third overall 1:16:08 to lead the MRC squad. Kevin Vallez and Adam Gootnick each ran very strong races to finish 7th and 8th overall. Vallez, the second master’s runner overall and first from MRC was timed in 1:20:58, while Gootnick ran 1:21:21. Morgan Kennedy, nursing a nagging injury, started out very slowly for the first few miles and picked off all but 17 men in the field to run 1:26:58 and assist Greg Tutolo to a personal best 1:27:54; Tutolo closed out the scoring for the men who finished second to SoundRunner Racing by a 17-minute margin.
Patrick Byrne ran a consistent pace throughout the day for a 1:30:50 and was followed by David Fusfeld’s 1:34:26. Gary Kravetz completed the course in 1:56:21 and Larry Spencer, in his first race back from injury and surgery finished in 2:33.
Up next for the team is the Delaney Dash on May 28th in Old Saybrook.