Runners every which way at 18th annual event

Fair Hill course map showing other routes taken 2016Organizer and CRR Mark Deshon is having some cause for concern that the current course is too difficult to follow, something he’d never really given much credence to before today. What with many opting to cut the loop course short for one reason or another and several “newbies” participating each year (click on map), we may need to come up with a fool-proof system for ensuring the event’s integrity. The purpose was achieved, however—that is, to have fun!

Once again it was CRR Paul Amer who ended up shortchanged by a course cut, as he followed CRR Matt Robinson, but he made up for it later. We also saw a couple of Johnny-come-lately runners at the finish. See story that follows.

photo of participants at the 2016 event

At least at the beginning, 20 runners (and one dog) salute 2017 – front row: Lawson Schultz and Christine Schultz with Dakota, and Molly Shay (being hugged); second row: Ben Schultz, Becky George, April Anderson, Jordan Deshon (the “one”), Kyle Schoch, Amy Shay, and Dave Schultz; back row: Bruce Hubbard (the “two”), Mark Hufe, Charlie Roth (the “zero”), Paul Amer, Vic Kaliakin, Ryan O’Dowd, Mike Shay, Matt Robinson (the “seven”), Steve Goodwin, and Mark Deshon. (not pictured: Bob DiIorio and Judy Knox)

photo of runners at the beginning of the event

At the start, runners head north along the well-groomed path.

Runners headed northward and quickly spread out along the initial upgrade. Along the plateau near the Pa. state line, a group of mountain bikers passed in the opposite direction and shouted encouragement. CRR Dave Schultz, with Dakota in tow, held a pretty good pace early but was destined to take the first shortcut, give the dog a break, and accompany family members Lawson and wife, Christine, to the finish (son, Ben, having opted for the warmth of their vehicle).

First-time participants CRR Charlie Roth, CRR Becky George, and Ryan O’Dowd and Kyle Schoch (friends of CRR Jordan Deshon) enjoyed the course and its relative complexity for sure.

photo of Ryan O’Dowd

Ryan O’Dowd was first to finish, not once but twice.

O’Dowd, who had run for CRR Jim Fischer as a freshman at Delaware, was in serious training form and shot out to a large lead on the rest of the field. He plans to do the Disney Half Marathon in Orlando very soon. The course description given to him by Deshon apparently wasn’t quite good enough for him to follow it all the way. As a result, he had finished a bit early and began retracing the route. Having gone over “a bridge too far,” he turned around and finished strong (again). Hope it sufficed as a good workout.

Jordan Deshon, a veteran of at least a few “Wring Out the Old” events, led his friend Schoch up the hill after the two-mile mark and failed to make the critical righthand turn toward the bottom of the big hill. But they did see a couple deer for their mistake, “right where it says ‘deer crossing’ on the shirt,” he said.

photo of Jordan Deshon and Kyle Schoch

Wiseguys, CRR Jordan Deshon and Kyle Schoch, hit the imaginary finishing tape.

The elder Deshon and Roth followed at a distance in 4th and 5th and wondered why the aforementioned pair just ahead of them had “chosen” to cut the course. At the point where they took the righthand turn, Roth had put about ten yards on Deshon. By the time Deshon had crested the top of the hill, that distance had ballooned to about 50 yards or more.

Runners processed in, often in pairs, some solo. And, to our surprise, CRR Bob DiIorio and his wife, Judy Knox, showed up to finish too. Apparently, they had had some navigational trouble and didn’t make the start but did manage to pass a few runners along the way.

> More event photos: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12

photo of Matt Robinson and Charlie Roth

CRR Charlie Roth (right) accepts gift envelope from self-appointed CEO Matt Robinson.

Roth, who ran Creek Road in the early 90s while working on his Ph.D. at the University of Delaware, had driven down from Princeton, N.J. Now that’s dedication, or weird curiosity at the very least! At the end, he was recognized as the runner who had traveled the farthest to be in the event and presented a Dunkin’ Donuts (event sponsor) gift certificate by self-appointed Creek Road Runners CEO Robinson.

George, who had arrived with her daughter-in-law and grandson, was treated as the winner of the first-timer random giveaway this year—a gift certificate to the Deer Park Tavern.

Unfortunately, CRR Bruce Hubbard, running with friend Mark Hufe, experienced some difficulties with his stamina and had to cut his run short, said his wife, CRR April Anderson, who walked some of the course.

Event organizer Deshon wished everyone well and invited all back next year for the 19th annual “Wring Out the Old, Ring in the New” and promised something special for the 20th in 2018.

photo of Vic Kaliakin and Charlie Roth

CRR Vic Kaliakin enjoys a post-event conversation with one-time running companion Roth.

Back to the original story—having inadvertently cut the course for the second straight year, Amer was determined to catch a glimpse of the big hill. So, he ran back in the direction of the oncoming runners to the hill, down the hill, and back along the river. He was dismayed, however, to have only seen CRR Vic Kaliakin, CRR Steve Goodwin, George, and Lawson Schultz along the way. By the time Amer had turned around, climbed the big hill and returned, the ceremonies had concluded and most had left the park. Amer’s five passengers (who were getting cold and concerned) and running partner Robinson stuck around to watch him complete his hour-plus odyssey.