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The Great Race is a family affair

October 6, 2009 - Erik Brown
The 2009 edition of the City of Pittsburgh Great Race was held last weekend. The Great Race is aptly named. This year there were 6,960 finishers – 3,859 male and 3,101 females.
The top finisher from our area was A.J. Kelly who cruised through the 10K course in an impressive 32:13. In case you’re wondering, that works out to 5:11 per mile. For you high school cross country runners, I’ll note that Kelly ran the first 5K in 16:06 and the second half in 16:07. His effort was good enough for 8th place overall. It’s really nice to see A.J. running so well. Last year at this time he was facing surgery to repair a running-related injury.
            ATW readers may recognize the name of another top finisher from our region – David Mock. David, who currently resides in Pittsburgh, was a 2004 graduate of Westmont Hilltop High School. He was the 2003 PIAA Boys’ AA State Cross Country champion to go along with his 3rd place finish at the 2002 PIAA State XC meet. Mock is still running very well. He finished 11th overall in Pittsburgh in a time of 33:01 (5:19 per mile).
            For many local runners, the Great Race is a family affair.
For example, there’s the Duffetts and the Kopriva’s from Hollidaysburg. Megan Duffett, ran a very respectable 46:16 and was the 134th female finisher - first female from the Mirror coverage area according to my scan of the results. Megan’s mother, Karen Duffett, finished in 54:08 and her dad, Bob zipped across the line in 56:03. The Kopriva family was represented by: Frank 50:22, Jennifer 50:36, and Jolene 59:32.
Sidebar: The Duffetts and the Koprivas along with some other fine folks from the Hollidaysburg area, all belong to the same running “club”. Their group meets (as schedules permit) at the YMCA on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings for runs typically ranging from 4 – 8 miles. Becoming a member of their club is easy. You just have to show up on time to tag along for the run.
Moving on now, other running families from our area who ran the Great Race include:
The Hallinans from Altoona: Julie 47:47 and Jane 56:18
The Gazdas from State College: Molly and Tom, both in 59:24.
The Meisters from State College: Pam 53:48, and Max 53:49
The Muellers from Bedford: Erin 56:24 and Andrew 1:00:59, and…
The Sells from Bedford: Brian 48:20 and Sherri 1:00:51
Yeah, I did a double-take on that name too. I bet he gets that reaction a lot, eh?
By the way, the other Brian Sell won the Brooksie Way Half Marathon in Rochester Hills, Michigan this past weekend in a time of 1:06:27. Sell, who ran this race as a tune-up for the upcoming (November 1st) New York City Marathon, had this to say about his performance: "There are a lot of hills in this race that can make it tough, but I knew what I was in for and I'm really happy with how I ran.”
But apparently, NYC will be Brian’s last race as a professional runner – at least that’s the word from this interview at (Thanks Tim Sheehan, for the heads up).
Here’s one final nugget from the City of Pittsburgh Great Race. The 6,960th finisher (last place) was Toni Farah from Pittsburgh, PA. Her time was 2:07:30 – just under 21:00 per mile. But before you snicker, know this. Toni is 77 years young.
Thanks for reading Against The Wind!

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