The running of the 38th annual Hollidaysburg YMCA July 4 Angie Gioiosa Race on Wednesday was a day of firsts.
n The race was renamed for Gioiosa, the former Altoona runner and coach who passed away last fall.
Mirror photos by Patrick Waksmunski
More than 900 competitors get ready to run the 38th annual Hollidaysburg YMCA July 4 Angie Gioiosa race Wednesday.
n For the first time in three years, Altoona's A.J. Kelly did not win.
n Both male, Ebensburg's Ryan Doyle, and female, Edann Brady-Etters, winners ran and won their first Hollidaysburg YMCA race.
Doyle beat out the three time champ, Kelly, by nearly two minutes, with a time of 51:32. More than 900 competitors took part in the annual race.
"It feels good," Doyle said. "I have been living in the area for like six or seven years. This is the first time I have ever had a chance to run it.
"It's always good to get the win. It's fun. I like going out and competing. It's a nice race, and I'm finally glad I got a chance to do it. I was going to do it last year, but then I got a calf injury and wiped this one from the schedule."
Brady-Etters, who has family connections in the area, won the female race with a time of 1:02:32.
"I was really happy to win it," Brady-Etters said. "I knew Angie, he was my husband's coach. When it was renamed, I had never done this race before, I thought it would be really cool if I could win it."
In the men's race, Doyle took an early lead which created a two-minute gap between Kelly and Kenneth Goodfellow. Kelly and Goodfellow finished second and third respectively. Kelly's time was 53:36, and Goodfellow finished two seconds behind.
"It's a little disappointing," Kelly said. "The goal is always to come out and win. But I knew Kevin was a superior runner. I have never beaten him before so when I saw he was here, I had a feeling he might give me some competition."
Kelly ran third for much of the race, but then was able to pass at the seven-mile mark.
"I was just really trying to survive the heat and get back to second place," Kelly said. "[Doyle] was really far out. He was even out ahead of the 5K guys at the turn a mile into it."
Doyle enjoyed a large lead for much of the race.
"I was by myself for most of the race pretty much," Doyle said. "Settled into a pace, which worked for about the first 5K or so, but then the heat started to set in and the hills. It was a tough course. Pretty tough day, so I was a pretty happy with my time."
In the women's race, Brady-Etters' lead was huge. Just ask the second-place finisher, Heidi Manfred.
"I never saw her the whole race," Manfred said. "I was kind of talking to people the first two miles and then I just thought I felt good and kept going."
Along with the 15K race winners, the winner of the men's 5K, Ryan Walsh of Wayne, Pa., was also competing in that division for the first time.
"I usually do the 15K but the 5K was enough today," Walsh said. "It's fun. It's always fun. Winning races is fun. It makes you hurt, but you can eat all you want the rest of the day."
Walsh's winning time was 17:12. He beat Altoona native Colin Lingafelt, who was second with a time of 17:12, and Clayton Blose, who was third with a time of 18:12.
For Maria Snyder, it was the second year in a row she won the 5K race. The Northern Bedford High School track and cross country star won with a time of 19:48. She beat Debbie Hyde, 20:29, and Rebecca Johnson, 21:19.
"I probably ran a little better last year but this was good. It helped with training and stuff," Snyder said. "These summer races help prepare you. It's a lot easier to do because it's just like you would do any day on the track."
Sam Freet won the women's 2-mile race walk, and 9-year-old Abraham Black won the male division.
The race, which Gioiosa helped start years ago, now holds a special memory for some of its competitors who knew the long-time coach.
"As a runner, you always have a connection with another runner, but he was just a super sweet guy," Brady-Etter said of Gioiosa. "He always seemed very positive. He was a motivator."
Manfred and her husband, Matt, coach Penn State Altoona Cross Country. Gioiosa was a close friend.
"A very special memory for Matt and I was a few years back when Angie was a guest starter at Penn State's inaugural home cross country invitational. We have fond memories of him," she said.
Kelly ran under Gioiosa at Altoona, and later Gioiosa worked with Kelly to prepare for a marathon.
"He was a great guy," Kelly said. "He always had great advice when it came to running. He was the one that actually got me started on my marathon career.
"He meant a lot to me."