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Eighth Annual Greasy-Gooney 10K, Saturday 28 October 2006
Overall Results    Awards & Age Groups    Race Report

2006 Race Report
  Foggy start of the 2006 Greasy-Gooney 10K
Foggy start of the 2006 Greasy-Gooney 10K
 
Browntown, Virginia is a very small town, just an intersection, really, tucked away beneath the Blue Ridge in a corner of the northern Shenandoah Valley. Since 1999, the town has been the scene of the Greasy-Gooney 10K, a very small and challenging road race held around the peak of the fall foliage season, typically drawing around forty finishers each year. But this year, a veritable mob of 94 runners-- exactly double the record turnout of the 2005 race-- descended on Browntown for the race's eighth running. It was easily the largest road race Warren County has seen since the demise of the old Harmony Hollow 5K.

Only an iffy weather forecast prevented the event from breaking the hundred-runner barrier, but those who opted to stay home missed a beautiful race and almost perfect running weather. True, steady rain fell throughout the night and into the early morning hours of Saturday 28 October 2006, and patchy fog blanketed the hills near Browntown. But as the sky lightened on race morning, the rain tapered off, and strong sunlight was already beginning to burn off the fog by the 9 AM start time, creating some unique views in the race's first mile. Within fifteen or twenty
 
Men's winner Aaron Schwartzbard
Men's winner Aaron Schwartzbard
 
 
minutes the fog was gone. Runners were then treated to sweeping views of the Blue Ridge as they trudged 480 feet up the Greasy Run stream valley and flew down the Gooney Run valley back into Browntown. Temperatures stayed in the low 50°s and a breeze held off for all but the final finishers.

Among the ninety-four who did make the trip to Browntown this year was 2005 Greasy-Gooney men's champ Aaron Schwartzbard. The 29-year-old ultrarunner and triathlete from Reston, Virginia was coming off a runner-up finish at the Backyard Burn Fall Trail Series 10 Miler the previous weekend, not to mention a 2:33:31 performance at the Steamtown Marathon a couple weeks before that. Thus, it was no surprise to see Schwartzbard zoom off into the fog unchallenged. He strode into Browntown 35 minutes 33 seconds later, earning an easy victory for a second straight year.

  Mike Mason and Jason Herron
Mike Mason stays a few seconds ahead of Jason Herron
 
There was more of a battle for the other two men's overall awards. 24-year-old Charles Bowles of Boyce, returning to the race for the first time since 2001, went out like a jet, as did Winchester's Jason Herron, 28. The two had duked it out a week earlier at the Blue Ridge Hospice 5K up in Clarke County, with Herron getting the better of Bowles by sixteen seconds. At Greasy-Gooney, Bowles set the pace through the uphill first half, deciding he needed to be a step or two ahead of his competition by the top of the lengthy, leg-quivering incline. The strategy worked like a charm, allowing Bowles to pull away from Herron and the trailing pack over the downhill second half. Only Greasy-Gooney co-race director Karsten Brown, 32, was able to stay within striking distance, but Bowles remained strong, finishing in 37:51. Brown crossed the line a long eight seconds later. Herron was eventually caught for fourth place by 35-year-old Mike Mason of Alexandria, who, like Schwartzbard, is a talented ultrarunner. Mason finished in 38:33, Herron crossed the line five seconds later, and Arlington's Randall Conner was just a short distance back for sixth (38:50).

Women's winner Laura Nelson
Women's winner Laura Nelson
 
 
This year's women's field was led by yet another ultrarunner, 41-year-old Laura Nelson of Woodstock. One of the most accomplished runners in the region, Nelson most recently earned $1,000 as the Baltimore Marathon's Masters winner in mid-October (followed a week later by an adventure at the VHTRC's low-key Potomac Heritage Trail 50K, where Nelson wound up so badly lost that she had to call someone from a pay phone to get help in locating the finish line!). Nelson's presence at Greasy-Gooney immediately put Monika Bachmann's women's course record of 43:27 in jeopardy. Sure enough, it was Nelson all the way, destroying the record with a 42:16 women's victory.

The name of Fairfax's Elizabeth Jones, 29, has been seen frequently near the top of D.C.-area
   
Brittany Pollard, Elizabeth Jones
Elizabeth Jones (right) trailed by 11-year-old Brittany Pollard
 
race results this year, including an eighth place women's finish at the competitive Star Kid 8K in her hometown the previous weekend. Her impressive performances continued with a 44:18 runner-up finish at Greasy-Gooney, posting the fourth best women's time in the race's history. But even more impressive than Jones was the young woman who dashed across the finish line five seconds later-- 11-year-old Brittany Pollard of Falling Waters, West Virginia. This was the gifted youngster's second straight award-winning weekend, as Pollard also picked up a third overall prize at the Apple Trample 5K in Martinsburg on the 21st. Her 44:23 finish on the challenging Greasy-Gooney 10K course is stunning considering she's still thirteen months away from becoming a teenager!

Karen Young, Emily Durant
Emily Durant (right) ahead of Karen Young
 
 
The fourth place women's finisher, 35-year-old Tina Genay of Winchester (46:19), was followed by another talented youngster, 15-year-old Emily Durant of Charles Town. Durant, champion of the 2006 Bluemont Fair 10K in Loudoun County, actually bested Pollard at the Special Olympics Benefit 5K in late September. Although she could not keep up with Pollard at Greasy-Gooney, Durant's 47:01 finish ranked her fifth among this year's female finishers and earned her the top spot in her age group.

Nine Warren County residents took part in the race, with veterinarian Mary Ellen Hutchins, 52, finishing as the top local female in 54:46. Brown, who lives right down the street from Hutchins, was the top local male finisher. Front Royal teens Seumas and Clement O'Reilly, 13 and 15 respectively, also fared well, nabbing the first two spots in the 19 & under division. And it should be noted that not one but two women from Browntown took part! Mindy Allman finished third in the women's 30-34 age group, while 12-year-old Elizabeth Reardon took third in her own age group.

  Rick Jacobs as Batman, Heather Lark-Rickard
Rick Jacobs and Heather Lark-Rickard-- a new Dynamic Duo?
 
The race's prestigious "Most Dressed Like Lord Fairfax" Award, honoring the 18th century owner of the land in the Browntown area, went unclaimed for the eighth straight year. Clearly it is difficult to get people to run in powdered wigs, frilly shirts and fancy coats. Batman costumes, however, are easier to acquire, as 25-year-old Rick Jacobs of Culpeper proved. The Caped Crusader was the obvious pick for this year's "Most Awkward Race Outfit" honors, and Jacobs was presented with an "Animated Tap Dance Halloween Chicken" to commemorate his cowled fashion choice.

Other notes about this year's race: 46-year-old Bill Stahr of The Plains broke Neal Riemenschneider's long-standing Greasy-Gooney Masters record of 40:28, set at the inaugural race in 1999. Stahr ran a 40:03 to finish 7th overall. Riemenschneider, now 53, is still getting it done, easily winning his age group this year.... Also setting new age group records for the event were
 
Jean Davenport
Jean Davenport

Krista Malingowski, Shelly Stevenson
Pennsylvanians Krista Malingowski & Shelly Stevenson
 
 
Raymond Bollock (men 40-44, 40:34), Bob Ring (men 55-59, 46:21), and the aforementioned Nelson, Jones, Pollard, and Hutchins. Of special note were the performances of Mary Mayhew and Jean Davenport, the race's first-ever finishers in the women's 60-69 category.... Denny Myers, Paul Grosz, Bob Gurtler, and Brown all kept their streaks alive, remaining the only runners who have finished
   
Denny Myers
Denny Myers
 
every Greasy-Gooney 10K race.... Almost four-fifths of this year's record field were participating in the race for the first time, with about three-fifths of the field travelling to Browntown from outside the Shenandoah Valley.... This year's extreme out-of-towners included Shelly Stevenson and Krista Malingowski from up north of Pittsburgh (about 170-180 miles away as the crow flies), Amy Benson of New York City (263 miles away), and Ryan Annis of Merrill, Wisconsin (734 miles away).... Speaking of out of town, that's where co-race director Terry Leckie was headed on race morning, having accidentally scheduled a late October vacation to Florida long before this year's race planning began! Thankfully Leckie was able to help with the race day set-up in Browntown before having to depart an hour before race time in order to catch his flight.

Given this year's explosion in participation, Leckie and Brown were especially grateful for the invaluable assistance of all who pitched in to make the 2006 Greasy-Gooney 10K a success, including Lee Brooks, Kyra Brown, Nancy Bullock, Matthew & Casey Bunting, Bob Gurtler, Sam Kertzman, Lynne Lawrence, Ramona Morris, Seth Myers, Clare O'Reilly, Neal Riemenschneider, and Alexander Snyder. The race would not have gone nearly as smoothly without these generous volunteers. Tom Lacombe, owner of O.J. Rudacille's General Merchandise in Browntown, was of great assistance as always, and thanks are also owed to the Browntown Community Center Association and the Browntown Baptist Church for the use of their facilities. We're hoping to do this all over again next year with the ninth running of the Greasy-Gooney 10K, tentatively slated for Saturday 27 October 2007!

Elizabeth Reardon of Browntown
Browntown's own Elizabeth Reardon!
  Charles Bowles, Aaron Schwartzbard, Karsten Brown

Brittany Pollard, Elizabeth Jones, Laura Nelson
Bowles, Schwartzbard, Brown (top); Pollard, Jones, Nelson
  Dave Mayo, Chelsea Lane-Miller, Kari Benson, Amy Benson, David Overholt, Dave Auerbach
Dave Mayo, Chelsea Lane-Miller, Kari Benson (background), Amy Benson, David Overholt (partially obscured), and Dave Auerbach


Eighth Annual Greasy-Gooney 10K, Saturday 28 October 2006
Overall Results    Awards & Age Groups    Race Report


The Greasy-Gooney 10K Web pages are maintained by Karsten Brown.