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March 25, 2013

Runners brave cold to compete in Molly’s 5K

Left to right: Duane Williamson, Troy Holland, and eventual winner, Chuck Love.
More than 350 people braved frigid temperatures early on March 24 to run the Molly’s Irish Pub Wearin’ of the Green 5-K. The event was both a foot race and a celebration of Celtic pride, as scores of face-painted and shamrock-clad celebrants mixed with local distance runners and recreational walkers.

The race began and finished on Main Street in Old Town Warrenton in front of the popular local pub, which organizes the annual event as a fundraiser for military and veterans groups. The proceeds of this year’s race went to the Boulder Crest Retreat in Bluemont, Va., which helps severely wounded veterans transition back to everyday life. According to the Boulder Crest Web site, the facility intends to offer “a free, first-class rural retreat for America’s seriously wounded warriors and their families to reconnect and recover.”

In the minutes before the race on Sunday, a bagpiper serenaded those assembled as they stretched and strode down Main Street, hoping to limber up and keep warm. Many were thankful for an absence of bone-chilling wind. With a countdown and a starter’s horn, the race began, and the field headed south along Main Street past the Mosby Museum and then onto Falmouth Street with its quiet homes before turning north onto the Warrenton Greenway. There, participants felt the slightly uphill grade of the old railroad bed for roughly a mile as they ran along the paved path, before encountering a hilly maze of Old Town streets during the race’s final mile.

Among the men, the race developed into a two-runner contest, with local runners Chuck Love and Troy Holland running together most of the way. As the pair climbed a hill along Waterloo Street during the race’s final stretch, Love threw down a strong surge and pulled away from Holland to win by six seconds in 18:20, with Holland second in 18:26, closely followed by Jack Morrison in 18:28, and Duane Williamson with a time of 18:30.

The women’s field was equally competitive; the first four finishers were within a minute of one another. Johanna Scott was first in 19:55 and was followed by Kristin Coyner with a time of 20:22, Cassie Jo Smith in 20:50, and Danielle Hardaway in 20:51.
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