The humidity level was 100 percent miserable yesterday in the center of Verona, but that didn’t seem to bother Morristown’s Ben Clarke one bit: He once again won UNICO’s Labor Day 5K race and blew away his 2013 time in the process. Clarke finished the race–the 32nd UNICO Classic–in 16:16.19, down from 16:41.23 last year.
Clarke was also the last name of the top female finisher, but it seems to have been a recent name change. Allison Clarke had a time of 19:07.45 in the race, which also may have been a honeymoon: An Internet search on the Clarkes turned up a registry for an August 30 wedding of Ben Clarke and Allison Dublinski. Paul Giuliano and Andrea Silk, both of Montclair, finished first in the Master’s divisions. A total of 507 runners competed in the 5K this year, down slightly from the 579 who ran in 2013. The race is a key fundraiser for UNICO, funding several scholarships that the Italian American service organization gives to Verona High School seniors every year and other outreach programs.
The top finisher for Verona was Ellis Martin, a VHS senior. Martin, who ran with the VHS boys soccer team, came in 17th overall, with a time of 19:49.93. Timothy Decker, 46, was the second Verona male with a time of 20:39.99, while Mario Catania, who will also be a VHS senior this fall, was third among Verona men at 20:59.59.
The top female finisher for Verona was 14-year-old Maggie Ashley with a time of 23:19.02. Maureen Tracy, who earlier this year donated a kidney to the seriously ill husband of a relative, came in second among Verona women at 23:22.66. Amanda Flores of the girls cross country team was the third fastest Verona female finisher, with a time of 23:33.68.
There were athletes from several VHS teams in the race, including the varsity boys and girls soccer squads, and both cross country teams. Chris Feury, Dino Calandra and Jim Cuddihy, who all run for cross country came in 35, 41 and 43 overall, with times of 21:03.31, 21:31.93 and 21:35.49 respectively. Domenic Ferry, who also is running for a seat on the Board of Education, ran the 5K in 21:48.83. Suzanne Giarrusso set an example for her VHS girls lacrosse team: The coach ran the race in 31:37.42. And H.B. Whitehorne fifth graders can give a round of applause on Thursday for Mrs. Moy, who had a time of 32:01.85. You can see all of the 5K results here.
The one-mile fun run was won by 12-year-old Gizette Perez of Newark in a time of 6:13.13, after leading a field of 119 runners and almost lapping the pace car. Peter Caputo was the top fun run finisher for Verona: The 11 year old came in seventh with a time of 7:47.26. Meghan Kenneally led the Verona girls with a time of 9:58.57, which earned her 21st place overall. You can see all of the fun run results here.