Frosty Runners Not So Frosty

Runners of the third annual Frosty Runner Road Race were grateful for the decision last week to postpone the race until February 1 – it was a little too frosty last week for a run, with temperatures just starting to climb up from single digits and a few flakes still falling around the region.

Saturday, however, was the perfect day for a not-so-frosty runner race with the snow melting on the side of the road as runners passed, and the spring-like 40 degree temperature was warm enough to cause a sweat but cool enough to keep runners from overheating.

The flag dropped at 10:00 am sharp, prompting the simultaneous start of two races – the 10-mile run and the 3.1-mile run/walk – that began and ended at Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School, but which wove separate paths throughout Rochester during the course of the race.

First to cross the finish line for the 3.1-mile was Nathen Brito of New Bedford, age 21, timed at 17 minutes and 51 seconds.

“I won the race last year, too,” said Brito. “I just started running last year. I love running, I run all the time.”

Meg Hughes, 11, a sixth-grade student at Rochester Memorial School, beat all the women across the finish line with an impressive time of 20 minutes and 53 seconds. She also won the race last year, having run it all three years. She ran with her sister, Kate, 14, a student at Old Rochester Regional Junior High, who was the second female to cross the line. The two girls are part of a multi-sports team called “Spark” based out of Westport, sponsored by Spark Bike Run Sports in Taunton.

Richard Cole, another Spark member running the Frosty Runner, said any funds they raise from group participation in sporting events goes to the organization Homes for our Troops.

“[The Frosty Runner] is one of the earlier races of the season, and it’s a nice race,” said Cole. “We like to keep things going throughout the winter.”

It wasn’t long after all the 3.1-mile runners returned that the 10-milers started winding their way back down the long driveway toward the finish line.

Dan Croteau of Acushnet, 24, beat his time from two years ago when he ran the race and won.

I basically knew I was gonna win from the start,” said Croteau, “So I felt pretty comfortable the whole way.”

First for the women’s 10-mile was Lynn Vasconcelos of Fairhaven.

“There must be something about those teachers when they get into school!” yelled someone from the finish line as Vasconcelos arrived back at Old Colony.

“Yeah! It’s called therapy,” replied Vasconcelos, a first-grade teacher at Wood Elementary School in Fairhaven. “Running is therapy!”

Would-be first place woman runner Tarley Sumner was in the lead as she ran the final stretch of the race, only to take a wrong turn at the last minute and nobody manning the street did anything to stop her.

“I was hoping to beat my time,” said Sumner. “I would have, too. It was the last turn of the race.”

Kevin Mullen of Fairhaven and Jeremy Fuller of New Bedford both ran the race barefoot and, despite the wet, gravelly winter roads scattered with mud puddles of melting ice and snow, Mullen beat his personal barefoot record and finished faster than he expected.

“With practice and persistence,” said Mullen, “it’s the style of running I’ve developed over the years … It strengthens your feet and ankles. All running begins and ends with the foot.”

A trio of Old Colony students donned white hazmat suits for the fun of it, and just in case they encountered some asbestos or radioactive waste along the way, or course. Zack Turbesi, Jacob Sol, and Brian Grant from “Team Tyvek” kept pace with each other and crossed the finish line together, hands clasped and arms high in triumph. Grant, who started out the 3.1-mile race with a black featureless nylon mask, said he made it to about one mile before whipping the thing off for some fresh air.

With 170 runners in all, race coordinator Bethany Botelho said the Frosty Runner Road Race is still up and coming and rather small, but she is hoping that local businesses will soon take notice of the growing interest in the race and will sign on next year as sponsors. Botelho is a teacher and the cross-country varsity coach at Old Colony. Any proceeds from race registration will benefit the athletics department at the school.

By Jean Perry

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