The Wayne County Fairgrounds provided a scenic backdrop Saturday morning for the opening leg of the 2012 Triple Crown Series...

Several hundred runners from all over the region gathered at the Wayne County Fairgrounds Saturday morning to compete in the 27th Perkins Memorial 5K.

This race marks the first leg of the Triple Crown Series, which also features the Habitat for Humanity and YMCA 5Ks.

“We are extremely happy with how well everything went,”?Honesdale varsity cross country coach and co-organizer Lindsey Pender told TWI Sports. “It’s really been a perfect day. The weather cooperated, the turnout was good and everyone seems to be having a fun time.”

Saturday’s 5K run/walk was once again hosted by the Honesdale’s Friends of Track & Cross Country in  association with Wayne Memorial Health Systems and  the Wayne County Commissioners.

The second leg of the ‘12 Triple Crown Series is set for Saturday, August 25 at the HHS Complex. This year’s edition of the series will conclude Saturday, September 15th.

New Course
After more than a quarter century, organizers of this year’s Perkins Race decided to changes things up just a little bit.

Hall of Fame cross country coach Joe Macey was commissioned to re-design the course so that the layout would utilize the always-busy Rte. 191 less. The result was a similarly “flat &?fast” 5K, but one which appeared to be much more “runner-friendly.”

At 8:30 a.m. Saturday, the starter’s gun sounded and nearly 200 runners bolted from the line. Less than 17 minutes later, Jason Theobald was crossing the finish line and praising the new course.

“I?definitely liked it,”?said Jason, who was a star runner at both Honesdale and Elizabethtown College. “It’s still flat and fast, but there’s a lot more shade, too. Overall, I?think they did a really good job.”

Theobald covered the new course in a blistering 16:51. That time gave Theobald a 10-second cushion over his closest competitor...and the Perkins Race title.

“I?feel great,”?Jason said. “I always enjoy coming back home to run.”

Michael Brody was next across the line, clocking in at 17:09.54.

Paul Leonard, who won the 1996 Steamtown Mara-hon, returned to compete and finished third with a time of 17:31.10. Jason Kennedy (4th, 17:35.84)?and Steve Brown (5th, 18:06.77) rounded out the front five.

Laura Onderko of Philadelphia was the first female runner across the line. She finished ninth overall with a time of 18:45.60.

A native of Glastonbury (CT), Onderko ran cross country and track both in high school and at Bowdoin College in Maine.

“I?enjoyed it,”?Laura said. “It was a lot of fun. I still love to run and this was a nice experience.”

Summer Hill was the second female to complete the course. Honesdale’s top distance runner cruised home in 19:25.62, good for first place in her age bracket and 14th overall.

Rounding out the Top 5 for the women were: Rachel Fritz (3rd, 20:59.96); Cindy Batzel (4th, 21:21.67); Maureen ‘Mo’ Ordnung (5th, 21:52.57).

With the last runner in, officials, starters and timers quickly re-organized for a pair of mile runs. On the women’s side of the bracket, Rachel Fritz sprinted to victory, stopping the clock at 6:16.

Sophie Collings earned runner-up status by crossing the line in 6:45.24. Rounding out the front five were: Ava Sarra (3rd, 7:25.99); Rachel Cramer (4th, 7:30.91); Alexandra Cohen (5th, 8:08.00).

On the men’s side, Jason Theobald made it a daily double, winning the mile in a time of 4:56.12. He was chased home by Jason Kennedy, who stopped the clock at 5:03.

The men’s top five included: Colin Rickard (3rd, 5:18. 71); Andrew Carnegie (4th, 5:26.62); Eric Anderson (5th, 5:56.25).

Other Winners...
•Men’s Masters:?Paul Leonard (17:32.10).
•Women’s Masters: Erin Gordno (23:41.11).
•Men’s Grand Masters: Tony Cerminaro (22:16).
•Women’s Grand Masters: Cathy Howell (39:09).
•Boys 1-12: Colin Rickard (18:31.11).
•Girls 1-12: Cheyenne Schneider (31:33.11).
•Boys 13-15: Caleb Jensen (18:22.85).
•Girls 13-15:?Parker Pro-pst (29:55.35).
•Boys 16-18: Michael Henry (19:35.98).
•Girls 16-18: Summer Hill (19:25.52).
•Men 19-24: Michael Brody (17:09.54).
•Women 19-24: Maureen Ordnung (21:52.57).