More than 200 runners and walkers took part in the 32nd annual event

Hot and humid conditions, coupled with a flat and fast course, made for interesting storylines this past weekend at the Perkins Race.

More than 200 runners and walkers of all ages and abilities gathered Saturday morning at the Fairgrounds for the event, which is the second leg of the Wayne County 5K Challenge.

“I'm thrilled!” exclaimed longtime race organizer Tammy Jensen. “This just seems to get better every year. It's a great way to support our kids.”

Proceeds from the race help fund the Honesdale High School track and cross country teams. The event is sponsored by Wayne Memorial Health System and the Wayne County Commissioners.

In addition to the traditional 5K race, Perkins officials also offered a one mile run and a quarter mile 'Fun Run' for the youngsters

“There's something for just about everyone here,” Tammy said. “You can run or walk the 5K course. You can run the mile and cheer the kids on in the fun run.

“It's a great day.”

On the Rise

The traditional ranks of local runners were swelled this year by a large group from Scranton.

This unexpected development made the 32nd Annual Perkins Race one of the most competitive in recent years.

“I hope they had a good experience and I really hope they keep coming back,” Tammy said.

When the dust finally settled and all the times were tallied, one rookie and one veteran were crowned champions of the 2017 event.

First-time entrant Stephen Haggerty of Lackawanna County was first across the line overall, while Wayne County's own Jennifer Korty celebrated her fifth race by finishing first among all the women.

The Perkins Race represents the second leg of the Wayne County 5K Challenge. Next up is the Habitat for Humanity race, which is set for Saturday, Aug. 26 at the Daniel J. O'Neill Sports Complex in Honesdale.

Setting the Pace

Haggerty hails from South Abington Township.

He's 17-years-old and runs cross country at Abington Heights.

Stephen made mincemeat out of a 5K course that's described as “flat and fast.” He surged out to a quick lead, took control at about the 2-mile mark and then cruised to victory.

“I'm pretty happy with how I ran,” Stephen said. “It was a little warm and humid, but I got through it. This is my best 5K time so far, so it was a good day.”

Haggerty crossed the finish line in a time of 18:24.32, nearly 45 seconds ahead of his closest pursuer.

Dan Kucz earned runner-up status, stopping the clock at 19:09.64.

Rounding out the front five overall were: Dustin Edsall (19:11.86); Matthew Korty (19:16.82); and Jason Kennedy (19:44.57).

Jennifer Korty dominated the women's bracket.

A native of Pleasant Mount who runs cross country for Forest City and track for Carbondale Area, Korty is a home-schooler who's headed for Keystone College in the fall.

Jennifer cruised home with a time of 19:50.01.

“To be honest, I'm not really happy with my time,” she said with a wry smile.

“But, this is one of my favorite races. I like coming back here every year to run. The atmosphere is good and the course is pretty fast.”

Gabriella Cerrone was next in for the women. A veteran distance runner who placed first in the 20-29 age bracket, Cerrone finished with a time of 21:13.59.

Rounding out the women's front five were: Sydney Harris (21:17.66); Michelle Falzon (21:59.92); Rachel Korty (22:04.99).

After the 5K race results were in the books, 15 determined runners strode to the track for this year's one mile run.

Nine-year-old Allie Mitchell finished first in the overall standings. The young running prodigy stopped the clock at 6:30.

Allie was chased home by 59-year-old Eric Anderson, whose time of 6:31 earned him runner-up laurels.

Also in the top five were: Owen Pender (6:36), Ethan Bomgardner (6:40) and Rylan Montgomery (7:22).

Looking Ahead

There are five events that comprise the 2017 Wayne County 5K Challenge.

First up was the Thorpe Memorial, run on June 10 in Waymart.

The Perkins Race is second on the slate, to be followed by the Habitat for Humanity 5K (Aug. 26), the Wayne County YMCA 5K (Sept. 16) and the Hawley Public Library 5K (Oct. 7).

As with all these races, the support from local businesses and individuals is crucial to making the Perkins Race possible.

“The amount of sponsors we get every year is just amazing and we appreciate it so much,” Tammy said.

“This is such a great community. We get a ton of support and we can't thank them enough for helping to make this happen.”