Hundreds of runners and walkers turned out for the second leg of the 5K Challenge

Tropical temperatures and oppressive humidity weren’t enough to put a damper on one of the area’s most popular events.

On Saturday morning, more than 200 intrepid runners and walkers turned out to participate in the 34th Annual Dr. Perkins Memorial Race.

Stage Set

This year’s edition of the event was once again held at the Wayne County Fairgrounds and was hosted by Honesdale’s Friends of Cross Country and Track.

“I’m absolutely thrilled with the turnout,” said race organizer Lindsey Pender.

“We were definitely worried about the heat, but we had quite a few people sign up just today and that was a pleasant surprise.”

The Perkins Race is held each year in memory of Dr. William Perkins, longtime local physician and tireless advocate of living a healthy lifestyle. In addition, the event marks the second leg of the 2019 Wayne County 5K Challenge.

“I really love what the Challenge has done,” Lindsey said. “It’s increased our numbers here at the Perkins Race, but it’s also really become a community tradition that a lot of people come out for.”

Next up is Habitat for Humanity’s “Run for the Roses.” This third leg of the Challenge is slated for Saturday, August 24 at the Daniel J. O’Neill Sports Complex in Honesdale.

At the Line

This year’s Perkins Race went off at 8:30 a.m. Saturday on the banks of the Dyberry.

More than 200 runners and walkers of all ages and abilities navigated a 3.1-mile course described as flat and fast.

“Joe Walsh and his crew do a fabulous job getting the track ready for us,” Lindsey said.

“Once you get out of the Fairgrounds and start moving up toward the dam, a lot of the course is actually in shade. On the way back, though, the sun was a little bit tough.”

Honesdale’s own Dustin Edsall didn’t seem to be affected either by the course or the conditions. A standout runner for both the cross country and track teams, Edsall powered his way to victory with a time of 17:36.

“It’s been very rewarding to watch Dustin develop as a runner,” Lindsey said. “He’s had two very good years and now he’s coming up on his senior season.

“Dustin suffered an injury last year at the district meet, so to see him running so well at this point really makes me smile. We’re expecting big things from Dustin this fall.”

Edsall’s time was good enough for a cushion of more than a minute over his closest pursuer. Matthew Korty of Forest City earned runner-up honors with a time of 18:55.

Rounding out the Top Five overall were: Jereme Hall (19:34), Jeff Hugaboom (20:38) and Peter Swendsen (20:42).

Meanwhile on the women’s side of the ledger, Rachel Korty cruised to an impressive victory.

A sophomore who runs cross country at Forest City Regional, Korty piled up a slew of awards and accolades during her freshman year. Included among these were All-League and All-Regional recognition.

Rachel finished sixth in the 2018 District Two Class A race, then went on to take second at the Lackawanna County Commissioners competition.

On Saturday, Korty jetted to a first place finish among all the women, stopping the clock at 21:36.

Rounding out the front five were: Patti Howell (22:11); Mary Kate Grady (22:48); Julia Blaskiewicz (23:01); Kate Korty (23:11).

Looking Ahead

Coach Pender was quick to point out that an event of this magnitude takes a great deal of time and effort to organize.

“I have such an amazing group of parents and volunteers who help me out,” she said. “I can’t thank them enough for all they do. This is our biggest fundraiser of the year and it couldn’t happen without all their hard work.”

Proceeds from the race help members of Honesdale’s track and cross country teams with everything from in-season training to the end-of-the-year banquet.

The 2019 Lackawanna League cross country campaign is now about a month away and the veteran skipper is already excited.

“Out goals are always pretty high,” Lindsey said. “I’m definitely hoping for a trip to Hershey, whether it’s with an entire team or just a few individuals.

“The Perkins Race serves as a jumpstart to our season and I’m absolutely excited by some of the things I saw here today.”

In the meantime, several other events remain on the summer slate...

•Habitat for Humanity Run for the Roses: Saturday, August 24 in Honesdale.

•Wayne County YMCA 5K: Saturday, September 14 in Honesdale.

•Hawley Public Library Run to Read 5K: Saturday, October 5 at Bingham Park in Hawley.