40th Montague Mug Race features impressive turnout

  • Runners start out from the Town Common during the 40th Montague Mug Race on Saturday morning in Montague Center. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Runners start out from the Town Common during the 40th Montague Mug Race on Saturday morning in Montague Center. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Dan Smith, of Shelburne Falls, runs down School Street to a first place finish with a time of 31:17 during the 40th Montague Mug Race on Saturday morning in Montague Center. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Dan Smith, of Shelburne Falls, crosses the finish line with a first place time of 31:17 during the 40th Montague Mug Race on Saturday morning in Montague Center. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Dan Smith, of Shelburne Falls, crosses the finish line with a first place time of 31:17 during the 40th Montague Mug Race on Saturday morning in Montague Center. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Jon Korhonen, of Littleton, high-fives his wife Beth Kornhonen as he runs down the final stretch of School Street to a second place finish with a time of 32:03 during the 40th Montague Mug Race on Saturday morning in Montague Center. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Ben Whitbeck, of Greenfield, crosses the finish in fourth with a time of 35:14 during the 40th Montague Mug Race on Saturday morning in Montague Center. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Jennifer Alli, of Southampton, runs to the finish on School Street in first place in the women’s division and seventh overall with a time of 37:05 during the 40th Montague Mug Race on Saturday morning in Montague Center. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Tellman Knudsor, of Guilford, Vt., runs barefoot to the finish on School Street with a time of 40:31 during the 40th Montague Mug Race on Saturday morning in Montague Center. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 8/22/2021 12:56:38 PM

MONTAGUE — Turnout at Saturday’s 40th Annual Montague Mug Race blew past expectations. The popular race drew over 100 runners to the town common.

Despite cloudy skies and looming storms, race director Ann Fisk described the turnout as “phenomenal” with 102 runners registered 10 minutes prior to the road race’s 8:30 a.m. start. In the weeks leading up to race day, Fisk had anticipated “probably 25 runners.”

“We’ve never had this,” Fisk said. “It just seems everybody’s really excited to be here.”

The 5.5-mile road race began with the firing of a cannon on the common lawn. Runners then made their way through the course before crossing the finish line on Station Street.

Dan Smith, 43, of Shelburne Falls placed first overall with a time of 31 minutes and 17 seconds. Jon Korhonen, 38, of Littleton placed second with a time of 32 minutes and three seconds. South Deerfield’s Matt Shamey, 41, took third with a time of 33:45.

Smith, who is also the race director for the Bridge of Flowers Classic in Shelburne Falls, had run the Mug Race in 2015. He said that he’d “felt strong” during Saturday’s race, despite knowing that he’d performed better time-wise in 2015.

“I was a little bit faster then, but I was also in better shape,” Smith said, adding that at the time, he’d been training for the Philadelphia Marathon.

The first female runner to cross the finish line on Saturday was Jennifer Alli, 38, of Southampton, who finished with a time of 37 minutes and five seconds. Leyden’s Laurie Raffensperger, 44, took second with a time of 40:01, while Southampton’s Sophia O’Connor-Prouty, 21, was close behind in third place (40:06).

“It felt really good,” Alli, a first-time Mug Race participant, said of race, despite admitting that her participation had been a last-minute decision. “My watch and my phone died, so I didn’t know my pace and I just had to listen to my body.”

She said that her husband had woken her up just before she had to leave for the Village Common to ask if she wanted to run, even though it had been “over a year” since she had last run a race.

The Mug Race itself, like the vast majority of the local race calendar, had taken a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic. In addition to this element of revival, the honoring of Mug Race icons Al Ross and David Kaynor, who each died in the pandemic period following the last Mug Race, added special significance.

“I ran for Al,” runner Brent Lyesiuk said.

Lyesiuk, 50, of Orange placed 31st overall with a time of 45:47. He said that he’d known Ross for “25 or 30 years,” having consistently canoed with him over the years. He’s since since participated in boat races with his daughter.

“He was the nicest guy you’ll ever meet, you know?” Lyesiuk said. “He’d do anything for you. He’s the kind of guy you’d meet and you’d talk an hour to him.”

Ross helped start the Mug Race tradition in 1981. What began as the “Old Home Days Road Race” took his personal daily running route and turned it into the race course that is still used today.

Top 20 overall finishers:

1. Dan Smith, Shelburne Falls, 31:17; 2. Jon Korhonen, Littleton, 32:03; 3. Matt Shamey, South Deerfield, 33:45; 4. Ben Whitbeck, Greenfield, 35:14; 5. Adam Kobialka, Northampton, 35:27; 6. Aaron Stone, Greenfield, 36:14; 7. Jennifer Alli, Southampton, 37:05; 8. Taylor Williams, Deerfield, 38:49; 9. Laure Raffensperger, Leyden, 40:01; 10. Sophia O’Connor-Prouty, Southampton, 40:06; 11. Meaghan Mathews, Wilbraham, 40:21; 12. Scott Fallon, Whitesboro, N.Y., 40:27; 13. Pauline Baltazar, Shelburne, 40:27; 14. Tellman Knudsor, Guilford, Vt., 40:31; 15. Alexander Davidson Carroll, Montague, 40:33; 16. Marguerita Lacroix, Royalston, 41:13; 17. JoEllen Reino, South Deerfield, 41:15; 18. Rick Breckenridge, Fairfax, Va., 41:17; 19. Sarah Nelson, Florence, 41:37; Wendy Foster, Northampton, 41:38.

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or jmendoza@recorder.com.


Jobs



Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Greenfield Recorder, keeping Franklin County informed since 1792.


Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
 

 

Copyright © 2021 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy