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Wednesday, July 11, 2007 -- Connellsville, PA
John Woodruff 5K Run and Walk (iPO Event Id#: 10221)

2007: [Photos] [Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Results by Class]

Coverage: [2000] [2001] [2003] [2002] [2004] [2005]

Celebrating 25 Years in Connellsville

Photos by JR Petsko with story by Julie Black

John Woodruff 5K photo by JR Petsko
John Woodruff 5K Run/Walk photo by JR Petsko
Say the name, "John Woodruff" in the town of Connellsville, Pennsylvania and you're bound to get some looks. Just mentioning his name strikes up a conversation with anyone who lives there. "He pulled one of the most daring moves ever seen on a track." the locals exclaim. Woodruff, a Connellsville native, won the 800-meters Gold Medal in the 1936 Olympic Games. In front of Adolf Hitler, Woodruff captured one of the few track gold medals that Jesse Owens didn't in Berlin.

The small town of Connellsville, located outside of Pittsburgh, was king in the early 1900's when coke and coal were in high demand. The once busy railroad that lay along the banks of the Youghiogheny River is now a beautiful rail-trail used by residents and visitors for biking, running, and walking. It's a town full of history, rich with tradition and pride.

The tradition continues with the 25th annual John Woodruff 5K. The first race drew 100-plus to the course which started and ended close to Connellsville Stadium. The event now draws close to 500 participants and race organizers hope to get it back up to nearly 2,000. Local businesses, Faris Distributing, Anchor Hocking and Bud Murphy's contribute to the event's success. The event includes a 5K run and walk, plus races for children.

Four Generations photo by JR Petsko
Four generations photo by JR Petsko
Jason Bodnar, 36, is a former Laurel Highlands athlete. Bodnar dominated the run, winning with a time of 15:44. Quoted in The Herald-Standard, Bodnar told writer Jonathan Guth, "John Woodruff is a hero of mine, so it feels great to win this race in honor of him. I won this race 17 years ago in 1991 and it seemed so much different to me this time than last. Obviously it was a different finish, but I felt it a little in the middle of the race. I haven't been racing as much lately, so I guess it caught up to me. This race has such a special meaning for me and I put it up there really high on races that I love to compete in. The other is probably the Boston Marathon. This is hollowed ground to run here."

Ben Shinsky of Uniontown, PA, took 2nd in 16:49, and Wade Schnorr of Connellsville finished 3rd in 16:53.

Jenny Kooser of Mill Run, PA finished 17th overall and first for the women with a time of 19:42. Kooser was the top women's finisher of another Connellsville run, the 2007 Francis 'Bud' Murphy Memorial 5K held in June. Julia Lipniskas took 19th overall and 2nd for the women with a time of 19:48 and Jackie Horvath rounded out the top spots in 20:17.

The 5K competitive walk was won by Uniontown resident , Frank Mulich in 25:49. Jmie Brooks was the first female to speed walk across the line in 29:18.

This year everyone received a finishers medal, plus the first 500 registered took home a quality long sleeve t-shirt and a souvenir glass that filled up at Bud Murphys'. Professional finish line service and timing was provided by SERJ Racing Services of nearby Uniontown, PA.