The 2014 Holdenwood Trail Run had to be the warmest in its eight-year history, both from the temperature of the air and from the record number of participants.
More than 600 registered runners brought in more than $14,000 for the Ayer Shirley Education Foundation.
Besides whole families of runners and walkers from Shirley and Ayer, there were more than 40 members of the Holden family who participated. Another group of walkers participated in memory of their recently departed friend, Donn Hill. The Squannacook Runners had more than 20 from their club out of Groton. Runners came from as far away as Cambridge, Cape Cod, Hartford, Conn., New Hampshire, and New York, N.Y., to enjoy the beautiful trails.
This year the winners received special Holdenwood Trail Run medals plus gift certificates from the Bull Run, Salomon, Evans on the Common or Dick’s Sporting Goods.
The overall winners in the 2K were Sophia Fournia, 10, with a time of 10:10, and Lucas Giersch, 11, with a time of 8:04.
Other winners included Smilla Hoe, 4, and John Joyce, 5. The Joyce family also won for ages 6-9 with Nora and James taking those prizes.
For ages 10-12, it was Katie Kilcommins and Collin O’Sullivan, then Claudia Yao in the age 13-16 group.
In the 5K, the overall winner for the females was Corey Stock, of Lincoln, with a time of 20:45. The overall winner for the males with a time of 18:54 was John Kinnee, of Ayer.
In the 1-9 age group, winners were Caroline Donnelly and Alex Piwowar. For the pre-teens it was Caitlin Feltus and Dana Maloney. Haley Sheriff and William Ernst won for ages 13-15. Age 16-19 winners were Julia Kern and Rudy Graves. Isabel Burgess and Nathan Mietkiewicz won for the 20-somethings and Alexandra Jospe and Corey White won for the 30-somethings.
For those in their 40s, the winners were Kathy Maddock and John Weisner. For those in their 50s, it was Debra Holden and Gunther Kern. They may not want us to know they are in their 60s, but Cynthia Ressijar and Steven Cashton won for that age group. Special congratulations go to septuagenarians Fran Marong and Larry Hill for finishing the race.
Ayer Shirley High School student Ryan Levansailor won the 10K for the women with a time of 45:23. Last year she was the top female runner in the 5K. Meanwhile, Rob Hult, 44, of Harvard was just six minutes ahead of her at 39:57, winning for the men.
Ethan Matthews was the winner in the 1-14 age group. For age 20-29 it was Caroline Wisnowski and Matthew Grimes. For age 30-39, Korry Dow and James Ryan took the prizes. Darcy Schultz and Dan Somes won in the 40-49 age category, with Sue LaChance and Greg Basarab winning for the 50-year-olds.
Proving that 60-year-olds can still move fast when they need to, were winners Jody Newton and Bob Segal. Finally, special recognition to 70-year-old Skip Cleaver, of Nashua, N.H., for completing the 10K in 1:25.
Along with the runners and walkers, and besides all the generous sponsors, thanks go out to the dozens of volunteers who worked before, during and after the race. Folks got some good exercise, they enjoyed the beautiful fall scenery, and they raised money for the Ayer and Shirley schools.
It was a great day to be part of these wonderful communities.