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Justin Halmose is a member of Newtown High School’s track and field team who participates in distance events, and knows a thing or two about running. But the Run4Hunger 5K to benefit the FAITH Food Pantry, and hosted by Knights of Columbus, St Virgilius Council 185, at Fairfield Hills on a cool Saturday, May 5 morning, was quite a unique experience for the NHS junior.
For starters, Halmose was the race winner, coming across the finish line in a time of 17:45.
What’s more: “I’ve never done a 5K before. A couple of my teammates want me to do cross country. I thought this would be a good way to try a 5K run,” said Halmose, who is 17.
Not a bad try at all given the end result.
Halmose’s next-closest competitor was one of those track teammates who is on the cross country team and looking to recruit him: Alex Wong, also 17. Wong finished in 20:14.
“It would definitely help the team. He runs the two-mile in track and he’s really good at it,” Wong said.
Halmose isn’t letting the top placement push him to join the fall cross country team, because of other commitments. He’s part of the Newtown High School Marching Band, but says he is seriously considering it.
Runners were treated to a temperature drop into the middle 50s following a hot day before the race.
“I think it was a really good day to run. I really liked the course,” said Wong, who added that the Run4Hunger race was his first 5K since the Thanksgiving morning Turkey Trot.
The top female runner, and seventh overall finisher, was Newtown’s Kayla Ondy, 14, who runs track at St Rose. Ondy’s time was 22:56.
“I wanted to run here because it’s for a good cause,” said Ondy, whose sister, Talia, 12, also completed the course. Talia Ondy finished in 22nd place, clocking in at 26:48.
Runners brought food donations to assist the FAITH Food Pantry. Participants were required to bring three canned goods for the cause.
The third-place finisher was a canine, Quinn, who ran along with owner Rick Spiker, 43, of Naugatuck. The black lab and Spiker came across together in 20:28. Spiker and his wife, Katey Baruth, are part of the Run 169 Towns Society, a group of runners dedicated to completing races in all 169 Connecticut towns and cities. Baruth has run in all of them, this was Spiker’s 168th — he only has Clinton remaining on the long list — and it was Quinn’s 71st town.
John Bobiak, 38, came in fourth in 20:29; Daniel Sutter, 37, was fifth in 20:36; James Ferguson, 23, was sixth in 20:57; Kayla Ondy, 14, was seventh in 22:56; Sean Riddle, 32, was eighth in 23:39; Timothy Basbagill, 11, was ninth in 24:25; and Tricia Collins-Fey, 51, was the second-place female, come in tenth in 24:36.
Complete race results may be found on The Last Mile Racing webpage.