ROMNEY — There were two closely contested races for the men’s and women’s individual wins at the 5th annual Santa Trot 5K run and 2-mile walk at Hampshire Wellness and Fitness Center on Saturday in Romney.
But you’d never know it by looking at the official standings.
A missed turn by Zeke Smith with about 70 meters left in the 3.1-mile run helped make a winner of Larry Ferrens. Ferrens, 57, of Barton, Md., correctly turned left onto the grass and back towards the Hampshire Wellness and Fitness Center parking lot. By the time Smith, 34, of Huntington, W.Va., heard race director Kristy Harvey’s repeated attempts to correct him, it was far too late.
“I heard the pre-race briefing,” Ferrens said of Harvey’s course instructions prior to the 9 a.m. start. “I was still about to follow him. I thought we had more to go.”
Ferrens realized what had happened and intended to stop two feet shy of the finish line to wait for Smith, but he had unknowingly already crossed. Ferrens was awarded a time of 20 minutes and 56 seconds. Smith stopped the clock in 21:13.
Still, Smith called his opponent’s gesture “very sportsmanlike.”
With a pump of his first, Leonard Galvan, 53, of Romney, celebrated a sub-21:30 performance, good for third place overall. His official time was 21:29 — an average of 6:54.9 and superior to his performance in the inaugural Hampshire County Turkey Trot 2-miler only nine days earlier, in which he averaged 7:04 on, arguably, an easier course than what he faced on Monday.
It was just as close in the women’s race, in which Romney’s Kristina Nichols outdueled Sharon Ellsworth of Cumberland, Md., for the women’s title. Nichols, 33, didn’t pass Ellsworth, 46, until very late in the second half. Nichols crossed the line in 24:11 to Ellsworth’s 24:13.
Each year, the 5K run/walk and 2-mile walk is staged to benefit a different charity. This year, the selected beneficiary was the United Way of Hampshire County.
This year the race brought out over 70 participants who contributed to raising over $1000 which will go to United Way of Hampshire County. The event is made possible by the generous business sponsorships. A big thanks to the following businesses for their support: Locust Hills Farms, The Bank of Romney, McKee Funeral Home, Mayhew Chevrolet, Shaffer Funeral Home, and Dillon’s Country Treasures.
* Race director’s note: Some of the awards announced at the post-race ceremony were incorrect. Corrections will be noted, made and medals will be mailed to the correct division place-winners.