SCRANTON — Jake Shoemaker ran to his second straight win in the Race for the Cure 5K Run on Saturday at Courthouse Square in downtown Scranton.
Shoemaker, 28, of Philadelphia, led a field of more than a thousand runners, finishing in 17 minutes and 12 seconds. He outran second-place finisher, Mark Arzie, 17, of Jermyn, by nine seconds. Brian Conniff, 56, of Moscow, finished third in 18:29.
“The pressure was on,” Shoemaker said. “After winning last year, my family was expecting me to win again. If I hadn’t won again, they would have been busting me. But I was able to pull it off.”
Shoemaker didn’t go out too hard at the start. He actually took the lead at the top of the hill near Cooper’s Bar and Restaurant — a little later in the race than when he took the lead in last year’s event.
“Once I took the lead, I just tried to push it as hard as I could,” said Shoemaker, who ran track and cross country in high school, but not at the college level. At times, throughout the race, Shoemaker had a large lead over Arzie — as much as an entire city bock. But Arzie closed on Shoemaker late in the race. But Shoemaker was able to hold on for the victory.
Kathleen Casey didn’t have to chase anybody down en route to her female division victory in 18:57. The 23-year-old from Dickson City led right from the start and never relinquished the lead. Kristen Wilce, 29, of Old Forge, finished second in 21:24. Patti Betti, 16, of Moscow, finished third in 21:53.
“I took some time off from training,” Casey said. “I’ve been running, but not hard. I only started training hard for this race about a month ago. But, I did OK. I want to get back in shape so I can run in the Steamtown Marathon — not this year, but hopefully next year or the year after.”
Casey ran track and cross country for Bishop O’Hara and eventually Holy Cross High School. At the college level, she ran for three years at St. Joseph’s University and one year for West Chester University.
This year’s race, according to Dolly Woody, executive director of Susan G. Komen Northeastern Pennsylvania, Drew about 5,000 participants. That figure is down by about 1,500 from last year.
“Last year, between the race and other race-related events, we were able to fund about $292,000 for education, screening and treatment grants to non-profit organizations throughout 16 counties in northeastern Pennsylvania,” Woody said. “For this year, it looks like we’re going to reach our goal of $275,000. The race is for one day, but the impact is forever.”
Seventy-five percent of the money raised from the event stays in northeastern Pennsylvania, 25 percent goes for breast cancer research.
Scranton Race for the Cure 5K Run results
Top 3 finishers
1. Jacob Shoemaker, 28, Philadelphia, 17:12
2. Mark Arzie, 17, Jermyn, 17:21
3. Brian Conniff, 56, Moscow, -8:29
First male cancer survivor to finish: Andy Wallace, 61, S Abington Twp.
Top 3 Female finishers
1. Kathleen Casey, 23, Dickson City, 18:57
2. Kristen Wilce,29, Old Forge, 21:24
3. Patti Betti, 47, Moscow, 21:53
First female cancer survivor to finish: Lindee Kent, 52, Prompton.
5K Fun Walk results
Overall winner: John Wills, 73, Mountain Top,
First male cancer survivor to finish: Fiore Mattei, 70, Old Forge.
Female winner: Ruth Anne Brudnicki, 52, Taylor.
First female cancer survivors to finish: Kim Hromek, 44, W. Pittston and Margee Hromek, 48, Exeter.
Field: Aprox. 1,000 runners and 4,000 walkers. Starter and timing: Hermes Sports and Events (www.hermescleveland.com). Race director: Michele Tierney.