WILKES-BARRE – Frank Redmond, 23, from Harding, considers himself the fastest man in the Valley. He earned that honor Friday night by placing second in the River Street Mile, the final race of the Valley's Fastest Person series down by the River Common.
Redmond's time of 4:28 was good enough to place him ahead of former Duke Blue Devil Sean-Patrick Oswald, 24, for best overall time in the two-week event. The series included the Rich Chase Mile at Kirby Park and the Giant's Despair Hill Challenge. Redmond garnered an overall time of 16:17 for the three races while Oswald finished 10 seconds behind, at 16:27, after winning last night's race with a time of 4:24.
"Sean and I were side by side for the first 1,200 meters. It was those last 400 meters that he got away," said Redmond.
Oswald's strategy was to conserve energy from the beginning and to surge strongly at the end of the race. When he came around the last bend, and down the final stretch, it was clear that his strategy was working.
"I knew that this race would come down to whoever threw down the hammer at the end," said Oswald.
Oswald may have thrown down the hammer, but the steady pace by Redmond nailed down the overall winner for the series.
"Nothing changed for me from the previous races really. I wanted to run fast, get a good time and keep a solid pace," said Redmond.
Jeffrey Skwierz, 30, finished third in both the race and in overall times.
Heidi Peoples, 32, path to being the overall women's winner was made easier due to her record breaking performances in the first two legs of the race series. She had a 1:53 lead over Samantha Snukis, 26, heading into Friday night's race due to her record-shattering time of 7:58 in the Giant's Despair race. The only thing in doubt on this night was if she would be able to win the River Street Mile in the face of stern competition. It was a task that was made tougher by the first-time presence of All-American NCAA track star, Jackie Areson.
Areson, 22, from the University of Tennessee, crossed the finish line in 4:56, while Peoples followed quickly behind her at 5:00 and tallied an overall event time of 18:18. Areson was not eligible for the overall prize since she did not run in the first two legs of the event. Snukis finished third and placed second overall for the three races posting a total time of 20:50, including her time of 5:40 for the final race.
Areson shot out strong and seemed to take the lead right from the beginning. However, Peoples moved ahead of her after about 200 meters.
"I thought I was going to be in first place from the onset. Then Heidi passed me about an eighth of the way in. I really wanted to run this race in under 5:12 so I picked up the pace," said Areson.
That pace resulted in her passing People's after a quarter of the race. She never looked back and finished well under her self-imposed goal.
"This was more training for me. That's how I looked at it, only it was against some real good competition," said Areson.
Heidi Peoples was pleased with her race performance and even happier about the overall results of the culmination of the race series.
"This was just icing on the cake. Winning the overall title was an extremely nice honor," said Peoples.
Peoples commented that she had been training fiercely for marathons and that this was off the beaten track from her normal routine.
"I'm a marathon runner, so a fast mile is really different," she said.