CHS alum repeats as champ in memorable July 4th road raceBy Mike Berger
This year’s July 4th Road Race proved to be unique and memorable in many ways.
For the first time in recent memory, it rained heavily at the start of the race before clearing up midway through. Also, the five-mile adult race was decided by the stretch of a hand, and a 10-year-old Brockton girl became the first female to win the kids’ fun run in a blazing time of 10:45 over 1.8 miles.
Longtime race organizer Joe DeFelice said he could not remember a closer finish for the five-mile in all the races he has started for the past 45 years.
In handing the first-place trophy to Nikita Amelchencko of Canton, DeFelice said, “It was an unbelievable finish. I can’t remember a closer finish. Nikita, you got first place by a hand.”
Finishing ever so close in second was Marybeth Baxter of Brookline. Baxter grew up in Canton and attended the Luce School. Her mother, Meryl Baxter, still lives in Canton.
This was the second consecutive year that Amelchenko finished as race champion. He won the 2011 race in 32:53 and this year improved to 31:38, with Baxter finishing at 31:39.
Both runners said the rain kept them cool, and they were encouraged by the people who came out to cheer on the runners.
A 2010 graduate of Canton High School, Amelchenko was a standout distance runner at CHS and now runs for Stonehill College. Baxter has completed six marathons, including the Boston Marathon, and finished second overall in the Bay State Marathon. She works as a registered dietitian with a Boston medical facility.
Brockton’s Mia Otero cruised to victory in the fun run with plenty of time and energy to spare, beating the second-place finisher by 65 seconds.
The race started with heavy showers and a temperature of 70 degrees as registration was held inside the Town Club. The five-mile race started sharply at 9:30 a.m. and blue skies arrived around 9:50. A total of 72 runners participated, including 27 for the fun run and 44 for the adult race. In comparison, last year’s race drew 90 runners. This year’s youngest participants were Brayden Dickie, 2, Liam Doherty and AJ Otero, 3, and Michaela Dickie, 4. The oldest runner was 68-year-old Steve Kitsock.
After the race DeFelice said next year’s event may be shortened in an effort to encourage more participation. The current course goes from Bailey to Mechanic Street, down Washington Street to Pleasant Street, crossing to Bolivar and Pine streets, and ending up at the finish line at the Town Club.
This was the first race for Canton’s new recreation director, Janet Maguire, who credited the overall success of the event to DeFelice and Recreation Commissioner Cab Devoll.
“The best thing about this event is that it is a family event,” remarked Maguire. “Parents who are running, in some cases, have run before as kids, and parents are running with their family members.”
Maguire said surveys will be sent out to runners who have registered to see how they feel about the course being shortened for next year.
Overall Winner: Nikita Amelchenko
First woman: Marybeth Baxter
1. Cody Shannon 2. Joe Goggin 3. Jackson Maffeo
1. Kevin O’Donnell 2. Michael Mitcheroney 3. Zack Levenson
1. David McCue 2. Jeffrey Buckley 3. Marty Sasin
1. Michael Albert 2. Jim Cree 3. Keith Oltchick
1. Robert Shannon 2. Ralph Valente 3. David Mitcheroney
Men 60 & Over
1. Arthur Bronstein 2. Steve Kitsock
1. Jacqueline Merrigan 2. Nicole Foilb
1. Andrea Widberg 2. Darlene Mulhall 3. Courtney Gaboury
1. Melissa Healy 2. Mimi Beatty 3. Patti Williamson
Fun Run Results
Boys 8 & Under
1. Colin Alessi 2. Paul Goggin 3. Andrew Butler
1. Ben Guerini 2. Noah Foilb 3. Jack Goyetch
Girls 8 & Under
1. Erin Zack 2. Ellie Bohane 3. Simone Darling
1. Mia Otero 2. Maggie Connolly 3. Alexa Maffeo
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