Raffetto sets new July 4th road race record

Canton's Louis Raffetto crosses the finish line in a record time of 28:52, a new July 4th record.

Canton’s Louis Raffetto crosses the finish line in 28:52, a new July 4th road race record.

Over 100 local runners braved the pre-downpours of Hurricane Arthur and in some cases set new records amidst threatening skies in the 47th running of the Canton July 4th Road Race.

Louis Raffetto, 32, of Canton, set a modern-day course record with a time of 28:52 in the five-mile race. Andrea Widberg, 39, a Kennedy School kindergarten teacher, repeated as the first woman finisher with an outstanding time of 34:56 — an improvement of nearly a minute and a half over her 2013 winning time of 36:20.

Raffetto, who races periodically and recently finished the Boston Marathon, said the rain helped him deal with the humidity. He found the hill leading from Washington Street to Pleasant Street the most challenging part of the race.

Widberg, who runs 35 miles per week, is coming off a 34:35 time in the Sharon five-mile race and last year competed in the “Iron Man” 140-mile Triathlon in Arizona. She hopes to compete again this year.

The Canton race also featured a two-mile fun run, which traveled from the Canton Town Club on Bailey Street to Messinger Street and back. The five-mile race continued on Messinger Street to Washington Street, went up Pleasant Street to Pine Street and finished back at the Town Club.

Winning the fun run was 10-year-old Jay Kelleher, with last year’s winner, Colin Alessi, finishing second. Race organizer and founder Joe DeFelice believes that Kelleher’s run of nearly 10 minutes may have set a July 4th fun run record.

The temperature at race time was 71 degrees with light rain and high humidity. The rain became heavier during the race but then stopped and the sun even came out for a few minutes before darker skies and showers reappeared. As a precaution, DeFelice decided to hold the awards ceremony inside the Canton Town Club.

A total of 115 runners participated in this year’s road race, including 74 adults in the five-mile race and 41 children in the fun run. In comparison, last year’s race drew 100 runners with 35 children competing in the fun run and 65 runners participating in the five-mile race.

During the awards ceremony, loud rounds of applause were given to each runner, including 70-year-old runners Herb Lamb and Steve Kitsock and young runners Brady DeFelice, age 2, and Caitlyn Sampson, age 3. In other race news, John Bires, who has competed every July 4th since the race’s inception in 1968, finished third in the men’s 50-59 category. Also, DeFelice conducted an informal poll inquiring whether runners were interested in changing the race to 3.1 miles, and he found that participants overwhelmingly favored keeping the current five-mile format.

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