Because of the very cold weather last Sunday, the Penguin Pace 5k race more than lived up to its name this year. At the start, announcer Miles Weigold reviewed the course and told the runners about the water stop half-way through the race. “It’ll be water if you’re fast enough,” he said, “Ice if you’re not.”
The brutal cold did not seem to affect Sergiy Zubko, who jumped to an early lead and simply ran away from the field. The 15-year-old River Hill High School runner finished over a minute ahead of second place Jason Tripp, who was so far behind he didn’t even see Zubko finish. “He had a lot less time to be cold than most of you,” Mr. Weigold said when he handed Sergiy his award after the race. Sergiy was the only runner in the field to break 18 minutes.
Nationally-ranked duathlete Marjan Huizing held off Sykesville’s Sherry Stick in the women’s race, which was a lot closer than the men’s race: only seven seconds separated the top two women. “The cold made my eyes water,” Marjan remembered. But she was all right once she got warmed up a little. Using the 5k as a “test” of her winter conditioning, Marjan has won the Penguin Pace three times before.
The Pace marked the return to racing of Martin Goode, once among the fastest runners in Howard County. Finishing sixth overall, he placed second in the 40-49 age group in 18:40. A veteran of winter running, the cold weather didn’t bother the him at all. “I love the cold. Bring it on!”
With temperatures in middle teens, a field of 237 runners completed the 3.1-mile loop around Hickory Ridge. Because of renovations at the Forence Bain Senior Center, the Penguin Pace moved from its usual hilly course in the Longfellow neighborhood to a flatter and faster loop around Hickory Ridge.
Arleen Dinneen directed the Penguin Pace 5k, and she is also the director of the Florence Bain Senior Center, which benefits from the proceeds of the race. The Elkridge Furnace Inn provided post-race refreshments in the gymnasium of the Howard Community College, which graciously hosted the race this year. Age group winners received “toasty” warm winter caps, which they can really use this winter.
The Howard County Striders staged the race and wish to thank the Howard County Police and the volunteers who worked the course in the “freaking cold.”
by Jim Carbary