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Keepin’ Fit: Freedom’s Run celebrates 10 years

By Staff | Oct 12, 2018

Runners in the half-marathon take off from the starting point in front of Town Hall. Photo by Toni Milbourne.

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Hundreds of runners turned out Saturday to take part in the 10th Annual Freedom’s Run in Shepherdstown.

The event, the brain child of Dr. Mark Cucuzzella and Lois Turco, has grown into a tradition for many running enthusiasts, who visit the town each October to participate in one of several run options. A full marathon of 26 miles started out at the Murphy Farm in Harpers Ferry at 7:30 a.m. while the half-marathon of 13 miles started an hour later in Shepherdstown.

For those who wanted a little less length to their daytime run, a 10K or a 5K was available, along with a one-mile for the children.

“Freedom’s Run seeks to create a West Virginia ‘Running Revolution,'” Cucuzzella said. “The event draws participants from more than 40 states, Canada and the United Kingdom.”

At the kick-off of the half-marathon portion of the race in front of City Hall in Shepherdstown, Mayor Jim Auxer welcomed all participants and supporters to Shepherdstown.

“This is what makes our community great,” Auxer said. He then invited everyone to enjoy all the town had to offer after they finished their races.

Those running in all of the events had the pride of finishing their prospective races; however, they also were part of a continuing fundraising effort, to help multiple agencies within Jefferson County and beyond.

Since its inception, Freedom’s Run has given back over $200,000 to various projects promoting a healthy lifestyle. Chief among these are the walking path at James Hite Park, as well as other trails. The event also has been generous in promoting programs for such entities as the Jefferson Arts Council and Antietam Battlefield.

According to Cucuzzella, Freedom’s Run is about history, as well as running, as the courses connect historic sites such as Harpers Ferry and Shepherdstown along the C&O Canal.

Runners completed each course on the campus of Shepherd University, where refreshments were available following the celebrations of the completed races.

Top race finishers for the marathon included Eric Koenig, of Tampa, Florida, who finished with a time of 2:48:12, while Daniel Campbell, of East Falmouth, Massachusetts, finished in second place at 2:55:54. Half-marathon finishers in first and second place were Dustin Meyers, of Martinsburg, with a time of 1:25:13, and Tony Goncalves, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, with a time of 1:27:38, respectively.

Top two finishers in the 10K were Jack Baranner, of Sharpsburg, Maryland, with a time of 34:55, and Daryl Dorsey, Jr., of Olney, Maryland, who finished in second place in 36:34 minutes. Jack Conant, of Shepherdsown, took first place in the 5K in 18:04 minutes, with Brad Dodson, of Martinsburg, close behind, finishing in 18:09 minutes.