BRISTOL — Steamy conditions on an early Fall morning greeted the some 75 entrants into the 15th Annual In Step for Autism 5K Road Race and Walk held Sunday, Sept. 24, at Colt State Park. The race is one of the largest fundraisers of the year for the Groden Center based in Providence.
The heat, bright sunny skies and nary a hint of a breeze surely tested the runners, keeping the times relatively modest by most 5K standards.
It didn’t, however, prevent an exciting finish as one of the younger members of the field, Providence’s Logan Ziegler, edged Warren’s Cullen McKain at the finish line for the overall victory. Thirteen-year-old Ziegler, an eighth grader at the Moses Brown School, won the race in a time of 21 minutes, 15.68 seconds. McKain ran second in 21:16.13.
The lead pair, with 37 years difference in age, approached the tape stride-for-stride. A few yards before the line, the young Ziegler broke across the front of McKain to claim first place.
“He cut me off,” McKain, 50, joked about finishing second to his teenage competitor. “I’ll get him next year. He’ll be a year older, a step slower.”
Jennifer Bogan, of Fall River, was the third-place finisher overall and first female to cross the line in 21:50.96.
Bristol’s Mike Proto, a regular on the area running scene, was fourth overall in 22:21.96. Cecily Ziegler, Logan’s mother, was fifth overall and second female to place in 22:51.9.
Runners six through 10 were: Peter Ziegenbein, 22:55.94; Will Oreste, 23:05.31; Brian Leger, 23:06.8; Brandon Piedade, 23:14.13; and Joshua Smithey, 23:31.52.
Alyssa Gaudreau (16th) was the third female finisher, running 24:39.37. Alaina Reardon (17th, 24:48.98) and Emily Sousa (18th, 25:26.2) rounded out the female top five.
The race, run over a slightly different layout than others at Colt, was marred a bit by some confusion just past the mid-way point. That’s when the lead pack of runners, about three, briefly veered off the charted course. By the time they were able to rejoin the rest of the competitors it was too late to contend for top places.
“The first year I ran this race the same thing happened to me. When I saw them up ahead of me doing the same thing, I said, ‘I’m not going to get fooled this time,’” McKain said, referring to the errant route the lead group took.
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