Piscopo makes Fit Fest look like walk in park
As cooler temperatures breezed into Sault Ste. Marie Saturday, Eric Piscopo was just beginning to get warm, and that spelled trouble for the rest of the field during the fifth annual Athlete's Foot Fit Fest at Kinsmen Park.
The 52-year-old Piscopo, a top endurance athlete from the Sault, braved the cool, windy conditions to win the 10-kilometre race in a time of 39 minutes and 52 seconds.
Piscopo, who is accustomed to longer races such as marathons, used his conditioning to turn it on at the five-kilometre mark before building up a sizeable lead.
"It's a good day for running in that it's cool and it was pretty challenging out there with the hills and wind," said Piscopo. "There was a small gang of us that led and we paced each other, but at the five-kilometre mark I was able to have a bit more energy so I decided to take off."
Piscopo said he prepared for a stiff challenge from the Sault's Jim Mihell, a longtime runner who has proven to be a formidable foe in the past. Mihell finished second in 41:06.
The Sault's Feleisha Reiter was first among the women in 43:42.0 seconds.
While Piscopo was solid in the 10-kilometre run, Kristen Johnson from Sir James Dunn, erased the memory of her last Fit Fest appearance by pacing herself with the male runners. She was the first female to finish, in 22:13.2 seconds.
"I ran this in Grade 9 and I didn't do too well," said Johnson, a Grade 11 student. "Today, I was just trying to stay up with the guys. I really didn't think I'd win it but I wanted to be the first girl in so I'm happy about that."
She said the race served as an excellent primer for the upcoming City High School cross-country championships.
"The trail's a lot different in our (school) meet because there are more hills but this should help," she said.
In the men's five-kilometre race, Matt Fleming, a Sault native who now attends Lake Superior State University, overcame an ailing knee to cross the line first overall in a time of 19:11.1 seconds.
Fleming will have an MRI on his knee Monday for what he suspects is a meniscus tear.
Age-group champs in the five-kilometre women's race included Shannon Delarosbil (0-14-age-division, 22:52.4); Kristen Avery (15-19, 22:41.2); Jennifer Skinner (30-39, 25:49.1); Janice MacKay (50-59, 23:53.9); Mary Smith (50-59, 27:56.6) and Rose Boucher (60-90, 28:22.5).
Age-group winners in men's five-kilometre race were Kyle Grisbelli (0-14, 22:05.0); Reg Peer (15-19, 18:16.4); Jason Clarke (30-39, 25:30.9); Peter Lobert (40-49, 19:47.4) and Mario Festival (50-59, 19:06.1).
In high school team competition, Sir James Dunn's men's squad of Reg Peer, Joey and Peter Lachowsky and Matt Cuddy finished first while the Dunn's girls team of Kristen Avery, Kristen Johnson, Lisa Durnford and Nora Saunders also finished first.
In women's 10-kilometre event, winners included Heather McLeod (15-19, 44:25.9); Misha Coppens (20-29, 49:03.5); Cheryl Vanderheyden (30-39, 58:30.1); Mary-kay Antonello (40-49, 49:53.4) and Marg Meincke (50-59, 51:34.0).
Men's winners included Mario Vallee (15-19, 44:19.0); Masa Higuchi (20-29, 44:04.4); Mika Jylha (30-39, 41:55.4); Jim Mihell (40-49, 41:06.3) and Robert Mears (50-59, 46:48.0).
In the elementary 11-and-under division, Drew Johnson finished first in the two-kilometre race while Spencer Hogan finished in first in the 12-and-over division.