People from New Hampshire, Ohio, Florida and even as far as Jamaica and Hawaii came to race in Keene’s 38th annual Clarence DeMar Marathon.
The 26.2 mile race began in Gilsum, N.H. and finished under the Appian Way arch of Keene State College.
It was 36 degrees at eight in the morning on Sunday, Sept. 25, but the environment was warm and welcoming as participants were cheered for as they reached the finish line.
Four races were conducted in this one event: a full and half marathon, a Kids Demar Race and a Super Senior Race.
The winner of the Clarence DeMar marathon Neal Graves said he’s been running for more than 20 years. “I just really enjoy it,” he said.
Second place in the males category for full marathon was KSC’s own Mark Rabasco who is completing his student teaching. Rabasco said he’s run the Clarence Demar marathon all four years he’s been a student at KSC.
The first place female marathoner was Haley McMahon.
The first place half marathoner was Gregory Lange from Manchester, N.H. and first place for the female half marathoner was KSC’s own senior Carli Davis.
Davis’ mother April Davis drove roughly two hours to see her daughter participate. “It’s so exciting. She trained so long and hard. I’m so proud of her,” she said.
Davis was embraced at the end of her race by family, other runners and her boyfriend. Davis said running the half marathon was “a huge adrenalin rush.”
“When you come in at the end and everyone’s cheering for you, it’s so emotional, but amazing,” she said.
Davis said it felt wonderful having the marathon end right here at KSC.
“I’m so thankful it was here, it’s like home,” she said.
Davis said for those who are just starting to run to keep with it. “It gets easier,” she said.
For some participants, being part of a group made this event easier. Keene’s local group, The Super Seniors, had over 100 members run or walk the last 1.2 miles of the race. Lin Clifford was the first to pass.
“It feels terrific. I won this year because the guy who usually beats me was not here,” she laughed. Clifford said it’s important for people her age to keep active.
“At our age, a lot of people get written off…and people feel so good that they’ve been able to be part of [the Clarence DeMar),” she said.
The Super Seniors are all over the age of 70 and spent the summer splitting up walking or running 25 miles in preparation for their portion of theClarence DeMar.
The Kids DeMar program has the same routine as they were the first to start it in 2012.
Kids DeMar participant Margaret Winiecki said it’s a lot of fun. “It’s nice to know a lot of the kids and run with them. I like the opportunity to run with my dad,” she said.
Her father Dr. Marc Winiecki said he didn’t know anything about the event until last year.
“It’s a great community experience. It’s not just about the fitness, but about getting the entire community involved. As a physician, it’s everything I stand for,” he said.
Local musician Kris Kline had both a daughter and son running. “It brought us together as a family. We motivated each other, “ he said.
Over 1,000 kids participated in the Kids DeMar. Some children even went up to run down Appian Way with their parents running the full or half marathon.
That was not the only excitement. At one point in the race, a man went down on one knee and proposed. She said yes.
Other occurrences included 10 minute massages from Deep Roots employees which was available for all marathon participants, including the kids and Super Seniors.
Many people came to see the runners finish.
One KSC student was walking her dog around at the event. KSC sophomore Kaitlyn Walsh said, “I just found out [about it] this morning and it’s loud, but that’s a good thing because I’m training my dog to be a service dog.”
Walsh said she liked seeing the event. She said, “I like that the community can get involved with the college.”
The Clarence DeMar raised over $10,000 to go to different charitable organizations.
They include helping rebuild homes in Talnique, El Salvador and providing wheelchairs for these in need. A complete list can be found at www.clarencedemar.com
Dorothy England can be contacted at email@example.com