Photo: And they’re off!
It was perfect Father’s Day weather – dry, no wind, a bit warm – on Sunday, June 19 which translated to wonderful conditions for the nearly 400 participants who came out to Harris Field to run the 15th Brendan’s Home Run 5K.
And the lead runners didn’t disappoint as both the men’s and women’s course records fell in outstanding performances by a pair of young up-and-comers.
The men’s race was a tight three athlete competition for the entire 3.1 miles with 2014 champion Louis Serafini outsprinting Brian Harvey and Liam Hillery to the line. The 24-year-old former Boston College runner’s time of 14 minutes and 32 seconds was eight seconds better than the previous record of Zack Schwartz’s set last year. In addition, Harvey (14:34) and Hillery (14:35) dipped under Schwartz’s previous record.
In the women’s race, Providence College grad and NCAA Cross Country All-American Laura Nagel finished in 17:15, running away from Karen Roa, who finished second Sunday in 17:47. Jessica Barton took third in 18:06. The 24-year-old New Zealand-native who was a member of PC’s national champion cross country squad, Nagel broke Roa’s women’s record set in 2013 by two seconds.
Leading Belmont residents were 19-year-old UMass runner Ari Silverfine (8th in 16:50) and 23-year-old Flora Berklein who cruised home in 22nd/6th woman in 18:52.
The wealth of young, strong runner who travel some distance to participate in the Home Run each year has all to do with making a personal connection with them, said the long-time event’s director.
“I think to get good people here all you need is a couple of conversations and let them know that there’s something special happening in Belmont every Father’s Day,” said Brian Rogers.
Rogers said it also helps when seven-times race winner and 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials finisher Dan Vasallo of Peabody “is always telling other runners about this race.”
But for the vast majority of runners, the race was a chance to put in a few miles before the Dad Day celebrations commenceed. The back-of-the-packers (including parents running with their children) were cheered on and enjoyed the same swag – thanks to sponsors Belmont Savings Bank, Fitness Together, Belmont Dental Group and the DerKazarian family – as those what finish 10 to 20 minutes head of them
“When we started this thing 15 years ago, we knew we had a significant chore in front of us because Brendan Grant was a quality kid. And if we are going to do anything in his name, this event had to be quality too,” said Rogers.