CUMBERLAND -- When Ray Sikorowicz and his family drove from their Lincoln residence to Camp Ker Anna for the “Yo” Raymond Memorial 5K early Saturday morning, the 45-year-old veteran runner had two modest goals in mind – run a time that was in the low-18 minute range and compete for the top spot in his 40-49 age division.
Sikorowicz was able to accomplish both of those goals, as well as do something that in his wildest dreams he could not have envisioned – win the sixth annual race.
Sikorowicz topped a field of 123 runners by racing to an 18:08 time that beat out another local runner, 50-year-old Glenn Miller of Uxbridge, Mass., by 29 seconds.
“I didn’t expect to win,” added Sikorowicz, who became the oldest winner in the race’s brief history by 10 years. “I was hoping to get in the low 18s like I did today, but that’s it. I thought there would be some faster runners. There always is one or two that would just kill the field, but they weren’t here today.”
The women’s winner was Cumberland’s Lauren Lapierre, who finished sixth overall in a 21:06 time to top the next female finisher, Burrillville High sophomore-to-be and eighth-place finisher Betsy Dumais, by 23 seconds.
Lapierre, who graduated from Cumberland High last year and currently attends the University of Rhode Island, was last year’s runner-up female finisher.
But the story of this humid morning was clearly Sikorowicz, who was running in his fourth straight “Yo” Raymond race and grabbing another top-10 finish. He finished third in 2009, fourth in ’10, and sixth last year, and in 2009 and ’10, came home with an age division trophy.
At the start of the race, an out-and-back, scenic 3.1-mile tour of Reservoir Road, Sikorowicz found himself in a lead pack with Miller and Greenville’s Paul Prewitt. Miller briefly held the lead as the three runners headed the 1.55-mile turnaround point, but that’s when Sikorowicz made his move.
“It was actually close to the halfway [turnaround] that I passed him, and then we did the turnaround and I was ahead of him,” recalled Sikorowicz. “When I found myself in first place, I was like, ‘Wow, I can [win] this if I can keep this up. I thought Glenn was close behind me the whole time, but I didn’t realize how far (back) he was.”
“There was no way I was going to catch him,” said Miller. “I kept trying and kept trying, but he kept pulling away.”
Like Sikorowicz, Miller crossed the finish line with his fourth top-10 “Yo” Raymond showing. Miller placed third in 2008, sixth in ’10, and fourth last summer, and he was the 40-49 champion in 2008 and last year’s races.
“I’m happy with it,” said Miller. “My running’s a little bit off right now, but give me another month or so and I’ll be at the CVS 5K, so we’ll see what happens.”
As for Sikorowicz, the overall victory was his first since…
“Probably high school, in like the mid ’80s,” he added with a smile. “I usually do okay in the Masters (division), but overall…”
Prewitt, meanwhile, settled for third place in 19:24 and was followed by Attleboro’s Bruce Stachura (20:05) and Cumberland’s Dave Benoit (21:01).
Lapierre’s sixth-place finish led a youth movement that saw teenagers occupy nine of the next 10 places. Included in that cast was 13-year-old Cumberland runner Jacob Drezek (11th, 22:45), Burrillville High senior Danielle Dumais (third female, 12th overall, 22:46), Cumberland High junior Nicholas White (13th, 22:40), 13-year-old Uxbridge runner Mike Turenne (14th, 23:01), and Burrillville High sophomore Cody Paul (15th, 23:01).
Lauren LaMontagne, another Burrillville student, and like the Dumais sisters, a member of the Broncos’ girls’ cross country team, was the fourth female finisher (and 19th overall) in a 23:47 time, and Cumberland’s Brenda Burns (the 2010 women’s champion, 25th, 24:29) and Katie Marshall (27th, 24:46) rounded out the top six female finishers.
Among the age division winners was 74-year-old Eddie Fromm, a former resident of Uxbridge who currently resides in Mesa, Ariz. and is considered one of the top runners in the country in the 70-79 age division. Fromm finished 17th overall in a 23:11 time to win his fourth age group trophy in as many “Yo” Raymond races.
Pawtucket’s Bob Afonso also three-peated as the men’s 60-69 winner, and Cumberland’s Irene Pelland claimed her third women’s 60-69 trophy in the last five years.