2014-06-14 / News

Rochester Runners Marcinkowski and Braser Make Top 10K Finishes

By Macaela Bennett

Two runners from Rochester took first place in the men’s and women’s divisions of the Lilac Festival 10K run and walk Saturday,

June 7.

At 9:30 a.m., 703 runners lined up at Windermere Point under a sunny, blue sky and raced through downtown, up Mission hill, through the middle of the Island, down British Landing, and finished in the school yard.

In his second time running the 10K, Steven Marcinkowski of Rochester was the first runner to cross the finish line with a time of 37:30.

“My favorite part was the last two-and-a-half-mile stretch of the race alongside the lake. But I got to the top of the first hill,” he said, “and I was like, ‘whoa,’ it’s not done.”

Mr. Marcinkowski said this is one of his favorite 10K races to run because of the pleasant people, atmosphere, and experience.

Second and third place went to Brad Schmidt from Kalamazoo finishing at 39:21 and Mark Kneisel at 40:33, who traveled all the way from Seattle, Washington.

First time participant and Island visitor from Rochester Jen Braser finished at 42:10, winning first in the women’s division.

“I got an e-mail about the race earlier this week and I had always wanted to come to the Island,” Ms. Braser said after the race. “I really enjoyed the hills and the course’s variety. I was worried about the last part where it’s flat because people usually catch up to me there, but it was nice to have a guy who helped push my pace.”

Jeanne Benjamin of Harbor Springs came in second at 44:26, followed by Anne Dolce of Hudsonville at 45:34.

For the first time, the Lilac 10K organizer, Gault Race Management, awarded all who completed the race with medals and division winners additionally received Mackinac Island fudge, peanut brittle, and saltwater taffy.

“We decided to change it up this year and give them a little taste of the Island and make it so they can take a piece of the Island home with them,” said Stephen Moran from Gault Race Management.

Ten Island residents also participated in the race, including Mark Bunker, Casandra Clear, Tatiana Durantez, Reahiah Earvin, Steve Gould, Kirsti Haverdink, Mike Haverdink, Leonard Litteral, Peter Marabell, and Urvana Morse.

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