WEST POTSDAM - Well over 500 runners and walkers transgressed the home stretch hill and passed through the start-finish arch on Saturday on the grounds of the West Potsdam Volunteer Fire Department at the 2012 Hobble-Gobble Prediction Run-Walk.
And then the North Countrys largest road race turned into a large-scale party as participants of all ages danced to the music and celebrated the 60-something degree temperatures, that felt like 70-something, the bright sunshine and final stages of the fall colors in the leaves of the hardwood tracts.
Then the intrepid troops went inside the fire hall and adjoining tents to feast on bagels, yogurt, fruit, bottled water and the famous Hobble-Gobble chili and cookies.
The final strides of the race turned into a sea of smiles as bright as the smiles of youngsters who will enjoy Christmas as the beneficiaries of the event which has raised over $108,000 for the Potsdam Holiday Fund and other organizations which aid needy families in 15 years.
Our number of registrations was down a little from the past few years but we had the highest percentage of finishers ever, said Race Director Derry Loucks.
And we set an all-time record by raising over $15,000. We had 570 participants and as long as I get 550 I will continue to hold the race.
That was great news for the Potsdam Holiday Fund which was represented by Nancy Griffin.This the 15th year of the Hobble-Gobble Prediction Run and I cant thank you enough, she said.
The Potsdam Holiday Fund provided toys for 500 kids last year provided food for so many families in need.
Funds from the race also aid the Neighborhood Centers of Massena, Colton and Ogdensburg; the Helping Hands of Hannawa and Norwood-Norfolk-Raymondville, the Heuvelton Giving Tree, the Potsdam Rescue Squad and the West Potsdam Fire Department and Auxiliary.
Each year the event also makes a donation to an out of the area organization and this year a donation will be made the Youth Services of Ottawa.
According to Loucks, the event is able to provide such wide-ranging philanthropy because of the generosity of the sponsors and the volunteers who have made such a dedicated commitment. To honor that commitment Loucks presented the 2012 Hobble-Gobble Commitment To Running Award to his volunteers.
I do the bulk of the work for 11 months but in the last four days the volunteers take over and make sure the event comes off without a problem, said Loucks honoring his wife Eileen Loucks, his step son Jack Mee, Cindy Sullivan and Ben Brownell of the West Potsdam Fire Department and Auxiliary, Dixie Davis, Jennifer and Roger Fadden, Floyd and Joan Firman, Sharon and Larry Reynolds, Debbie Morgan, Janice Adderley and Fonda.
Firman was also honored for running all 15 Hobble-Gobble races.
The top performer-predictors on the day were Malone Cross Country standout Bekkah Bond who came within .7 of a second of her predicted time on the short (4 miles plus) course and Meleta Truax of Potsdam who came within 5.7 seconds of her predicted time on the long (6 miles plus) course.
The top eight predictors on the short course and the first four prognosticators on the long course received trophies and a Thanksgiving turkey.
Short Course Leaders: Bekkah Bond of Malone (predicted 31:28.8 - actual ran 31:28.1) .7 difference, Brenda Papineau of Canton (59:33.2 - 59:31.9) 1.3, Nicole Cline of Potsdam (45:44.4 - 45:42.4) 2.0, Anita Cafarella of Norwood (42:23.1 - 42:25.2) 2..1, Kevin Tupper of Canton (37:45.5 - 37:42.6) 2.9, Hannah Tupper of Canton (37:45.5 - 37:42.5) 3.0, Shannon Boyce of Norfolk (47:22 - 47:25.1) 3.1 and Kathleen Ahlfeld of Massena (30:14 - 39:10.6) 3.4
Long Course Leaders: Meleta Truax of Potsdam (1:00.32.1 - 1:00:26.4) 5.7, Rachel Bachman of Queensbury (39:30.3 - 39:22.9) 7.4, Sharon McMillan of Ottawa, Ont. (54:29.0 - 54:21.5) 7.5, Nancy Hardwick of Watertown (45:18.0 - 45:26.4) 8.4.
Long Course Top 10 Times: Shawn Spriggs (Potsdam) 37:06.0, Allen Kelly (Rennselaer Falls) 37:21, Jim Allott (Potsdam) 39:12.8, Rachel Bachman (Queensbury) 39:22.0, Siavash Namiranian (Potsdam) 40:29.9, Luke Ducharme (Brushton) 42:15.5, Marc Rusch (Redwood) 42:47.5, Bill Amberman (Norwood) 44:21, Mark Passamonte (Canton) 44:25.3, Bob Dunkelberg (Gouverneur) 44:28.5.
Short Course Top 10 Times: Eric Wynands (Lyn) 21:32, Luke Dunkleberg (Gouverneur) 24:48.4, Rick Swift (Brockville, Ont.) 25:54.7, Joe Noonan (Prescott, Ont.) 26:10.2, Seth Hinman (Potsdam) 28:17.3, Ed Wynands (Lyn) 28:32.2, Darren Cassidy (Ottawa, Ont.) 29:29.9, Colin Lenon (Brookfield) 29:40.8, Kellie Hare (Prescott, Ont.) 29:49.4), Shawn Scott (Massena) 29:53.9).
Note: for complete results see sportsstats.ca