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Dogged determination highlights Winterfest race

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COLTON —Though completing the Colton Winterfest road race in zero-degree weather is quite a feat for any human, a pair of canine competitors stood out in the crowd that traversed the 10-mile course on Saturday.

Sophie, an 8-year-old a beagle/pit bull mix escorted by owner Shondel Boyden, and Tori, a 2-year-old pit bull accompanied by her owner, Shannon Kenny, had come a long way even before Saturday’s race.

Tori was rescued last year after surviving a horrible ordeal.

“Tori was left outside for a week on a chain after being attacked by something. They brought her to the vet who said she had a broken neck,” Boyden said. “The vet didn’t think she would live or if she did, she may not be able to walk again. But she just ran 10 miles today.”

After the incident, Tori’s owner was forced to surrender Tori who was later adopted by a friend of Kenny’s who later gave Tori to Kenny.

Kenny and Tori completed Saturday’s 10-miler as did Boyden and Sophie, who was also rescued, eight years ago.

“Sophie was left at the Potsdam Humane Society in a cardboard box when she was a puppy and it was 26 degrees below zero. She was almost dead,” Boyden said. “Now she runs this race with me every year. They’ve both come a long way.”

Boyden and Kenny are twin sisters and regulars at the Colton Winterfest 10-miler, which drew 61 competitors overall on Saturday in its 12th year of operation under race directors Dan and Renee Dominie.

The overall race winner was Jacob Erdman of Gouverneur, who becomes the youngest winner in race history at age 16 with a time of 1:02:19.

This time qualifies as the second fastest for the Mens 19-and-under age group, behind that of Jon French, also of Gouverneur, a mark set in 2002.

The overall female race winner was Suna Stone-McMasters of Canton who ran the second fastest time ever for the Female 40-to-49 age group.

Lyn Short of Canton turned in the second fastest time for the Female 60-to 69 age group, while Doug Hazelden of Bloomingdale and Paul Pierce of Ogdensburg ran the second and third fastest times for the Men’s 50-to-59 age group.

The youngest finisher was Skylar Fetter, age 13, from Norwood with a finish time of 1:36:12, and the oldest finisher was Jean Bernaquez of Montreal, age 80, with a time of 1:43:36. Bernaquez becomes the first octogenarian to complete the race.

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