After a year where the Blair Regional YMCA had to cut back on the Angie Gioiosa Fourth of July Race due to the pandemic, organizers were pleased to see it return to right around its normal capacity.
“Last year we had to abide by Governor Wolf’s obligation of holding it to so many people and under,” Community & Fund Development Director Phyllis Baker said. “Being on a Sunday, it’s a really good amount. We got to remember we have some church services going and people with other obligations, but 600-plus was an awesome race.”
The field of more than 600 participants between the three races enjoyed a sunny sky to compete under Sunday morning for the 46th running of the event which was held on the streets of Downtown Altoona.
Some of the contestants came from as far as Philadelphia, Michigan and Maryland.
Loc O won the men’s 15K for the second year in a row, this year with a time of 52 minutes, 46.17 seconds. The Williamsburg Community High School assistant cross country and track and field coach says it’s just something he loves to be a part of.
“It’s a local race and I enjoy doing it,” he said. “I like the atmosphere in Altoona.”
Matthew Balogh, with a time of 52:50.96, and AJ Kelley (52:57.56 rounded out the top three.
The winner of the women’s contest was State College resident Baylee Robley with a time of 1:04.13. She last competed in a road race in 2019. She enjoyed getting back into that environment.
“I’ve started to enjoy races that aren’t on roads,” Robley said. “This is a good reminder of what this kind of atmosphere is like. I love being around so many people and having that city atmosphere.”
She was followed by Regina Ruggery (1:07.45) and Reese Wilber (1:12.33).
Baker said that the biggest changes they made were going from open container water to bottled water on the course and to prepackaged foods. She also noted that virtual races like others tended to not fare as well for participation, but noted that their races, in the big picture, haven’t skipped a beat.
“We’re happy with anything we can provide to the community, but having this many people in a time that theoretically all races are not doing as well across the country and state, ours have never taken a hit,” she said. “Some people still aren’t comfortable getting in crowds, but the fact that we had over 600 people that was amazing for us.”
Meanwhile, in the 5K race, Wayne Hooper of Ephrata was the winner with a time 16:21.97, followed by Ian Sherlock (16:45.75) and Christopher Love (16:46.75). Morgan Hess of Huntingdon took the top spot in the women’s contest with a 20:01.50 with Quinn McElhenny (20:03.76) and Alexis Lovrich (20:34.66) taking second and third, respectively.
Rounding things out on the 2-mile walk, it was Donna Stoltz of Altoona winning the women’s race with a time of 20:37.26 followed by Joan Murcieak (23:09.75) and Lisa Appleby 23:41.76.
Mike Boytim of Tyrone captured the men’s crown with a time of 20:54.7 with Carl Kondrach recording a time of 23:23.62 and Lou Pincherri capping things off at 23:38.76.
TOP 10 OVERALL FINISHERS
15K RUN: 1, Loc O, 52:46.17. 2, Matthew Balogh, 52:50.96. 3, AJ Kelley, 52:57.56. 4, Clayton Blose, 53:18.89. 5, Ben Love, 55:20.43. 6, Will Hymes, 55:48.60. 7, Rob Crossman, 56:43.76. 8, Luke Ruggery, 57:46.24. 9, Rich Love, 59:18.85. 10, Jay Kopper, 59:26.76.
5K RUN: 1, Wayne Hooper, 16:21.97. 2, Ian Sherlock, 16:45.75. 3, Christopher Love, 16:46.75. 4, Aidan Kelley, 16:56.58. 5, Gabe Eberole, 17:47.16. 6, Braeden Ferguson, 18:18.68. 7, Timothy Kelley, 18:27.38. 8, George Boutiller, 18:31.88. 9, Walt Wedel, 18:37.95. 10, Cooper Campbell, 19:43.58.
2M WALK: 1, Donna Stoltz, 20:37.26. 2, Mike Boytim, 20:54.70. 3, Joan Muriceak, 23:09.75. 4, Carl Kondrach, 23:32.62. 5, Lou Pincherri, 23:38.76. 6, Lisa Appleby, 23:41.76. 7, Sherry Obert, 24:20.76. 8, Jolinda Trude, 25:16.76. 9, Mike Wagner, 25:16.99. 10, David Leeper, 25:32.36.