After a night of rain, the skies cleared and wind died down in time for the start of the 21st SEA 5K Road Race and Fitness Walk on Saturday, making for a great race. In a reverse of last year’s finish, NHTI student Nacho Hernando took first place over 2013 winner Eric Williams. Christin Doneski, of Hopkinton, was the top female finisher, coming in just ahead of Abbey Wood, of Laconia.
The race was dedicated to longtime volunteer Mary Fannion, who passed away in December. The race was very important to Mary, and a large group of Mary’s family turned out Saturday, wearing specially printed “Team Mary Fannion” T-shirts. The shirts featured a photo of a smiling Mary, manning her station handing out drinks and snacks at the 2013 race. Just before the race started, the announcer read a proclamation honoring Mary.
“She was a longtime volunteer and a past chair of the SEA 5K Road Race Committee,” the announcer said. “Many of her family are here today, look for them in their customized shirts. Thank them for sharing Mary with us for so many years. Her family has asked, because of Mary’s high energy and spirit, instead of a moment of silence, on the count of three that we give a cheer, ‘thanks Mary, run hard!’”
SEA member Dave Best pulled double duty on Saturday, as part of the Road Race Committee and as a runner. He was out early in the morning with other committee members working on race set up.
“We started at 6:30,” he said, putting up signs and marking the course. “At 20 after 9, I started preparing for the 10 o’clock start.”
Best said it was a perfect racing day.
“It was nice and cold, it wasn’t humid and there were no big puddles and no ice,” he said. “I did a lot better than I expected I would do.”
While his time wasn’t a personal record for the course, he said, Best helped his team from the Department of Information Technology to a third-place finish in the state team results.
Led by Eric Williams, the Department of Environmental Services once again won the state employee team competition, followed by the team from the Department of Environmental Services. In the open team competition, the runners from Southern New Hampshire University edged the team from NHTI.
Williams was also the top state employee finisher, followed by Mike Barry and Matthew Cahillane from the Department of Health and Human Services. Rebecca Williams of Environmental Services was the top female state employee, followed by Debra Fortier of Information Technology and Beth Wilkes of NHTI.
You can find full race results, including age group and team breakdowns, here.