Theyâre off to the races! The runners cross the starting line and head past Pariseau Field for the start of the second annual PawSox 5K on Saturday at McCoy Stadium. The overall winner was Demesse Tefera of New York, N.Y. (far left) and the womenâs winner was Hirut Beyene of New York, N.Y. (front row, third from left). PHOTO BY ERNEST A. BROWN
PAWTUCKET â Megan Jaswell was a little disappointed she was unable to defend her womenâs title at Saturdayâs PawSox 5K, but that didnât wipe the winning smile off her face after completing the second annual race at McCoy Stadium.
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âEvery race is completely different, and you can never expect to do as well as you did in the last one,â said Jaswell. âBut this is a fun race, and itâs nice to come out and support something good like this.â
The other 310 runners and walkers that circled the stadiumâs warning track for the final 0.2 of a mile and crossed the finish line near the Pawtucket Red Soxâs third base dugout also felt the same way Jaswell did and seemed more than happy to help make this yearâs event a repeat success.
The proceeds from the 3.1-mile race, which took place under a cloudy sky and in humid conditions, again benefited the PawSox Charitable Foundation, as well as two new charities, the Wounded Warrior Project and the R.I. Veterans Home, and the morningâs overall success certainly pleased race director Augusto âCookieâ Rojas Jr.
âI thought it went great,â said the PawSox General Sales Manager, who also took part in the race and finished in a 22:59 time that was good for 34th place and a 64-second improvement from his finish in last yearâs event. âWe implemented a lot of things that the runners wanted last year and everything worked out well.â
Everything didnât work out too well for last yearâs winners, Providenceâs Geoff Nelson and Jaswell, who both had off-races and were unable to come close to duplicating their strong times from a year ago.
But even if they matched their times, they would have still been hard-pressed to catch this yearâs winners, Ethiopian natives and New York City residents Demesse Tefera and Hirut Beyene.
Tefera, a member of the prestigious New York Road Runners who boasts an impressive resume that includes several victories ranging from 5Ks to the Carlsbad Marathon in 2001 in California, was all by himself throughout the race and ended up winning it with an outstanding 15:22 time.
âI ran an easy pace,â said Tefera, who clocked 4:57 miles on the mostly flat course that featured minor hills at the start (on the side road parallel to Pariseau Field) and the 2.4-mile mark. âThis race is nice, and the course is a very good course.â
Nelson, who won last yearâs race with a 15:44 clocking, was more than a minute slower and finished a distant second to Tefera in 16:50, but hot on his heels for most of the race was Beyene, who took third overall in a 17:03 time. She outdistanced the next female finisher, Providenceâs Katie Moulton of the Rhode Runner club, by 49 seconds, as Moulton finished fifth overall.
As for Jaswell, a native of Johnston who captured last Octoberâs Amica Marathon in addition to the inaugural PawSox race, she was the third female across the finish line. She was also 11th overall in a 19:36 time that was 19 seconds slower than her 2012 finish.
âTheyâre great runners,â Jaswell said of Tefera and Beyene. âI had an off-day, donât get me wrong, but they were just so great. At least if (Nelson and I) were going to get beat, get beat by someone thatâs that good.â
The weekend was a very profitable one for Tefera and Beyene. In addition to each winning $250 and a prize package worth $375 for winning the race, the two stayed overnight in Rhode Island and headed to Warren on Sunday morning to run in the Finish for a Guinness 5K. There, they were also the menâs and womenâs top finishers, and for their efforts, they each took home $200, plus an addition $100 for setting course records.
As for the PawSox race, taking fourth place in 17:08 was Lincoln resident Chris Lawrence, a member of the Boston Athletic Association running club. Riversideâs Paul Savickas, who finished fourth in last yearâs race in a 19:14 time, settled for fifth place in 19:10, and Pawtucketâs Fabio Figueiredo (19:14) and Matthew Price (19:17) took the next two spots.
Among the age group winners were Nelson (menâs 20-29), Jaswell (womenâs 20-29), Figueiredo (menâs 30-39), Moulton (womenâs 30-39), Lawrence (menâs 40-49), Cumberland High girlsâ cross country and track coach Joyce Bonner (womenâs 50-59), Jaswellâs mother, Theresa Jaswell (womenâs 60-69), and Pawtucketâs Linda Dewing (womenâs 70-plus).
Lincolnâs Chuck Hyson (menâs 70-plus) and Price (menâs 30-39) were the local runners who placed second in their age groups, and Ashley Bricault and Hannah Tavares, who are both seniors on the Cumberland High girlsâ cross country team, finished 2-3 in the girlsâ 19-under division.
Follow Eric Benevides on Twitter @EricBen24