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January 2, 2014

Frost Bite 5K lives up to its name

Former SUNY Delhi runner wins chilly race

By Jessica Reynolds Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — ONEONTA — More than 189 participants braved temperatures near 20 degrees Tuesday at the Oneonta Family YMCA’s annual Frost Bite 5K. Adolescents, families and individual runners bundled up in cold-resistant fabrics, with the exception of one, who wore fur.

Pongo, a Dalmatian, ran the race with Bill Boyle, his owner, and 9-year-old Cody Feil. Boyle, of Oneonta, said Pongo is not used to running on a leash, but did a great job and ignored passing distractions, such as barking dogs, like a seasoned pro. The cold temperatures didn’t bother the group, according to Boyle, 38.

“It feels good when you’re running,” he said.

Feil said he did not do as well as he wished, but started out “right up front.”

Oneonta Family YMCA Executive Director Frank Russo said the Frost Bite 5K is a yearly fundraiser that benefits the YMCA scholarship fund and offsets program costs. No figures were available Tuesday. He said the Frost Bite is a great tradition because it is family-friendly.

“We see everyone from little kids to seniors,” Russo said. “The race is a community favorite with participants from young to old. The ‘Y’ is for building a strong community.”

Six members of the Davidson family participated in this year’s race. Mark, 44; Bryan, 41; Kyle, 15; Andrew, 12; Benjamin, 10; and Francisco Zapata, the family’s exchange student from Mexico.

Zapata, an 11th-grader who has been in Oneonta since October, said he plays soccer in Mexico, but had never participated in a race.

“It was very cold,” Zapata said.

Benjamin, 10, called it, “the toughest race I’ve done.”

Dorothy Davidson said the West Oneonta family has participated in other races together.

“They did a Turkey Trot in Florida once and had to carry a turkey between them,” Davidson said.

After crossing the finish line, the Davidsons gathered with the other runners in the YMCA gym for oranges, bagels, energy bars and water. Medals were given for first, second and third place.

Former SUNY Delhi runner Jason Phillips won the overall title with a time of 16 minutes, 46.1 seconds. Phillips, who is from Moravia, competed for the Division II cross country program at American International College in 2012 and 2013.

Delaware Academy sophomore Declan Kottmeier of Bovina finished second in 17:06.9 and Unatego wrestling coach Mike Hamilton of Oneonta placed third in 17:47.2.

“I like to see the community getting together,” said 15-year-old Kottmeier, who earned his best finish in his third Frost Bite appearance. “It’s nice to see friends.”  

Bovina Center’s Julie Hilson won the women’s title, placing 15th overall in 20:35.2. Delhi’s Gabriella Rollo (17th, 20:41.8) and Walton’s Kristine Reed (19th, 20:53.7) rounded out the top three women’s finishers.

Kristy Lawson, operations manager at the Oneonta Family YMCA, said she was pleased that so many people came out despite the temperature.

YMCA Child Enrichment Coordinator, Group Exercise Instructor and Trainer Heidi Tanner-Brantley stood at the finish line, keeping track of times and places of the runners.

“The run is such a nice way to kick off the new year with friends and family in a healthy manner,” Brantley said. “It reminds you that getting out and moving, even when it’s cold out, makes you feel good and makes you happy. That was clear from the smiles that came across the finish line!”

Steve Hornung and Wayne Allen owned two smiling faces that crossed the finish line early on. It was the third time running in the Frost Bite for both men.

Allen, 39, said it is important to train when it’s cold to be prepared for the conditions of the race. He placed 10th overall, in 19:36.5.

Hornung, 58, said the weather wasn’t “too cold” and thought the race went well.

“The course is really nice,” said Hornung, who finished 18th in 20:47.3. “We really appreciate the great job the Russo family does every year.”

Said Russo: “It was a great day and a successful fundraiser.”