Townsend said he didn’t know he was going to win until the courses separated.
“You don’t really know how you’re doing since you’re all running in a group,” he said. “It wasn’t until the 5K runners split off that I knew I was in the lead.”
A 1996 Delhi graduate who ran for SUNY Delhi and SUNY Cortland, Townsend said he felt prepared for his first Pit Run.
“It was my first time, but I’ve been running a long time,” he said. “I ran in high school and I ran in college. I’ve been training for this. It felt good to compete again.”
Townsend finished in 18:09, 26 seconds ahead of runner-up Chris Herbs of Rexford. Charles Hollister of Cooperstown finished third at 19:08.
“I was expecting it to be much colder,” Townsend said. “I got out here and it was warmer than I thought. I started shedding layers.”
Hilson, 41, won her first women’s 5K title since back-to-back victories in 2007 and 2008. She placed 12th overall in 21:22 – 57 seconds ahead of 2011 champion Katrina Clark. Unatego soccer standout Clark, 17, finished 21st overall for the second straight year, improving from 22:55 as the 2011 champion to 22:19 as the 2012 runner-up.
Nearly 900 runners turned out for the Pit Run as 448 completed the 10K and 447 finished the 5K.
The top runners from the law-enforcement field also were honored.
Melissa Swislosky of Mount Upton and Kurtis Breed of Oneonta earned the best finishes among New York State troopers. Swislosky, 41, finished 61st (44:53) and Breed, 27, placed 71st (45:31).
The top non-trooper officers were Brian Fitzpatrick of Staten Island and Danielle Olsen of Germantown, Md. Fitzpatrick, 28, placed 53rd (44:10) and Olsen, 27, was 201st (53:59).