By Jim Sullivan
---- — There was nothing frigid about the Frigid Fiver 21st Annual 5-Mile Road Race yesterday, and that’s exactly how the roughly 350 runners liked it.
“This is about the best that we could ask for,” said first-year race chairman Adam Palombo. “Compared to a couple of years in the past where we have had to call the race off due to icy conditions, this is the best weather we’ve had yet.”
The runners were greeted at One Tournament Wharf with temperatures in the mid- to upper-40s. Co-sponsored by the Joppa Flats Running Club and Rotary Club of Newburyport, the Frigid Fiver made good use of the local topography to keep the runners going quickly and, as was the case this year, very happily.
“Here in Newburyport, we have so many hills, part of it is inevitably going to be downhill,” said Palombo. “It makes for a pretty good course. There aren’t many other 5-mile races at this time of year and it’s what has made this race traditionally unique.”
Proceeds from the race go toward both the running club and Rotary’s charitable works throughout the year, benefiting local charities such as Yankee Homecoming, the Pettengill House and Our Neighbors’ Table. Also benefitting from the race were the top three male and female runners. First place for each got, $100, second place received $75 and the third place finishers went home with $50.
“The weather conditions were perfect for running quick,” said first-place men’s finisher Chris Mahoney, 36, of Westford, who recorded a time of 25:54. “You can’t beat this for January. The wind was calm. Everything was really perfect for running.”
This was also Mahoney’s second first-place finish in a row after winning last year’s Fiver as well.
“It’s a quick course, you can run fast here,” said Mahoney. “We had a good group out there. There are quite a few fast guys here. It was a nice pack to run with for a while.”
Part of that fast pack and taking second place was Jordan Kinley, 29, of Salem with a time of 26:25.
“It was perfect,” Kinley said of the course and conditions. “It was so warm that I took my gloves off and I dropped one. There was a little bit of rain during the last 3 miles, but other than that, it was perfect. You couldn’t have asked for a better day considering the last few weeks with the Arctic vortex and all that.”
Gary Cuneo, 28, took third for the men, finishing just one second behind Kinley at 26:26.
Meagan Nedlo, 31, of Salem was first for the women with a time of 29:16.
“The conditions were beautiful,” said Nedlo, who was running her first Frigid Fiver. “I’m wearing shorts. I don’t need any gloves. It was a little windy in a couple of sections, but I can’t even complain about that because, with the weather we have had, this is the best-case scenario by far.”
Apryl Sabadosa, 30, of Westfield placed second for the women and recorded a personal record of 29:34, all in bare feet.
“I’ve been running barefoot for close to two years as of April and this winter I’ve only been barefoot a handful of times since January, because there’s been a lot of ice and snow and some really cold days,” she said. “That’s why my feet kind of hurt right now. They’ve been a mess since Mile Three. But I am running the Boston Marathon barefoot in April, so this is a good tune-up race.”
Newburyport’s Maddy Hribar, 29, was taking a break from running extreme 100-mile races to finish third with a time of 30:14.
“It’s my hometown, it’s a fun Super Bowl Sunday,” said Hribar. “I’m going home with $50. I can live with that.”
Ron Fedechko, 50, of Newburyport was running in a kilt, which is nothing new to him as a member of group of Scottish/Irish runners who all run in the knee-length garments.
“At this time of the year, it is a little warmer, so it is kind of nice,” Fedechko said of his kilt. “It’s a fun race. The temperature was perfect and there are a lot of local people here, so you get to see your neighbors too.”