By Dan Guttenplan
---- — One of the early surprises of the local running season has been Newburyport 29-year-old Maddy Hribar.
Less than three weeks after posting the top time among local women at the Boston Marathon, Hribar claimed the women’s title in the Newburyport PTO Spring Fever 5K Saturday at the Bresnahan School. Hribar finished fourth overall in 18:16, a significant drop from her best time and one of the fastest 5Ks run by any woman in the area in years.
Hribar’s time of 18:16 puts her on pace with top local runners like Betsy Suda and Lindsay Cullen, both of whom are regulars at the annual Trav’s Trail Run 5K, which will be run this year May 19. Last year, Suda was the top local female in 17:59 at Trav’s Trail Run, and Cullen was right behind her in 18:04. However, Trav’s Trail Run is run on a 3.0-mile course at Maudslay State Park, so Hribar’s sub-6-minute pace Saturday was actually faster than the pace run by either Suda or Cullen last spring. At the very least, if Hribar participates in Trav’s Trail Run in two weeks, she should be in the mix for the women’s title.
“I have been chasing sub-19 (minutes) for a while,” Hribar posted on her dailymile.com profile yesterday. “Pretty perfect day, took first female, fourth overall, and a huge 1-minute (personal record) at that distance.”
If it seems like Hribar has come out of nowhere on the local racing circuit, it’s because she has. She only moved to Newburyport in 2010 after attending Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. She didn’t run competitively in college, as Duquesne’s Division 1 team was filled with women who could run faster than Hribar coming out of high school.
While Hribar has been a competitive runners for the past five or six years, she has only recently geared her training toward shorter races — as is evidenced by her one-minute drop in time for a 5K at the age of 29. In addition to marathons, Hribar competes in ultramarathons. In the last year alone, she has competed in the 50-mile Pineland Trail Festival in Maine, the 24-Hour Around the Lake Race in Massachusetts, the Pine Creek Challenge 100-Mile Race in Pennsylvania, the Rhode Island 6-Hour Race and the Hat Trail Run 50K in Maryland.
Hribar nearly achieved her goal of breaking three hours for the first time at the Boston Marathon April 15. She finished in 3:01.17, placing 152nd among all women.
Georgetown resident Sean McDonough, 30, took home the men’s title in 16:25. Groveland’s Gary Cuneo, 27, was second in 16:37. Newburyport’s Steve Dorsett, a 24-year-old who had the top local marathon time in 2:52.48, was third in 16:46.
On the women’s side, Newburyport’s Jana Schulson, 40, was second after Hribar in 19:42. Newburyport’s Kelly Bradbury, 46, was third in 20:12.
In total, 291 people finished the race Saturday afternoon. Proceeds from the race will benefit the Newburyport PTO.