, Newburyport, MA


April 2, 2012

Rich, Searles earn April Fool's race titles

More than 1,000 runners took a scenic jog through Salisbury as part of the Winner's Circle Running Club's 31st annual April Fool's 4-Miler Saturday morning.

"It was great," said Nick Sousa, 28, of Salem, who finished second overall with a time of 20:43. "I did this a couple of years ago, and it was really well put on. It's a really nice race. Everyone was really supportive. It's nice to get flat courses when you can. I would come back to this — it was a lot of fun."

This year's race was estimated to be the biggest ever and is the first in the 4-3-2-1 Speed Series that includes Evelyn's Run For the Roses 5K, the Pat Polletta 2-Mile Road Race and the High Street Mile. The April Fool's Race benefitted the American Red Cross and the Alzheimer's Association, among other causes, and raised an estimated $30,000.

Pat Rich, 35, of South Hamilton won the men's division and Heather Searles, 29, of Haverhill won the women's.

The top three finishers in the men's division were Rich (20:33), Sousa (20:43) and Tim Vanorden (21:03). The top three for females were Searles (24:29), Simonetta Piergentil (25:10) and Emily Lafferty (25:26).

"We had 100, 150 more (people) this year," said race director and president of the Winner's Circle, Dale-Bob Eckert, as flakes of snow mixed in with the rain. "The weather was April Fool's. They said it was going to nice all week until yesterday. Now, today, it's not. April Fools.'"

"With the runners, you get out, you warm, you get out, you're done," said Eckert.

"There were a lot more people than we anticipated," said Vicki Miller, vice president of the Winner's Circle, who was also able to run the race as well as helping to run an event featuring 60 volunteers. "This is the most we've ever had. Running is in a big boom now, and we're reaping the benefits of that."

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