There were no repeat winners at Thursday’s Way Station of Frederick County’s annual 5-kilometer Turkey Trot. But the high school alma maters remained the same.
Louis Levine and Savannah Plombon were the top men’s and women’s finishers, respectively, among the field of 4,000 registered runners. Both are Thomas Johnson High School graduates, as were Stuart and Stephanie Reich, who won last year’s race. The Reichs did not run in this year‘s Turkey Trot.
“The Reichs are really competitive runners in the Frederick area,” Levine, 22, a 2014 TJ graduate, said. “So when Stuart did not run in the race this year, it sort of opened up the door for me.”
Levine, a research assistant at Johns Hopkins University’s medical campus in Baltimore, won the overall race with a time of 15 minutes, 18.82 seconds. Collin Crilly, of Olney, was less than six seconds off of Levine’s pace, finishing second (15:24.44).
Plombon was the women’s winner in 17:57.72. She was 22nd overall. Claire Heasman, of Frederick, was second (18:22.02).
Thursday’s race may have been the coldest Turkey Trot in recent years. Temperatures hovered between 25 and 30 degrees around race time. Levine was seeking a personal-best time in the race, but taking into consideration the cold weather, it was more about finishing strong than his finish time.
“This race was more about having fun, getting a chance to come home, see family and friends,” Levine, who now lives in Baltimore, said. “With this kind of weather, it just means putting on another layer of clothing. It’s all the same race.”
Levine, like most of Thursday’s top runners, started out at the front of the pack, along with Crilly. Levine opened up the lead on Crilly around the one-and-a-half-mile mark.
“That’s when I decided I wanted to make a move on him,” Levine said.
Through the next mile, especially on downhill areas, Levine began widening his lead as he made the final turns toward the finish line on West Second Street, near the William Talley Adult Recreation Center.
“I started gaining momentum at this point, then I started pulling away,” Levine said. “There were a lot of talented runners in this race.”
Plombon, 25, graduated from TJ in 2011. She’s run in past Turkey Trots, but did not run last year.
Since moving to Jefferson, North Carolina, Plombon, a teacher at Appalachian State University, enjoys running in it when her schedule permits.
So this year, she put running in the Turkey Trot on her to-do list, in addition to returning home for Thanksgiving.
“I felt pretty strong coming into this race,” Plombon said. “The weather wasn’t too bad. I’m sort of use to it, living in the mountains near Boone, North Carolina.”
The weather-tested Plombon moved into the lead after the first half-mile. It didn’t take her long to open up her lead on the rest of the women’s field.
Both Levine and Plombon said they are eyeing up next May’s Frederick Half-Marathon. Plombon said she also hopes to run in a marathon in the near future.
Race notes: Robert Zaal (Boonsboro) finished third overall (16:20.33). Taylor Kracher was fourth (16:21.99). Matthew Wagoner (New Cumberland, Pennsylvania) finished fifth (16:28.03)...Frederick’s Turkey Trot is the largest 5-kilometer race in the state, race director Mark Lawrence said.