EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 29, 2013

Bradford's Fullerton shatters mark for Feaster 5K

In 5-mile race, Sanca bests defending champ Jenkins, Kasper wins first

By Bill Burt

---- — ANDOVER — Pat Fullerton of Bradford sounded like a guy who didn’t meet his goals yesterday in downtown Andover.

Fullerton, 25, sounded more like a guy who lost, complaining about the cold and wind, which were in full force.

“Oh, my God, was it cold,” said Fullerton, who runs for New Balance. “It was hard to get my hands warm. It was brutal.”

But Fullerton smashed the Feaster Five 5K course record, finishing in 15:08, a 4:53-per-mile pace, to win for the second straight year, crushing Harry Norton’s old mark of 15:40 set in 2007. A year ago, he just missed the mark at 15:46.

Fullerton took off less than 200 yards after the start and never was challenged.

Connor Habib, 20, of Hampton, N.H. finished second at 16:56, and Joshua Accomando, 28, of Coronado, Calif., was third at 17:08.

In what was the race of day, the 5-mile event, two racing stars battled evenly until the last quarter-mile up York Street with Ruben Sanca of Lowell and five-time champ Nate Jenkins going head-to-head.

The 26-year-old Sanca, who runs for Whirlaway Racing of Methuen, broke away from Jenkins of North Andover near the finish to win by 5 seconds at 24:19. The duo was just off the record of 24:06 set in 1999.

Sanca competed in the 2012 Olympics in the 5,000-meter run, representing his native Cape Verde.

“I tried a few times to break away, but I couldn’t. He was too strong,” said Jenkins, 33. “A few times I thought I was ahead of him and I heard, ‘Come on you guys!’ I was thinking, ‘Oh man!’ I knew he was close.”

Sanca and Jenkins have met many times before.

“Matt is always a tough challenge,” said Sanca, who was a star racer for UMass Lowell. “He’s a strong runner. He’s tough. I felt pretty good and was lucky to get away.”

On the women’s side of the ledger, Andover’s own Alanna McDonough, 20, coasted to victory in the 5K at 19:16, besting Caitlyn Clark, 29, who finished at 19:50 and Alexandra Brillaud, 23, of North Andover, who was not far behind at 20:03.

McDonough, a junior at Colby College via Governor's Academy, led from start to finish in beating her race time last year by exactly 2 minutes.

“I got a lot of ‘girl power’ shouts along the way,” said McDonough. “It was freezing. In fact, I can barely speak right now.”

In the 5-mile race, North Andover running sensation Kirsten Kasper, 22, competed in her first Feaster Five by running 5:36 splits over 5 miles to finish in 27:48. Kasper flirted with a 17-year-old record set by former USA racing star Lynn Jennings, who ran a 27:33 in 1996.

The Georgetown University graduate student, who has one year of eligibility remaining for her college career, said the Feaster Five was as exciting as she heard it was.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Kasper, whose uncle is former Bruins player and coach Steve Kasper. “These were tough conditions, but I liked it.”

Catherine Beck, 28, of Newark, N.J. was relatively close to Kasper, at 28:18, while Emily Pallotta, 25, of Boston, finished at 31:52 to round out the top three.


Hero of the day

That honor goes to Larry Bourdeau of "Off Season Sports and Physical Therapy." A runner went down on York Street about three-quarters of the way up the hill and about 150 yards from the finish line. The medical team was radioed right away, and Bourdeau came running to the site with an AED and performed CPR/defib on the individual. Word has it that the man's life was saved by Bourdeau

"We understand the man is doing OK at the moment," said race director Dave McGillivray. Although the race was temporarily disrupted near the finish line, a life was saved. McGillivray noted that Chris Troyanos and the Andover police and fire departments also responded immediately to the scene as did one or two runners in the area who assisted Larry. "It reminded me of the Boston Marathon first responders," said McGillivray.