HAVERHILL — The reasons for running yesterday’s Frozen Shamrock 3-Miler were varied. Competition was very low on the list.
A respectable total of 800 runners from the record 1,100 entries were able to take to the streets of Haverhill and Bradford for the kickoff-turned-wrapup of the three-race Wild Rover Series, rescheduled from February due to heavy snow. With Mayor James Fiorentini providing well wishes from the city prior to the start and an interested audience lining the course, the spirit of community extended beyond the runners and was not lost on the athletes.
“I really appreciate that they come out and watch us,” said overall winner Frank DeBonis of Andover. “They make you feel like you’re doing something important enough that they want to come out and watch. It feels good, and once I catch my breath (after the race) I want to thank them for coming.”
With an opportunity to run a shorter course with some friends as well as continue his training for the upcoming Vermont City Marathon in Burlington, DeBonis outkicked Amesbury’s Larry Fowle down the stretch to take the title in 16:53.2, about six seconds faster than Fowle. It was his third top 10 finish in the Wild Rover, but that didn’t matter to DeBonis.
“I try to keep it all in perspective and have fun,” the transplanted New Jersey native said. “I’m not here to break records and kill myself. I’m here to have fun and places like this allow me to do that.
“It’s an opportunity to run with a couple of my buddies that don’t do long distances as I do, to spend some time with them and have a couple of beers afterward. That’s really what it’s all about.”
Friends were the motivating factor for Haverhill’s Kristina Scott to enter as well.