ANDOVER – Second place is nice. Winning, though, is twice as nice according to the smile on Jacob Johns’ face.

The former North Andover High and University of Maine star was part of a new breed of winners in both the Feaster Five Road Race 5K and 5 mile events.

All are first-time winners.

“It does feel pretty good to finally win this after being close a lot of times,” said Johns. “This was one of my best 5K times. This course is tough.”

Johns, 27, copped the 5K men’s event in 16:09, besting Manuel Gonzalez, 32, of Boston (16:52) and Nick Poulin, 17, of Gloucester (17:05).

“I made my move at the hill,” said Johns, referring to big hill on Main Street at the top of Rte. 28. “I love this race. It’s home for me. I have to admit I do like winning this.”

In the women’s 5K, Katherine Groton, 28, of Boston, finished in 19:24, winning by 35 seconds over former North Andover High cross country captain Katrina Martyn, 27, of Arlington (19:59). Erin Rielly, 28, of Burlington (20:16) finished third.

It was Groton’s first-ever Feaster Five, coming to the area with her fiancée and Methuen native, Dan Martin. The two plan to get married in May.

“The first hill was tough,” said the Miami of Ohio graduate, who did not run in college. “This was a fun race.”

In the 5-mile races, Dr. Ben Pare, 29, a Methuen High grad now residing in Portland, Maine, won in 24:57. He beat Feaster Five regular Scott Mindel, 35, of Burlington (25:31). Tim Poitras, 25, of Dracut (25:46), finished third.

In the women’s 5-miler, it was a sprint to the finish, Janelle Solviletti, 26, of Medford (30:13) coasted to the win, beating former Timberlane captain Morgan Lingar, 30, of New York City (31:22) and Caroline Wilcox, 30, of Andover (31:32).

“This is my first turkey trot,” said Solviletti, who grew up in Billerica and ran at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. “This is a great race. I didn’t how great it was. I will definitely do this again.”

Hip hip hooray for Connolly

Former North Andover High football star Sean Connolly did his best to compete in the 2021 Feaster Five Road Race, a family tradition.

While he didn’t look his normal “smooth” self, there was a reason.

Eight months ago the financial planner had his hip replaced.

“My brother had his hip replaced (a few years ago),” said Connolly, who had two sons follow in his footsteps as multiple-sport athletes at North Andover High. “It’s probably more of a genetic thing than sports. But I wanted to do this. It wasn’t pretty, but at least I’m here.”

Back after two decades

The Pratt family – Harry (61) and Frances (57) – of Beverly made their triumphant return to the Feaster Five on Thursday morning after a two-decade hiatus.

Mom, Frances, started participating when she used to worked in Andover at IDC. Her husband, a noted ultra-marathoner, also ran.

Then family got in the way, including two boys Nicholas (20) and Daniel (16), as did cancer, which Frances beat.

Yesterday was the first time the Pratts were back. Nicholas (34:48) ran and Daniel (44:15) walked in their first-ever road race.

“I remember loving the T-shirt and apple pie,” said Frances. “It was so nice to be back. We will definitely be back. This is so much fun.”

Dad and daughter together

There was a big celebration at the 5-mile finish line with Jenni Galipeault (37) and Paul Nicholasgianis (59), including hugs and high fives.

They are daughter and dad, a mutual admiration society.

“I’m so proud of her,” said Nicholasgianis, of Nashua, N.H. “She got T-boned in her car, with pins and screws in her legs. Doctors told her she’d never run again. Obviously, they were wrong.”

Galipeault was equally proud, noting he battled and beat cancer twice.

“This is special for us,” said Galipeault, who will be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in the spring. “He’s a tough guy. He’s taught me so much. We love this race.”

Trending Video

Recommended for you