Festival of Leaves 5K
Warren Heritage Society Shenandoah Valley Runners
Sat. 11 October 2008
Front Royal, VA

Results Age Groups Race Report Past Results

2008Race Report
  Start of the 2008 Festival of Leaves 5K: Thomas Maloney, Ken Gathercole, Peter Blank, Brad Hinton, Jill Atherton-Mellish, Jim Thomson, Mike Graham, Ernest Walden, Wayne Barber, Jamie Boese, Sam Thomson, Kevin Stack, Kevin Smith, Glenn Luttrell, Thomas Madden, Steve Wines, Anthony Andriola, Zach Moran, Rebecca Powers, Phil Griffin, Henry Griffin, Paul Tam, Bill Powers, Dave Mayo
Start of the 2008 Festival of Leaves 5K
Despite patchy fog wafting through the streets of Front Royal on the morning of Saturday 11 October 2008, about fifty runners ventured out to the Luray Avenue School in Front Royal, Virginia for the ninth annual Festival of Leaves 5K race. Conditions were otherwise perfect for running, with temperatures in the upper 40°s and no wind. The rolling 3.1 mile course through the southwestern part of town, however, presented a moderate challenge, particularly with two or three lung-busting hills coming in the race's second half.

The "G" word was shouted at 8 AM and the crowd of runners took off from the starting line in front of the school steps, with four eighth-graders from Winchester's Daniel Morgan Middle School leading the way. 14-year-old Jim Thomson was first to blaze his way down Luray Avenue, trailed by his brother Sam and 13-year-olds Thomas Madden and Anthony Andriola.

Overall winner Jim Thomson of Winchester, VA
Overall winner Jim Thomson
By the halfway point at the bottom of Criser Road, Jim Thomson owned a commanding eighteen second lead, having covered the first half in 8:49. Front Royal's Brad Hinton, 32, had caught up to Madden and was battling the youngster for second. Ten seconds behind them was 49-year-old Jamie Boese of Aurora, Colorado, and emerging from the fog a short time later were Thomas Maloney, 51, and Sam Thomson.

  Thomas Madden and Brad Hinton, both of Front Royal, duking it out in the final hundred yards
Thomas Madden and Brad Hinton sprint up the final hill
The hills slowed everyone's pace over the second half, but Jim Thomson had no problems hanging onto his lead, winning the race in 18:36 and setting a new male 14 & under event record in the process. Second place was decided by an exciting sprint to the finish between Madden and Hinton. Madden just edged out his elder by a couple lengths, earning a slightly taller trophy and bragging rights. Both were credited with times of 18:58. Boese took fourth and was the first Masters finisher in 19:22. Maloney, of Boston (Virginia, not Massachusetts), hung onto fifth in 20:17, followed by Sam Thomson eighteen seconds later.

Much like she did at the Bluemont Fair 10K three weeks earlier, newcomer Jill Atherton-Mellish dominated the women's field at the Festival of Leaves 5K. The 28-year-old from Front Royal passed the halfway point in just under ten minutes, holding a thirty-nine second lead
Women's winner Jill Atherton-Mellish of Front Royal
Women's champ Jill Atherton-Mellish
over her nearest female competitor, and she extended that lead even further during the second half. Her winning time of 20:44 was the second best women's time in the event's history (17 seconds off of Ruth Riemenschneider's course record from 2000), and she easily set a new women's 25-29 event record.

Two more Front Royalites claimed the other women's overall trophies. 15-year-old Jessica Stockton finished second in an excellent 22:07, the sixth fastest performance by a female in the race's history and a new event record for girls aged 15-19. And 30-year old Misty Bordner cruised in for third place in 23:04, the tenth best women's time ever at this event.

Returning runner Krishele Carter, 43, won the women's 40-44 age group for the second straight year, but she improved on her '07 performance by one minute twelve seconds, crossing the line as
Women's runner-up Jessica Stockton of Front Royal
Misty Bordner of Front Royal, third female overall
  Jessica Stockton and Misty Bordner
this year's fourth female in a speedy 23:50. And taking fifth in 25:26 was Fauquier County's Kathy Manzo, who broke the women's 50-54 event record in her first appearance at this race since 2002.

Officially the 5K had forty-seven finishers, with thirty-seven of those runners participating in the event for the first time. One of the returnees was 73-year-old Bob Gurtler, this year's oldest finisher, who ran a 30:50 at his sixth Festival of Leaves 5K. (Only co-race director Karsten Brown has more finishes.) 10-year-old Paul Griffin of Winchester was this year's youngest finisher. Paul's older brother Henry and father Phil also ran the race; the Griffins were among the ten participants who were members of the Shenandoah Valley Runners.
Henry Griffin and his father, Phil Griffin, both from Winchester
Henry & Phil Griffin speed through the fog on Criser Road
52-year-old Bill Powers beat them out as the top male SVR finisher, though, finishing just ahead of Henry and Phil in 22:47. Kathy Manzo was the SVR's fastest woman. Just under a third of this year's field hailed from the race's home county of Warren, with nine runners coming down from Winchester or Frederick County and with five runners driving out from Fairfax County. Three runners hailed from hundreds of miles away (and hopefully didn't travel all the way to Front Royal just to run this little 5K!): Jamie Boese lives 1,420 miles to the west in Colorado, while Jack Howdeshell of Mayo, Florida lives 674 miles away as the crow flies. And Mike Rickards lives 881 miles to the southwest in Bermuda, becoming the event's first-ever finisher with an address outside the United States.

This year's race had a very small but top-notch crew of volunteers who deserve much praise, including co-race director Terry Leckie
Invaluable volunteer Nancy Bullock, caught stealing!
Volunteer Nancy Bullock tries to abscond with the entry fee money
(who also directs the Front Royal Kiwanis 5K each May), the utterly invaluable Nancy Bullock, and the equally invaluable Kyra Brown. Many thanks are also owed to Mark Peters, who served as a course marshal at a couple of our most important intersections, and to Glenn Luttrell, who lent a helping hand before the race. And race founder Patrick Farris, the executive director of the Warren Heritage Society, was instrumental in pulling the race together with co-director Karsten Brown.
The white jacket found near the registration tables
LOST & FOUND: This jacket was left near the registration tables. If it's yours, e-mail Karsten!
Extra-special thanks are owed to the Front Royal Police Department, whose enthusiastic assistance helped to ensure a safe and successful run.

Although Farris has never intended the Festival of Leaves 5K to be a fundraiser, this year's race brought in $168.79 for the Heritage Society, and Farris is grateful for everyone's support. Next year will be the tenth running of this small but stubborn event, so mark your calendars now for Saturday 10 October 2009! (And don't forget about Warren County's other October race, the Greasy-Gooney 10K, which is coming up on Saturday 25 October 2008!)

Marlena Walden, Brenda Lee, Rebecca Webster, Haleigh Carr, and Elena Patrice
Over a third of the women's field in one shot: Marlena Walden, Brenda Lee, Rebecca Webster, Haleigh Carr, & Elena Patrice
  Jamie Boese of Aurora, Colorado heads up the Kerfoot Avenue hill midway through the race, with Thomas Madden and Brad Hinton barely visible
If Jamie Boese can't see the Kerfoot Avenue hill, is it really there?
  James Corbin of Rixeyville and Dave Mayo of Frederick, MD
Dave Mayo (right) tries in vain to outsprint James Corbin

Four-time Festival of Leaves 5K finisher Glenn Luttrell, 10-year-old Paul Griffin, and Larry Gascoigne of Linden
Glenn Luttrell and Paul Griffin are both fast, but my money's on Larry Gascoigne (right)
  Brittany Schmidt of Front Royal and Haleigh Carr of Harpers Ferry, WV
Age group champions Brittany Schmidt and Haleigh Carr
  Mike Rickards of Bermuda, Krishele Carter of Strasburg, Anthony Andriola of Winchester, and enthusiastic Philadelphia Phillies supporter Peter Blank
Mike Rickards and Krishele Carter follow as Anthony Andriola (center) can't believe some old guy is trying to beat him

Results Age Groups Race Report Past Results

The Festival of Leaves 5K Web pages are maintained by Karsten Brown.