Fourth of July 5K
July 4th, 2005.  Springfield, MA.

Fratini wins 4th race

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

SPRINGFIELD - Ludlow's Paul Fratini just wanted to get back to race pace.

Amherst's Kelli Lusk just wanted to get in a good speed workout.

They both got what they wanted, and more.

In a field of 223 runners, Fratini and Lusk won the Greater Springfield Harriers Fourth of July 5K, held downtown yesterday morning.

Fratini, 40, crossed first, winning by 30 seconds in 16 minutes, 33 seconds. Lusk, 35, was the top female, finishing in 18:20.

Karl Lenser of Conway, Ark., was second in 17:03. Pelham's Chris Gould (17:12), Springfield's Steve Lombardo (17:31) and Kevin Johnson (17:43) rounded out the top five overall finishers.

On the women's side, Kelly Heroux was second in 19:07, followed by Florence's Sidney Letendre (20:11) and Carrie Poole (20:55).

Fratini, Lenser, Gould and Lombardo broke from the rest of the field during the first mile along Main Street. As the lead pack approached the first mile marker, Fratini stayed strong, and held a three-second lead. Fratini quickly increased his lead to six seconds as the race turned onto East Columbus Avenue, and was never threatened the rest of the way.

"Younger and stronger," said Lenser, 47, referring to Fratini.

"I wanted to come out and take it out hard," Fratini said. "I wanted to run the pace I'm used to."

Fratini hadn't been able to run his usual pace in his last two big races. At the Rhody 5K race in Lincoln, R.I., and the Whirlaway 10K in Metheun - a pair of USA Track & Field New England Grand Prix races - the weather conditions were less than perfect.

"It was hot and humid. They were bad conditions," Fratini said.

But that wasn't the case yesterday.

"I knew when I woke up I was going to have a good race," said Fratini, noting the lack of humidity.

"I concentrated yesterday on today's course. I broke it down into (three sections). It worked out well."

For Lusk, one of the premier females runners in Western Massachusetts, she's thrilled she's able to push herself again. Lusk didn't do any hard running for eight weeks due to an injury to her left calf.

"I was fit in April," Lusk said. "I'm trying to build a base again."

Lusk is focused on July 16, when she will compete at a high-caliber mountain race.

"The winner gets an automatic spot on the National Team. It's the last automatic spot for women," said Lusk, who favors hilly, longer courses. "I'm trying to play catch-up."

Lusk pulled away from the women's field in the first mile, and won the women's overall by 47 seconds.

"I like the course," Lusk said. "I wanted to get something in. I don't like track workouts. A race like this, this gets me back to race mood. There's a pack of people and I'm being pushed, instead of doing intervals on the track."


Overall Teams Age Groups