| Heather Gardiner Makes Snowstorm Classic History
Towse Topples Blanchard Record
For the first time in the 22 year history of the Snowstorm Classics, a woman was
the first runner across the finish line. And Heather Gardiner of East Hartford won convincingly, tying
the women's 5K course record of 17:36 which was set 20 years ago by Carol O'Connor and
matched by Sue Haryasz in 1988. The time is also a new age record for twenty three year old
women, shattering the 19:10 set by Suzanne Custer only a month ago.
At the starting gun CMS's senior ace Steve O'Neil bolted up the hill into the lead but by
the one kilometer mark by the baseball stadium Gardiner and the Harrier's Steve Byrne had
passed the early leader and opened up daylight on the rest of the field. The two runners
matched strides through Forest Park until just past the half way point when Gardiner upped
the ante. Charging around the roads bordering the Park, she steadily increased her lead until
crossing the finish line in her history making run. The Hartford Track Club speedster is
pointing towards this year's Boston Marathon, hoping to improve on her 3:01 pr. A recent
graduate of Central Connecticut State, she holds the 3K, 5K and 10K school records.
Steve Byrne took for 2nd in 17:57 while Steve O'Neil won both the masters and seniors divisions in
Not to be overlooked was Melissa Perkins-Banas 2nd place finish among the women, an
outstanding 18:34 clocking which moves the Addidas Woodbridge Runner Club representative
into 6th place on the all-time women's list. GSHer Mary Misiaszek was 3rd in her own pr
effort of 21:13. Annie Atkins was the first master in 22:49 while Sue Grant of SMAC took
senior honors in a quick 24:48.
After several weeks of near misses, Harrier Charlie Towse finally toppled the 21:25
record for 64 year old men held by none other then the "Champ" Doug Blanchard these past
eleven years. Sprinting in with Ms. Misiaszek, Charlie clipped 12 seconds off the standard
with his 21:13 clocking. It marks the first time in fourteen years anyone has broken one of
Doug's records on the 5K course.