The AOH (Ancient Order Of The Hibernians) St. Patrick's Day run in Anaconda. This race has been going on for over 30 years - I remember first doing this race in the mid-80's. It's definitely the grand-daddy of the MT St Paddy's day running scene.
It's a traditionally fast course (net downhill and most years there's at least some measure of a tailwind); and, with cabin fever having set in after a long winter - folks are ready to finally cut loose and pull out the racing shoes again.
The 3-Mile was the big race of the day, with some 539 finishers. Of the 348 women, Nicole Hunt of Deer Lodge shows that time is not her enemy as she pulled off a decisive win (and the #2 performance on the race's all time list) with her 16:32. Great performance in and of itself; but, especially impressive when considering that she is a 40+ Master's runner and the mother of 3. 2nd was Lisa Minnehan of Billings (and an MSU-Billings alum) in 16:53 (which was the #3 performance). Third was Anaconda High School senior Olivia Wood with her 17:55.
For the men, Clint Choquette (Butte native, current MSU-Billings athlete and significant other of Lisa Minnehan) came back home and put up stellar 14:22 - the #4 performance of all time - for the win. Josh Panasuk (also a Butte native and also an MSU-Billings athlete) was 2nd in 14:46 - the #9 all-time performance.
The next two in were the old-men of the group. In 4th was Ray Hunt - with a new master's record and a sub-15:00 time (14:57) at age 47. (Taking a page from his wife, he's showing that aging doesn't necessarily mean a reduction in performace level.) He was followed by 50+ athlete Marvin Speece (Butte) in 16:39.
In the 6-miler - it was Choquette sweep of the men's races. Older brother Matt Choquette was a clear winner, his 31:39 over two minutes ahead of Helena's Bryan Johnson's 33:46. In 3rd was Ozzie Rosenleaf at 36:54. 4th overall and 1st master was Lance Oswald of Butte in 37:56.
For the women, the race results suggest that the race was won by Tracy Tiner of Butte in 36:19 (which would have made her 3rd overall as a 40+ runner). So, not sure at this point if the result is legit. If it is, we have a new master's force on the women's side in MT.
2nd was Allison Moon (Butte) in 41:23; and, 3rd went to Charissa Bisch of Butte in 41:32.
A great way to kick off the spring racing season - and, sets the bar pretty high for the rest of the St. Pat's races next weekend.
See you on the roads, tracks and trails.
The Muddy Buzzard