Others may have the Blossoms but we have the Pits!

Cherry Pit 10 Mile Race

Since 1980

The Cherry Pit 10 Mile Race is the second race of the Championship Series, typically held the first or second weekend of April. This race is an alternative to the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler in Washington, D.C.

Race History

March 301980:  The first Cherry Pit 10-Mile race was held at South River High School on Sunday, March 30 at 2:00 PM (the late hour was to allow those Striders, lucky enough to get into the Washington DC Cherry Blossom 10-Miler, to run it in the morning, and then come work the Cherry Pit).  The fee was $4 for Striders, $5 for non-Striders, and $6 for all on race day. The race was limited to 500 runners, all finishers received T-shirts, and the male and female award categories were Open, 30-39, 40-49, and 50 & over. The course was described as “country roads in southern Anne Arundel County, picturesque with a few hills”.  Don Waddington was the first Cherry Pit race director, and set the parameters and traditions for a race that is still going!

April 5th, 1981:  Ron Fisher directed the 2nd annual Cherry Pit—same venue (SRHS), same course, same time, 2:00 PM (for the same reason).  The winners were Chip Brand (26), 55:05, from Frostburg, MD, and Diane Dulin (34), 70:33, from Oxford, MD.  There were 195 finishers, among which were Betty Impellizzeri (79:21) and Liz Barclay (81:39), duking it out for 1st and 2nd in the 30-39 age group, Betty Moore winning the 50 and over group, Stan Fletcher, 2nd in the 20-29 category, Eric Peltosalo, 2nd in the 30-39 group, Don Waddington (71:20) and Dick Hillman (38), (71:29), Bill Law, 1st in the 50-59 group (72:44), Ben Moore (55), (89:00), Guy Riccio winning the 60 and over in 96:56, and former Olympic race walker, John Wall (67), finishing last in 1:35:21 (walking).

April 4th, 1982:  Larry Stone took over as Director and wrote afterward that “The Cherry Pit was a huge success despite slow times due to gale-force winds.  Even my neighbor, Mike McAusland, felt the race was ‘…the pits!’ With rave reviews like that, we can’t miss! The proceeds from the race were donated to the South River High School track program.”  Winners were Anthony Basile (23) in 56:23, and Jeanne Libutti (31) in 66:51.

March 27th, 1983:  Larry Stone was the Director again, with help from a co-director, Bruce Marudin.  The men’s winner was Stan Fletcher (28) in 53:40 and Judy Friedes (38) the women’s winner in 68:17.  

April 1, 1984: Mike Whitworth was the Director.  The men’s winner was Stan Fletcher (30) in 53:48, with Nut Hall (26) coming in 2nd at 56:47.  The women’s winner was Pat O’Brien (36) in 66:13.

March 31, 1985:  Mike Whitworth was again the Director, and Stan Fletcher (31) was again the men’s winner, in 53:21, and Pat O’Brien (37) again the women’s winner in 67:00.  Mark Rosasco (26) was 2nd overall in 54:50. 

April 6, 1986: Nancy Waddington was the Director with Leon Johnson as co-director.  The 1986 Cherry Pit will be remembered as an international race.  The men’s winner was Per Kristoffersen from Norway, finishing in 53:29, which was not a new record since Stan Fletcher ran 53:21 in 1985.  The women’s winner was Barbara Byrnes from Victoria, Australia in 62:24—a training run for her since she and her husband were touring the U.S. prior to running the Boston Marathon.

Nancy thanked all the volunteers who helped relieve her anxiety about jumping in to direct an established race.  She was ably assisted by co-director Leon Johnson who was the prime mover in soliciting donated prizes for various winner categories—things such as 11 meals for 2 at good restaurants in Annapolis, inflatable boats, apple pies (sorry, cherry season was over!), etc.–and also provided support for race day radio communication, an important safety factor.

The Strider newsletter editor noted later that the first year the Chery Pit was ever run, it was also the first year that Race Director Don Waddington had ever laid out a course, and Nancy Waddington was the last finisher that year in 110 minutes.  In 1986, Nancy was the 1st woman race director for the Cherry Pit.  From last to first—good job, Nancy!

April 5, 1987:  The Cherry Pit name matched the weather, but, with the help of 20+ volunteers, director Nancy Waddington pulled off a good, safe race in miserable conditions.  Tony Carvalano (18) won the men’s race in 55:18 and Fred Shanklin (45) was the Masters’ winner in 67:32 (with Milt Taylor (54) close behind at 67:59). 

Pamela O’Hanlon (24), from Charlottesville, VA, was the first woman in 68:10, and Martha Kinsinger (52) the women’s Masters’ winner in 80:26.

March 27, 1988:  The men’s winner was Bob Spierdowis (25) in 55:03, and the next three were Stan Fletcher (34) 55:33, Mark Rosasco (29)  56:05, and Matt Mace (27) 57:02. The men’s Masters’ champion was Larry Collins (40) 64:37.

The women’s winner was Sally Strauss (27) who ran a 61:19 to best 2nd-place Carole Rosasco (28).  Pat O’Brien (40) took the Masters’ crown in 67.39.    

April 2, 1989:  The co-directors were Arnie and Ardis Henderson, who said after the race, “As usual, we had a great support crew.  Thanks to those who worked the race.” Tony Basile (30) won the race in 52:59 and Mark Jones (27) was 2nd  in 55:14.  The male Masters’ winner was Lynn McCutcheon (45) in 59:27. 

The first woman was Carole Rosasco (29) in 65:30, and second was the Masters’ winner, Rose Malloy (40) in 68:30.

April 1, 1990:  Co-directors Arnie and Ardis Henderson noted that, “This event takes its place among the all-time memories in club history, as the winner, Darrell General, went on just 2 weeks later to become the 1st American finisher in the Boston Marathon!  Darrell’s time was 50:45, and the second-place men’s finisher was David Webster in 55:13.

The women’s winner was Rose Malloy in 64:48, and Cheryl Conrad finished 2nd in 66:34.

April 7, 1991:   This year’s race  (reported co-directors Arnie and Ardis Henderson) included all the elements of a melodrama:

A Villain:  the weather, with 84-degree temperature (in April) and high humidity.

Heroes:  An incoherent runner who refused water at 8 miles was saved by water stop volunteers, the police, and an ambulance. 

Clowns:  I signed up for a race, not a sauna bath!—Karen Stolka

Personal Worst!—Sue Briers

Age 37 at start, about 57 now!—Michael Benso

Happy Ending:  The down runner was out of the hospital by 9:00 PM, fully recovered.

Joseph Blackman (29) was the men’s winner in 57:12, followed by three in the 30-39 age group:  Scott Eden in 59:31, Tom Prendki in 60:23, and Matt Mace in 62:33. Rose Malloy was the women’s winner in 68:18, followed by Jennifer Lundeen (30-39) in 79:11 and Meredith Bonta (40-49) in 79:54.

April 5, 1992:  Co-directors were Arnie and Ardis Henderson.  There were 119 runners and Ramon Marin (24) was the winner in 52:51.  Bruce Frame (20) was 2nd in 56:17, with Steve Egolf (29) close behind in 56:29.

Monika Bachman (26) was the women’s winner in 68:50.  Sue Briers (36) was second in 71:49, and Meredith Bonta (46) was 3rd, but first among women over 40, with a 76:34.  Yvonne Aasen (60) was second among women over 50 with a 99:14.

Early April, 1993:  Co-directors Ardis and Arnie Henderson and all the runners were ready, but 4 reserve police officers, needed for traffic control, didn’t get the word to show up.  The senior police officer in charge said to cancel the race, but President Ron Jarashow convinced him we could do it if we put extra volunteers out at certain spots.  Several Annapolis Striders gave up running the race to man the traffic control positions and the race was allowed to start, about an hour late. 

A few runners had to leave, but still there were 112 finishers, only 7 fewer than the previous year.  Profuse thanks was given to the many volunteers (35+) whose patience and extraordinary flexibility salvaged a good race from a budding disaster.

Robert Marino (35) was the men’s winner in 53:11, with Steve Egolf (30) 2nd in 57:34, and Matt Mace (32) 3rd in 59:17.  Chris Riley (49) was the first male over 40, with a time of 64:17.

Allison Thompson (22) was the women’s winner in 67:57, and 14-year-old Jackie Kerr was 2nd in 70:38!  Meredith Bonta (47) was the 3rd woman, but the first over 40, in 74:12.  Yvonne Aasen (61) finished in 96:37.

April 14, 1994:  Co-directors Ardis and Arnie Henderson described the day as “Dark and rainy…” but that was the only problem with everyone’s favorite 10-mile race.  It was the 12th and last year for Joe Walsmith to mark the course, then follow up with overall runner/course monitoring, then course sweepup (last runners) and equipment pickup.

The Naval Academy track team , there for a practice long run, swept the 14-19 and 20-29 age groups, but were shut out in all other age groups (do tell!).

The order of finish was:  Richard Cochrane (20), 1st overall in 53:00, James Garrett (28) 2nd in 54:56, Matt Limbert (21) 3rd in 56:43, Tom Shea (19) 4th in 56:43, and Chad Lee Froelich (21) 5th in 57:04.

Rose Malloy (45), there for a 4 to 5-mile recovery run convalesced her way to 2nd place among the women and 1st in the over-40 category, running the 10 miles in 71:44..  Jennifer Sullivan (29) won the women’s race with a 69:43.

Early April, 1995:  This was the last year for co-directors Ardis and Arnie Henderson.  There were 144 finishers in a freakish heat wave of close to 90 degrees Fahrenheit at race time.

Steve Egolf (32) finally won after years of being edged out.  Despite the heat, he finished in 57:04, which put him well ahead of Tony Basile (36) at 59:27, and Matt Mace (34) at 61:18.  Maureen Kubicek (32), visiting from Ohio, was the women’s winner in 75:25 (ahead of Denise Sutton (27) in 76:56, and CeCe Cleary (21) in 78:42).  Maureen was apparently running that fast to avoid missing her plane home. She was heard admonishing her Annapolis friends not to use her winner’s prize of dinner for two at Fergie’s as she would be back in a few months.

Ardis and Arnie thanked the Cherry Pit volunteers, especially the 30+ for the 1995 race, and all the others over their years of directing, who suffered through the vicissitudes of rain, cold, heat, locked schools, missing police, etc., to make the race happen every year..

Early April, 1996:   New co-directors Iris Wyvill and Rick Woods welcomed 156 finishers in their debut.  

Steve Egolf (33) proved 1995 was not a fluke, winning this year in 56:23, with Mark Rosasco (37) a close 2nd  in 57:04 (exactly Steve’s winning time in ’95), and Matt Mace (35) 3rd in 59:36.

Stacy Nicholson (33) was the women’s winner in 62:33 and Carole Rosasco (36) was 2nd in 63:01.  These two women were 7th and 8th overall, and not that far behind the men’s winners.  Yvonne Aasen (64) topped the over-60 group with a 102:08.

In the words of the directors, “The race was a big success.  Rain all the previous week stopped and race start weather was 60 degrees and clear.  The Radio Club was a big help for tracking the leaders and stragglers, and for getting assistance to Kitty Goode, who stopped to aid a downed runner.  Thanks, Kitty, for being such a good Samaritan!” 

Early April, 1997:   Co-Directors Iris Wyvill and Rick Woods had 159 runners and 1 race walker as finishers.

Once again, first place went to Steve Egolf (34) with a time of 56:50.  Steve Donahue (36) was 2nd in 57:18, and Mark Rosasco (38) 3rd in 58:19.

Jennifer Sullivan (32) was the women’s winner in 69:16, with Alexis Petrosky (26) right on her heels with a 69:53.  Carole Rosasco (37) was the 3rd woman in 71:06.  Yvonne Aasen (65) finished in 102:36.

Comments about the race were:  Grey skies, cool weather and, at times, a light drizzle.  Although there was some confusion about getting into the school the 17th annual Cherry Pit was a great success.  [Note: Since 1980 was the first, the 1997 race was the 18th Cherry Pit.] 

April 19, 1998:  Robert Marino (40) was the winner in 55:43, 5 minutes faster than the 1997 winner, Steve Egolf (35) who came in 2nd at 60:43, almost 4 minutes slower than his 1997 time.  Matt Mace (37) was right behind Steve in 61:07.

Carla Pastore (42) won the women’s race in 68:06, just 5 seconds faster than Jennifer Sullivan (33) who ran a 68:11, faster than her 1997 winning time of 69:16.  Margie Boyd (36) finished 3rd in 72:32.  Yvonne Aasen (66) finished in 101:47, 49 seconds faster than her time in 1997.

Co-Directors Iris Wyvill and Rick Woods noted, “Cool temperatures and grey, overcast skies but rain didn’t materialize.  There were lots of races that day and we were worried that turnout would be low, but it was only 11 finishers below last year.” [160 to 149]. 

Early April, 1999:  This was the first year for new co-directors Bob Burash and Whitey Gross.  There were 155 finishers. The men’s winner was Steve Egolf (36) in 59:24. Mark Rosasco (40) was 2nd in 59:50, and Scott Eden (45) finished 3rd in 60:42 with Matt Mace (38) close behind in 61:07.

Jennifer Sullivan (34) was the women’s winner in 66:56.  Rose Malloy (50) was the 2nd woman and first in the Masters’ category (over 40) with a 71:01  Marjorie Boyd (37) was 3rd in 71:37.

Yvonne Aasen (67) finished in 108:15.

April 9, 2000:  Race Directors were Bob Burash and Mervin “Whitey” Gross, who welcomed 155 runners to the finish line in Arctic conditions (cold, biting, gusty wind and snow).  It was the first year for chip timing of the “Pit” and all seemed to go well, except that the weather added about 3 minutes to the top runners’ times.

Dale Irons (35) was the winner in 60:15;  2nd was Steve Egolf (37) in 62:36; and Paul Serra (44) took 3rd in 65:12.

The women’s winner was Jennifer Sullivan (35) in 68:54; Julie Dukes (30) was a very close 2nd in 68:59; and Marjorie Boyd was 3rd in 71:11.

Overall winners each received a Cherry Pit sports mug and a $50.00 gift certificate to Athlete’s Foot.  

Age group winners received:  1. CP sports mug; 2. Cherry pie; 3.  Case of cherry coke. 

The race directors expressed many thanks to the Strider volunteers, to the Reserve Police Officers for their traffic safety plan and execution, and to the Anne Arundel Radio Club for their communications help.  

April 8, 2001:  Whitey Gross and Bob Burash were again the race directors.   They had rain, heavy at times, but it was cool, and times were fast, for the biggest turnout in race history (203 finishers).  Awards were the same as in 2000, and they again thanked the Reserve Police, the Anne Arundel Radio Club, and the South River Central Middle School.  Tom Bradford presented all three organizations with generous checks for their loyal and continued support of our Annapolis Strider races.

The men’s winners were all new.  Dusty Lieb (17) was first in 56:00 and just nosed out Eric Woronick (29) who was 2nd in 56:07.  Third was Doug Kuderna (40) in 57:41.  Dale Irons (2000 winner), Mark Rosasco, Scott Eden, and Matt Mace finished fifth, ninth, tenth, and fourteenth, respectively.

Another new winner, Jill Hargis (40) took the women’s race in 63:03; Marjorie Boyd (39) was second in 68:41; and Carole Rosasco (41) was third in 69:43.

Yvonne Aasen (69) ran a 103:30.

Early April, 2002:  Directors Bob Burash and Whitey Gross had another good turnout of 183 finishers.  They received many kudos for how well-organized the race was. Bob and Whitey blamed it all on the Strider volunteers, the active and Reserve Anne Arundel County police, the Anne Arundel Radio Club, the Anne Arundel County Fire Department paramedics, and the South River Central Middle School principal, O. Fred Jenkins, and custodian, Marv Harris.

The men’s winner was Sean Dinces (19) in 58:20; second was J.J. Wetzel (16) in 59:50; and third was 

The women’s winner was the same as last year, Jill Hargis (41), in 65:27; Carole Rosasco (42) finished second in 69:17; and Julie Dukes (32) was third in 69:30.  

Yvonne Aasen (70) and Web Chamberlin (71) were first woman and man in the over-70 category.

Early April, 2003:  Co-directors Whitey Gross and Bob Burash and the 24th annual Cherry Pit were greeted by perfect weather, and good attendance (second-most ever at 201 finishers) despite a conflict with Clyde’s American 10K.  Ran out of bib numbers and the last arrivals had to use the upper part of the pink registration form (they were “pink-slipped).

First-time course monitors had runners yelling “turkeys, turkeys” at them and started to take umbrage, then noticed several live turkeys trying to enter the course.  The monitors shooed the turkeys back into the woods , because we all know bandits are not allowed. 

Brad Chapman helped load race equipment on Saturday, showed up at 6:00 AM Sunday to help set up the finish line, ran the race (2nd in over-70), then drove to Clyde’s in Columbia to pick up the club’s mats for the chip system, then drove back to Annapolis to unload.  Whew!!

Doug Kuderna (42) was the winner in 57:17, and Joh Schoenberg (39) was 2nd in 57:31.  Many-time Cherry Pit winner Steve Egolf (40) was only 4th, but won the prize for the first Masters’ finisher in 58:47.

Marjorie Boyd (41) was the first woman in 67:59, Andrea Williams(31) was 2nd in 68:49, and Julie Dukes (33) 3rd in 72:14.  Jennifer Lundeen (42) was the first Masters’ woman in 73:38.

April 4, 2004:  Co-directors Bob Burash and Whitey Gross are stepping aside after 6 years (1999-2004).  They noted some justifiable pride in the following:

The cost is the same as when they began–$3.00 for pre-registered, and $5.00 for race-day signups.

They moved to the chip system for scoring, then moved back to tear-off bibs when it became obvious that, for a race of 10-mile length, tear-offs are more cost-effective

The random prizes and volunteer prizes they instituted have provided surprises for slower runners and incentives for conscientious volunteers.

Their idea to assign the most senior runners bibs #1 and #2 was a nice idea to honor the elders.

That the race grew slowly and steadily to a total of 224 finishers for 2004 is testimony to the enlightened stewardship and faithful execution of this directing team.

The overall winner was Jon Schoenberg (40) in 58:23.  James Cathro (22) was 2nd in 61:38 and Steve Egolf (41) 3rd in 61:45.  Number 203 was Brad Chapman (72) in 104:48. 

In the women’s race, Claire Saxton (26) was the winner in 65:47, with Jill Hargis (43) 2nd (and 1st Masters’) in 66:54 and Marjorie Boyd (42) 3rd in 69:09.  Number 217 overall was Yvonne Aasen (72) in 114:09.

April 10, 2005:  Under brilliant skies and cool temperatures, 273 runners had 10 miles of “…good times over rolling hills” on the country roads of south Anne Arundel County.  New director George Swatzbaugh and his team of volunteers made the 2nd leg of the Champ Series a resounding success.

Arturo Fernandez (22) was the overall winner in 57:03; Dermot Killian (21) was close behind in 57:36; and Jon Schoenberg (41) was 3rd in 58:10.   Matt Mace (44) took the Masters’ prize in 61:57.

The women were led by Jill Hargis (44), 67:12; Andrea Williams (33), 67:45; and Carole Rosasco (45), 69:27.  The Masters’ prize went to Jennifer Sullivan (40), 71:40. 

April 2, 2006:  The Cherry Pit 10-Miler was held on a warm, sunny, beautiful spring day, April 2, at the Central Ave/South River High School complex in Edgewater, Maryland.  Three hundred fifteen finishers covered the course, south on Route 2, to South River Colony, east and downhill to Muddy Branch Road, south to Mill Swamp, and back uphill miles 5-7 to Route 2 and return to the high school.  Overall winners were Wallace Miller (Annapolis, Md) in 58:04, and Brittany Rooks in 67:34. Annapolis Strider Nate Nudelman, volunteer coach, led the U.S. Naval Academy marathon team to the finish. Race Director George Swatzbaugh unfortunately wasn’t in attendance due to a family emergency, but Co-Director Ron Bowman stepped in to manage the race.  Thanks to both of them and all the volunteers.

April 6, 2008:  The race was truly “The Pits” for first-time director, Kathy Hanson.  She learned that the State Highway Administration (SHA) would not allow the use of Muddy Creek Road (an Anne Arundel County road), as had been done for almost 30 years.  Also, SHA wanted approval from County engineers, instead of just the police as before. With the help of several experienced Striders, a new course was measured out involving the South River Colony development, with a short out-and-back along the wide shoulder of Route 2.  The County engineers denied the permit as it would inconvenience residents along certain roads. Kathy personally circulated a petition to those residents, who signed it saying they were aware of the event and the caution that was needed for road safety. The County engineers then changed their minds and said the race would be approved if the South River Colony board approved.  The board did so 8 days before the race and the County forwarded the request to SHA. Less than 48 hours before the race, the SHA disapproved the request again, saying that only County roads could be used, and the portion on the shoulder of State Route 2 was not allowed. An emergency meeting of Strider club officials and Cherry Pit directors came up with using the cross country team’s path through the woods to get to South River Colony.  Then, rain overnight and on Sunday made a swirling torrent out of a previously dry creek that would have to be crossed. Intrepid volunteers made a ford crossing with piles of rocks, and the race went on. Some chose not to run because of the possibility of injury, but those that did generally said what a great adventure this race was, and it will never be forgotten.

Kathy thanked the Radio Club and ALL the dedicated volunteers who went above and beyond—helping in the pouring rain and standing in cold water for hours on end.  She did say she hoped the next year would be a calmer experience! 

Despite the conditions, the first 6 runners finished under 1 hour.  The first 3 men, all 24 years old, were Scott Koehler in 56:53, Justin Marvel in 57:05, and Matt Fortin in 57:45.  The first 3 women were Brittney Rooks (14) in 68:03, Sheryl Kline (45) in 68:28, and Amanda Beal (27) in 71:51. Masters’ winners were Doug Kuderna (47) in 60:44 and Marjorie Boyd (46) in 76:09.  Top finishers for the old folks (70+) were Arnie Henderson in 105:05 and Tami Graf in 118:10

April 5, 2009:  Co-directors Kathy Hanson and Jon Line had a beautiful day for the race, noting, “No mud pits this year”.

There were 403 finishers, a new record for the Cherry Pit.  The overall men’s winner, Kipchirchir Bitok, also set a Cherry Pit record time of 52:57, and there were 8 finishers under 1 hour.  Among these were the top three in the 20-29 age group: Matt Fortin (25) in 55:02, Steve Jacobs (26) in 56:09, and Justin Marvel (25) in 56:45;  William Allen II (17) tops in the 19 and under group at 59:25; and Charles Powell III (43), men’s Masters’ winner in 59:55. At the other end of the spectrum, Jim Mandrin won the 70-79 age group over Arnie Henderson and Don Singer with a 93:57.

Katherine Clagett (38) was the first woman in 70:40 and Avery Cunningham, age 10, was 2nd  (and first in 19 and under) with 72:05!  Sheryl Kline (46) was the women’s Masters’ winner in 72:31.  Rose Malloy (60) was tops in the 60-69 group with an 86:06.

Kathy deflected all credit with her statement in the Streak newsletter, “My thanks go out to Jon Line, my codirector; to Penny Goldstein who kept me straight with all the pre-registered runners; and to Donna Cogle who found the time in her busy schedule to gather up all the volunteers needed to make the race a great one this year.  I also want to thank all the volunteers for giving their time. Without you, none of these races would be the success they are”.

April 11, 2010:  Kathy Hanson continued to serve as director, with help from her co-director Brannan Villee.   The 2010 Cherry Pit had 386 finishers and the overall winner was again Kipchirchir Bitok (30) in 53:02, with Dustin Meeker (28) 2nd in 56:43, and Dale Irons (45) the men’s Masters’ winner in 60:01.  The 70-99 age group winner was Jim Mandrin (73) in 89:37 

Sheryl Kline (47) won the women’s race in 68:40, with Bridget Holt (31) 2nd in 69:22, and Laurel Bell (48) the Masters’ winner in 71:18.  Avery Cunningham (11) topped the 1-19 age group in 71:04 (while Trish Cunningham (47) won the 40-49 age group in 71:38), and Yvonne Aasen (78) took the 70-99 prize in 131:09. 

Most of the following is taken from Kathy’s post-race writeup:  It was the first race of the season that implemented the Striders new procedure for Champ Series registrants.  The registration line got a little long, but was handled efficiently by Sharon Bradford and Ardis Henderson, who are always a pleasure to work with.

The Cherry Pit has everything to make a great race experience:  free parking close to the start and finish; and a large indoor staging area for the runners to register, pick up their bibs and mingle before and after the race.  There is plenty of water and Gatorade on the course, and there is beautiful scenery along the way. We also have plenty of volunteers to make the race run smoothly.  There was an unexpected volunteer this year, namely Robert “Nut” Hall, who not only timed the finishers, but printed the results quickly. I thank again all the volunteers who helped make this race a success.

April 3, 2011:  Director Kathy Hanson’s post-race notes:

We were again fortunate with the weather—sunshine, bright blue skies, and temperatures perfect for running.  Before the start, I asked Jeanne Larrison to sing the National Anthem. What a beautiful voice! She sang and then hopped in to run the race.  Thank you, Jeanne.

One of our participants was Bonnie Algera—34 years old with cerebral palsy.  Five midshipmen pushed her wheelchair the 10 miles in 80:31, and put a huge smile on her face!

The first 7 finishers ran under 60 minutes.  Midshipman Paul Hill, of the Navy marathon team, and Kirstin Blanck were the overall first place male and female runners this year.  At the other end of the pack, and 79 years young, Yvonne Aasen continues to impress us all. Thank you Wyatt (son) for making sure she was there.

The youngest runner continues to be Avery Cunningham with an impressive 69:23 finishing time.

Behind the scenes, there were Robert (Nut) Hall who did a fabulous job timing and scoring; and the Anne Arundel Radio Club, who kept the communication lines open.

And, a HUGE thank you goes to all my volunteers who contributed so much of their time to help this race continue to be successful.

April 1, 2012:  New co-directors Erin and Vassie Hollamon had the largest field ever with 535 runners finishing.  Excerpts from Erin’s post-race comments: The weather was chilly and clear. Our special runners finished a challenging 10-mile course that could not be run without all the great volunteers who come out to lend a hand.  We needed a lot of assistance since Vassie and I were first time Race Directors. Thanks to the registration/packet pickup team (Kathy Hanson, Arnie & Ardis Henderson, Melissa Currence, Tom & Sharon Bradford), the finish line crew (Al Stott, Whitey Gross, Bob Burash, Neal Hinkle), course monitors and water stop workers, the post- race refreshment people, and the midshipmen who helped out with equipment setup and take-down.

The first-place male this year was Dean Black in 56 minutes, and the first-place woman was Candice Dickson in 65 minutes.  We recognized the youngest finishers, William Pierce age 9, and Jennifer O’Brien age 11, and Yvonne Aasen for first place in age group 80-and-over.  

Congratulations to everyone and we’ll see you again next year. 

April 7, 2013:  The Hollamons directed another success.  Erin’s post-race comments: It was a beautiful day for the 516 finishers.  Once again we had plenty of volunteers and plenty of cherry pies to give out.  The 10-mile course was remeasured this year and paperwork can be filed for certification.  Shortly after this year’s race, the county repaved over mile markers 1, 2, and 9…Ha ha, pavement happens!  

Special thanks to our family members for their assistance.  Vassie rode lead bike and Hannah, Sidney, Charles, and Rebecca helped at water stops.  Thanks to all the Striders who work this race every year: Arnie & Ardis Henderson, Melissa Currence, Sharon & Tom Bradford, Neal Hinkle, Tom DeKornfeld, Donna Cogle, Kathy Hanson, and many others.  This challenging open road course runs smoothly because our volunteers are prepared at the aid stations and they monitor the roads to ensure our runners stay on course. We work with the Reserve Police; Radio Club members help us keep track of every mile.

We had many midshipmen who ran and helped again this year.  Midshipman Dean Black defended his first place title for the men and Katie Ogden took first place for the ladies.  Our youngest finishers were William Grevin for the boys and returning champ Jennifer O’Brien for the girls.

We are happy to report that for a second year we recycled and composted.  After all the waste was sorted, we were able to achieve a 67 percent recycle and compost rate.  Congratulations to all the runners. See you next spring! 

April 6, 2014:  Erin Hollamon and Noreen Leary co-directed the 2014 race and ordered up sunshine for the 457 runners of the 35th Cherry Pit.  Every year the Cherry Pit gets bigger.  An ad in Competitor magazine publicized the race, which ended up being very competitive.  The overall men’s winner was Michael Insler (30) in 56:22 and #2 was Jimmy Shipley (18) in 56:44. Scott Koehler almost caught Jimmy at the finish with a 56:49!  The Masters’ winner was Danny Bennett (43) in 61:31. Katie Ogden (24) in 63:12 and Ariel Coreth (22) in 67:19 were the first two women and Linda-Lou O’Connor (45) in 71:11 was the Masters’ winner.  The youngest runners were Will Grevin and Storrie Kuliych-Irvin. And, of course, Yvonne Aasen finished first for the ladies in the over-80 group. Of note, more women entered and finished this year than men!

This race is a huge success every year because of the many dedicated Strider members who volunteer their time and expertise to ensure that every aspect of the race is covered—course preparation and marking, registration/packet pickup, course monitors, aid stations, finish line/scoring, and post-race food prep and distribution.

We had a large group of midshipmen running and helping with the race this year, and they did a great job in both areas.  Also, you always see guys with radios—that’s the Radio Club that supports this race every year and keeps the race directors up-to-date on what’s happening out on the course.  The policemen you always see, controlling traffic and keeping runners safe, are also volunteers (from the Reserve Police, so they know what they’re doing!)

Erin summed it up, “All in all, it was a beautiful day.  There was plenty of food and drink, and cherry pies for prizes!  Thanks to all who ran and helped make the Cherry Pit race a success.  We will see you again next April…” 

April 12, 2015:  The Hollamons continued to serve as directors of the Cherry Pit.  Erin’s report: After a very cold winter and spring, 443 runners finished the challenging 10-mile course.  Registration started slowly, as everyone was waiting for the weather to warm! We are very thankful that race day was beautiful—not too chilly and not too hot.

We would like to thank all of our wonderful volunteers—family and friends, and those dedicated Annapolis Striders who assist every year with everything from permits and truck loading to setup and finish line.  We couldn’t have a successful race without you.

The word is out at the Naval Academy:  the Cherry Pit is the best! Every year the group of midshipmen who run our race gets bigger.  This year the Navy marathon team brought nearly 20 volunteers. We had a group of South River High School track athletes help out as well.  They run parts of this course every season, so having them monitor and work at the school was a big help. Thanks to the coaches and athletes.

Our overall winners for 2015 were the defending champions.  Michael Insler finished in 56 minutes and Katie Ogden in 67 minutes.  There were some new faces in the under-15 age group: Tyler Kempton, Georgia Furbish and Emily Wirt, and some returning age group winners in 15-19:  Matt Bennett, Charles Wood and Jake Daubert. New faces for the girls 15-19 were Rachael Hughen, Carrie Quillen and Alexandra Herschelman. Yvonne Aasen finished strong this year as defending champ in the over-80 age group.  Congratulations! All our winners went home with the traditional cherry pie.

A full can of compost and five recycle barrels of plastics and cans were the biggest haul yet.  Total trash output was a new low—only 4 bags of mostly cups and paper.

We greatly appreciated the Police Reserve and the Radio Club volunteers who, as always, were there to keep runners safe.  When you see them at a race, please remember to thank them so we can continue to enjoy races on the roads.

April 3, 2016:  The cold, windy and rainy weather kept many runners away.  Only 338 crossed the finish line of this challenging 10-mile course (105 fewer than 2015), but Erin and Vassie Hollamon convinced the Radio Club, the police reserve, and enough hardy Strider volunteers to show up to keep the whole evolution safe.  Safe, but not easy (try keeping 500 cups from blowing away while you’re filling them with water in the driving wind!).

The first-place male finisher was Charlie Schindler in 56 minutes and Katie Demers was the first-place woman in 56 minutes.  There were some new young runners this year. For the guys, 13-year-old Zach Bamford finished in 2 hours 16 minutes. For the girls, 14-year-old Audrey Wais finished in 1 hour 52 minutes.  Way to go, young folks!

The Cherry Pit race would not be a success without all the Annapolis Striders’ volunteers.  Erin and Vassie cited all those who helped as course monitors and at aid stations, and indoor volunteers who assisted with registration and food.  A special thanks was given to lead biker, Kerri Huffman, who guided the runners through a great race (and didn’t crash even once in the wind and rain!). 

April 2, 2017:  New co-director and long-time Annapolis Strider, Will Myers, summed it up as follows:  It was a beautiful day for a run—blue skies, cool temperatures and 424 eager participants.  Our overall male finisher was Charlie Sweeney with a time of 56:29. Our overall female finisher was Amanda Beal with a time of 64:27.  Our youngest runner was Samantha Wills, age 7, and the oldest was Yvonne Aasen at 85 years young.

Regardless of the distance, any race requires hours of preparation and devoted volunteers to carry the day.  From the first day Charlie Muskin and I accepted the position of co-race director, we had phenomenal support.  Erin Hollamon helped to transition all materials. Christian Eck set up our web information. Also stepping up were the regular finish line crew of Al Stott, Bob Burash, Whitey Gross and Neal Hinkle.  In addition, registration/packet pickup was a snap with Ardis and Arnie Henderson, Rose Malloy, Tim Lowe, Reggie Haseltine, and Larry Puglisi. Our food distribution was coordinated by Nan Pasadena and her husband.  I can’t forget Dan Symancyk who took care of scoring with the assistance of Ardis and Arnie. Many thanks must be extended to Peggy Vail who helped at the storage shed with the loading and unloading of equipment and materials.  Speaking of helping, Tom DeKornfeld, Chris Zazzali, Mitch Keiler, and Perry Rapp all pitched in by packing up the trucks for the trip back to the shed. I must also compliment the midshipmen. They truly represented themselves as competent and capable young men and women.  These future Naval Officers did excellent work manning the water stops.

The Annapolis Radio Club, a longtime friend and associate organization of the Striders, helped monitor the progress of the runners the entire race.  As an all-volunteer organization, the Striders have been fortunate to have so many people and groups willing to give time and effort to make races like the Cherry Pit a success.

It is our hope everyone will return to the Pit next year in its new place on the run calendar, May 13, 2018.

May 13, 2018:  Noreen Leary was the race director for the 39th running of the Annapolis Striders Cherry Pit 10-Mile.  Race morning began very wet due to a torrential downpour over the previous 24 hours.  With the race date being changed from early April to Mothers’ Day, many of our usual volunteers had other plans (for instance, the usual 20 or so midshipmen were zero as exams were over and the mids were gone).  The water stops were cut from 4 to 3 and the smaller band of dedicated Strider volunteers, with 39 years of tradition riding on their shoulders, completed another successful and safe race (assisted by Charm City Run and the South River High School track team at two of the water stops, and the usual outstanding Radio Club and Reserve Police personnel on the course).

The overall male winner was William Allen II, with a time of 57:53, and the overall women’s winner was Nicole Dawson with a time of 69:00.  Every age group was represented except 80 and over. There was one positive aspect to the midshipmen not running, and it was to allow others to place in their age group.  Congratulations to all who placed and, in fact, to all who toed the starting line in the pouring rain.

The race director summed it up:  “…it was a great run and, God willing, I will be there for the 40th Anniversary of the Cherry Pit…unless the run is scheduled again on Mothers’ Day…!”