A pack of runners emerge from the starting line at the annual Black Diamond Express Half Marathon and 5K Trail Races. For the 11th year the races were hosted by the Mendon Foundation. Racers began their journey in the Hamlet of Mendon heading west on the Lehigh Valley Trail before reversing course and returning for the finish back in the Hamlet. Photo by Dave Burnet

It was a beautiful, sunny morning on Sunday, August 28, when the Mendon Foundation held its eleventh annual Black Diamond Express Half Marathon and 5K Trail Races. Net proceeds from the races support the Mendon Foundation’s work in maintaining six land trust properties and Monroe County’s Lehigh Valley Linear Trail Park.

Almost 300 racers, family members, friends and volunteers gathered at the Youth Baseball complex in Mendon to enjoy a perfect activity on the Lehigh Valley Trail. Some racers came from California, Colorado, Michigan, Washington, DC and England to attend the event.

The day started at 5:30am with Rochester Running’s team setting up timing and scoring equipment, followed by Mendon Foundation volunteers setting up mile markers, water stations and road crossing safety teams along the 13.1 mile out-and-back Half Marathon course. Racer check-in and last minute registration opened at 7:00am at the pavilion in the baseball complex.

Excitement built as the racers arrived and prepared for the races. At 7:30am opening ceremonies were held including comments from Monroe County Legislator and Honeoye Falls Mayor Rick Milne, and Director of Monroe County Parks Patrick Meredith. A lovely rendition of our National Anthem was sung by HF-L 10th graders Amelia Somers and Jenna Quinn.

At 8:00am the Half Marathon racers took off and at 8:20am the 5K racers left. Since the 5K is only 3.1 miles out-and-back, most of the 5K racers returned to the start-finish line before the Half Marathon racers. The fastest overall 5K racers were Melissa Johnson-White of Fairport, followed by Laura Galeazzo of Webster. In the men’s class, the 5K winner was Richard Howard of Ontario (NY) followed by Greg Barkau of Penfield.

At 9:11am the first Half Marathon racer arrived, only 1 minute short of the record for this course. The fastest overall Half Marathon racer was Joseph Whelan of Webster, followed by Brandan Wagler of Lima. In the women’s class, the winner was Ashley Letteney of Rochester followed by Inga Simning of Pittsford.

All of the Half Marathon finishers received neck ribbons and ceramic medals depicting the 2022 Black Diamond Express Half Marathon, and all of the 5K finishers received Lehigh Valley Trail ceramic pins. All ceramics were hand made by Mendon’s own Geoffrey Gretton. Black Diamond Express 2022 metal water bottles were awarded to the top three finishers in each male and female age group.

Everyone enjoyed the morning and many are looking forward to running the Black Diamond Express Trail Races in 2023!

©2022 Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel

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