Mendon Foundation Black Diamond Race draws large number of runners and spectators

Geneseo’s 10-year-old Catherine Staley (#1049) stands ready to start her remarkable winning 5K performance. Submitted photo

The Mendon Foundation’s annual Black Diamond Express Races were run on the Lehigh Valley Trail between Mendon and Rush on Sunday August 27th. This year’s races were a popular choice for area runners, with 166 finishers for the Half Marathon, and 55 finishers for the 5K.

Pre-race ceremonies included brief speeches from Mendon Town Supervisor John Moffitt and Monroe County Legislator Karla Boyce.

A beautiful and traditional duet performance of our national anthem was performed by HF-L students CJ Tomaszewski and Ryan Stansbury.

One of Rochester’s original ultramarathoners, Greg Brooks — who also helped with the USATF Course Certification for the Half Marathon — called the start for each race, and handed out medals to the Half Marathon finishers.

Unseasonably cool weather allowed a new course record for the newly-USATF Certified Half Marathon course, seeing Nick Budinski, 24, from Clarks Summit, PA win the men’s overall division at a blistering 5:59 per mile pace, with a finishing time of 1:18:23. Victor’s Dawn Sudol, 33, won the women’s overall division at a 6:55 per mile race, with a finishing time of 1:30:32. After Dawn finished the race, she wasted no time getting down to work with her colleagues from Lattimore Physical Therapy of Mendon, who provided post-race massages for the duration of the event.

The 5K winners were no slouches, either, with Victor’s Trevor Donovan, 34, winning the men’s overall division at a 6:00 per mile pace and a finishing time of 18:37. But the real crowd pleaser in this race was no doubt Geneseo’s very determined Catherine Staley, who, at the tender age of 10, won the women’s overall division at a 6:37 pace, with a finishing time of 20:33.

This year’s Half Marathon Finisher’s medals were, for the first time, handcrafted by Mendon’s Geoff Gretton using his patent-protected “Gravenware” ceramic process, and were a big hit with the finishers, who proudly displayed them to friends and family.

Mendon showed its pride at each intersection along the way, and a four-piece band played classics at Rochester Junction.

The Black Diamond Express races are the primary fundraiser for the Mendon Foundation, replacing the Mendon Station Festival that used to be held in early September each year. All race proceeds go toward the ongoing maintenance of the Lehigh Valley Trail and of the six open spaces throughout Mendon and Caledonia that comprise the Foundation’s land trust.

Mendon Foundation President and Race Director Drew Saur noted, “This year’s races represented a real leap in the devotion we want to give these races. Between the USATF certification, the live music performances, the handmade medals, the crowds at each intersection, and the variety of refreshments offered to runners after the race, we are working harder than ever to make the Black Diamond Express Races a first-class event that our community can be proud to host.”

The 2018 races are scheduled for Sunday, August 26th and registration is open. For the first time, cash prizes will be awarded to the top two male and female finishers of the Half Marathon, with a $300 first prize and a $100 second prize, for a total purse of $800. For the duration of 2017, early registrants of both the 5K and Half Marathon will receive an additional $5 discount.

The Mendon Foundation is actively seeking volunteers to help with all of its duties, including the 2018 races. To get involved, visit www.mendonfoundation.org; view its page on Facebook; or call Drew Saur at 585-624-5148.

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