Photo by Benjamin Gajewski / North Street Studios
Jeff Cavallaro crosses the finish line of the Oak Tree Half Marathon in a time of 1:21.46 on Sunday.
First-time winners outrun record field for Oak Tree Half Marathon
Race run concurrently in Geneseo, Afghanistan
More than 700 runners in Geneseo and Afghanistan competed in the annual Oak Tree Half Marathon and 5K races on Sunday.
The race, which took place Sunday morning in Geneseo, was also run at the same time at Camp Mike Spann in northern Afghanistan.
In Geneseo, a record 302 runners finished with first-time winners claiming the male and female divisions. Jeff Cavallaro of Rochester posted the winning time of 1:21.46. Winning the female division was Casey Moskel of Pittsford, in 1:30.35, which was 10th overall.
Rob Christie of Geneseo was the top local runner, finishing second overall in 1:22.24. He was also first overall in his age group of 40-44 years old. Andi Barnett of Geneseo was the top local female, finishing third in the division – and second in her 35-39 age group — with a time of 1:42.21.
PHOTO GALLERY: Additional photos from the Oak Tree races.
The companion Oak Tree 5K race saw a record 378 finishers, with Geneseo native Bobby Henchen, who now lives in Rochester, cruising to his fourth Oak Tree 5K win in 16:36. Kiki Maletz of Rochester took her first Oak Tree 5K title in the female division with a time of 18.55, which was fifth overall. Josh Harter of Avon was the top local runner in the 5K, with a second-place finish in 17:43, which was tops for his 35-39 age group. Clarissa Hensler of Lakeville was the top local female in the 5K, finishing second in 20:44. Her time won her age group of 10-14 years old.
The Oak Tree Race benefits the Genesee Valley Conservancy, an organization dedicated to protecting the habitat, open space and farmland of the Genesee Valley, through which both courses run.
For the first time, the Oak Tree Race partnered with soldiers serving in Afghanistan to support a sister half marathon taking place simultaneously at Camp Mike Spann.
Seven countries were represented in the race in Afghanistan with soldiers from Canada, Croatia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Sweden, and the United States participating. For 23 of the soldiers, today was their first half marathon. A total of 38 soldiers finished the course.
The Afghanistan race experienced some technical difficulties as organizers struggled to keep track of the times and lap count for each individual runner as the race progressed and runners worked toward the 21 laps necessary on the 1-km course to complete the half marathon distance.
The top three finishers are known. Race organizer Captain Andrew Kless (USA) finished first, Alen Petrov (Croatia) fished second, and Boris Junk (Germany) finished 3rd.
Several runners ended up doing an extra lap or two, due to the challenge of tracking a long distance race taking place on a small loop course without the benefit of electronic chip timing.
Despite the timing issue, everyone enjoyed the experience and “it brought the camp together unlike any event we have had since I have been at Camp Spann,” Kless said in an email.
Kless wrote that “large contingents of Germans, Croatians, and Hungarians cheered on all of the runners, regardless of nationality.”
Oak Tree Race Director Benjamin Gajewski, who has been coordinating with Kless throughout the summer and organized sending shirts, bib numbers, and finisher medals to the base, met up with Andrew’s parents and in-laws at the Oak Tree Race in Geneseo where Andrew’s wife, Megan Kless, completed the half marathon in 1:58:03