By Jamie Kempton

Caitrin Demchko of Nanuet made the familiar trek around Rockland Lake at the head of the pack as she captured her second consecutive Women’s Distance Festival 5K last Saturday (July 13) at Rockland Lake State Park. The 26th annual race was coordinated by the Rockland Road Runners.

The race attracted 454 registered entrants and 387 finishers, both the third-highest totals in event history behind 2011 (535, 494) and last year (460, 425).

Demchko, 23, toured the flat 3.1-mile loop course in 18 minutes 52 seconds, a pace of 6:06 per mile. She won by 80 yards over Caroline Pennacchio, 15, of Briarcliff Manor, who clocked 19:08. Demchko broke away from a small group of runners at the two-mile mark and was never headed thereafter. Julie McElroy, 46, of Sleepy Hollow, finished third in 19:30. She was runner-up last year.

Rachel Tylock, 20, of Rochester, N.Y., dominated the walking division to win in 27:11, more than 10 minutes ahead of runner-up Christine Fox, 43, of Valley Cottage, who walked 37:23.

The Mother-Daughter division went to Nanuet residents Kim Chalfin, 21:06, and her 8-year-old daughter Madison, 25:40. The Sister-Sister division was won by Jane Manfred, 24, who finished fourth overall in 20:09, and Megan Manfred, 28, ninth overall in 20:47.
In the Grandmother-Granddaughter division, Marie Killeen, 76, and Grace Hodges, 10, combined for victory. St. Thomas Aquinas women’s basketball players Alexis Breheny (23:02), KC Sokolski (23:03) and Kaitlyn McCue (23:29) secured the team title.

Evelyn Stewart of Chestnut Ridge, 94 years young, completed the course once again with her niece, Patti Gindoff, 61. They walked across the finish line in 57:43 and 57:42, respectively. Stewart has been the event’s oldest participant and finisher every year since 2002.

Proceeds from the event are donated to the Center for Safety & Change, formerly Rockland Family Shelter, a nonprofit agency serving victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and other violent crimes. The Rockland Road Runners have raised more than $90,000 for the center since the race’s inception in 1988.

The distance festival is Rockland’s only race open just to women. Mike Seidenfrau and Carissa Coslit served as co-race directors.

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