Locals test their running ability at Fairfield half marathon

Mike Astorino of Easton heads to the finish of last Sunday’s Faxon Law Group Fairfield Half Marathon. — Andy Hutchison photo

Residents of Easton, Redding and Weston put their best feet forward in the Faxon Law Group Fairfield Half Marathon this past Sunday.

Easton’s Matt Jackson finished 107th in 1:35.31. Caitlin Wilson was 204th in 1:41.16.

Mike Astorino of Easton was 284th in a time of 1:42.46. Astorino ran the Fairfield Half along with two first-time event participants whom he inspired to join. Astorino recruited neighbor Vern Gay and another Easton representative, Carolyn Lenoci, who is a friend of Astorino’s daughter Margot.

“I’ve run the race a handful of times, often as a way to get friends new to running excited about the sport,” Astorino said.

“I was kind of surprised at the enthusiasm and the way my two new running mates said yes. My first half scared me and I trained for months worrying I wouldn’t finish. Carolyn and Verne both did great and are both very excited to run another half and beat their times,” Astorino said.

“I will definitely run it again, and this time try to beat my time without focusing on just finishing,” said Lenoci, who is a soccer player and used her athleticism to her advantage in her first race.

Lenoci placed 409th in a time of 1:47.33.

“The course was very scenic and the volunteers were super supportive,” she said.

Gay placed 492nd, clocking in at 1:49.31.

“That’s the great thing about these races and why I like to introduce people to them — they’re a race and a test against yourself. And the Fairfield race is a great one since it’s so well-run with lots of people, bands playing and then a party at the beach after,” Astorino said.

Mona Shahbazi of Weston during last Sunday’s Faxon Law Group Fairfield Half Marathon. — Andy Hutchison photo

The race was moved from late June to the first Sunday of the month, and with an earlier start time of 8 a.m., with the hopes of cooler temperatures. Runners were treated to temperatures in the 50s, a good 30-degree drop from some if not most years.

“For me personally, the cooler weather made a huge difference. I’m not sure how much faster than my previous half but I know it’s the best I’ve ever felt after running 13 miles,” Astorino said.

Jill Kleban of Weston, who ran the New York City Marathon in November and is beginning training for the Chicago Marathon, ran her first official half marathon in the Fairfield event. She had seven half marathon-distance runs as part of her marathon training. Kleban finished in 424th place in 1:47.52.

“My little sister and brother did it last year and had a blast so I had to give it a try this year,” said Kleban, who ran it along with older brother, Evan Kleban of Fairfield, who was 586th in a time of 1:52.32.

“The weather was perfect running weather; nice and cool to walk in but perfect once you get running. We started exactly on time and everything ran so smoothly. I was impressed,” Jill Kleban said.

Other top Easton runners included: 321. Ben Mack (1:44.14); 370. Martina Maroun (1:46.53); 425. Mark Ochman (1:47.47); 579. Paul Skrtich (1:52.28); 582. Danielle Hall (1:52.48); 594. Austin Skrtich (1:52.57); 865. Jonathan Walker (1:58.58); 894. Nora Llach (2:00.04); 943. Libby Barlow (2:00.57).

Top runners from Weston included: 32. Benjamin Kosinski (1:28.13); 103. Kristin Powers (1:36.22); 230. Mona Shahbazi (1:42.05); 293. Wen Hsu (1:43.44); 383. Diane Hayes (1:47.08); 393. Don Stoltz (1:46.54); 768. Emily Weiss (1:57.20); 902. Aline Sullivan (2:00.30).

Redding was represented by Anne Chute, Caroline Eastus, Maeve Bremner and Carey Reilly.

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