The grey skies and cold drizzle might have been helpful in masking a prisoner’s escape, but for runners in the annual Jail Break 5K foot race, it mostly meant wet shoes.
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office’s sixth annual race drew a crowd of runners and walkers to the staging area in the jail parking lot despite the morning’s cold and intermittent rain.
Following the race’s usual formula, three mock escapees began the race with a head start.
Overtaking the three earns runners a discount off the next year’s registration.
Garry Krinsky has run the race since the beginning and this year donned a striped shirt to lead the pack with two other mock escapees.
Krinsky, of Greenfield, said he used the race as part of his regular training regimen when he ran regularly, and remembers the street course as the first on which he broke a six-minute-mile pace.
Matt Shamey, 32, of Amherst was one of the dozen or so to pass Krinsky, the fastest of the crooks, going on to win the race with a time of 16:38.
“I think to come out on a rainy Sunday morning, it’s good. It’s a fun concept, too,” Shamey said.
Sunday was Shamey’s first time running the race, which he said he signed up for with a friend as a speed workout, and planned to put in at least another three miles that day.
Apple cider, bins of orange slices and bagel halves greeted racers back in the parking lot with accompanying music and mutual congratulations or commiserations.
Ann Van Dyke of Amherst ran the race for credit in the Sugarloaf Mountain Athletic Club’s ongoing race series.
“And it’s a social thing. Usually you run alone, so it’s fun, you get to see other runners,” Van Dyke said.
The rain had its advantages and disadvantages for runners.
“Well, it’s nice and cool so that made it easier,” Van Dyke said. “Of course, it’s not as easy on the feet.”
Sheriff Christopher Donelan said the race began as part of the Office’s community outreach, with registration
fees benefitting different causes each year.
This year, race proceeds will go to support Community Action’s Family Support Programs for a second year.
“I think it’s taken on more meaning recently because we found a permanent partner in Community Action,” Donelan said.
Sgt. Barney Collins said the race drew about 170 last year, and a number of those who pre-registered this year didn’t show up, likely due to the weather.
Nevertheless, race timers put the number competing around 175 to 185, with many of those signing up that morning.
The top finishers overall were: Matt Shamey of Amherst, 16:38; Aaron Stone of Greenfield, 16:39; David Degon of Deerfield, 16:54; Ben Whitbeck of Greenfield, 17:20; Jeff Hansen of Greenfield, 17:25.