The 14th Annual Run 4 Kerri kicks off tomorrow at 9 am by the Matunuck School in South Kingstown, RI. If you’ve yet to experience this wonderful event, here’s a little background on it:
The Run 4 Kerri is a nonprofit charity organization that was developed to raise funds to sponsor a variety of charitable endeavors. The race was created to preserve the memory of the late Kerri Lynn Bessette who passed away at 19 years old in April 2001. Kerri succumb to complications resulting from bacterial meningitis while a freshman student and athlete at LaSalle University in Philadelphia. Over the past years The Run 4 Kerri has been able to donate yearly to a memorial scholarship for senior female track and field athletes at South Kingstown High School to offset college expenses. In the few years we have also added sponsoring the Narragansett Youth Track Series which allows children 13 and under to participate in track and field events to emphasis and promote self-confidence, sportsmanship, and fun. Lastly, we have established a school library giving program in which we hope to stock the shelves of a particular school yearly with developmental and age appropriate content.
The 4 mile event, which draws about 600 runners, supports great causes and it also happens to assemble one of the most competitive fields around. They really tap into the local talent, much like the way the Vermont City Marathon does. Speaking of that elite talent:
One name that jumps out immediately is Matt Pelletier. Matt is coming off his 5th win at the Blessing of the Fleet 10 Mile Road in Narragansett last week (50:55) and won the first edition of the Run 4 Kerri back in 2002 with a 20:39. However, Matty P hasn’t won it since his second win (20:26). Despite not breaking the tape, Matt ran a then PB for the course of 19:39 in 2007, second only to Mark Carroll’s CR of 19:08. Last year he ran his overall course PB of 19:25 when the top two guys both went under Carroll’s CR. Perhaps he’s a little snake bit on this course, with his top three times all coming in non-winning years.
Speaking of last year, both winner Amos Sang (18:44.84) and runner up Glarius Rop (19:04) broke Carroll’s existing course record. Sang absolutely crushed the mark, which was no joke of a time. Not sure how Sang’s been running lately, but Rop has been on fire with wins coming in overly hot conditions at the Level Renner 10k (31:15) and the Yankee Homecoming 10 mile race (51:13).
With eyes to the future we turn our attention to a current runner who wouldn’t surprise anyone with a win any year now. Last year, at the age of only 15 years old, DJ Principe ran a 21:12 and finished 11th overall. DJ has shown a steady progression here since first running the race in 2012, when he ran a 22:36 at the age of 13. Perhaps most importantly, he’s undefeated against his dad at this race. Could this be the year that Senior beats Junior? Eh, don’t bet on it. DJ smashed Andrew Springer’s old outdoor 5000m state record of 14:56 by running a 14:42.15 and placing 5th at the New Balance Nationals Outdoors in the spring. His time is coming… [check out his training here]
So it looks like Pelletier, Sang and Rop are ones to watch here. But we can’t overlook Lonergan, who nearly overtook Pelletier for what would’ve been a legendary come from behind effort at the Blessing last week. Don’t forget about Sam Alexander either; the 2012 R4K champ is quite capable of running swiftly.
Kerri Ruffo - Maybe not verified
While Matty P is the only man to have won the race twice, there are two women who have accomplished the feat: Steph Reilly (22:01 in 2008; 22:30 in 2014) and Jenna Darcy (2004, 2005). However, it doesn’t look like either will be there tomorrow. But you never know who could show up…Julie Culley is another big name to have run it, having won the 2013 race in 22:22.
Kaela O’Neil and Marie Davenport are coming in with some stacked resumés. Earlier this year, Kaela ran a 17:38 at the BAA 5k and a 36:24 at the James Joyce Ramble (10k), so she has the wheels. However, Marie is rolling in strong off the momentum from her win at the Blessing of the Fleet (59:11).
But at the end of the day it looks like Laura Nagel is the favorite. In fact don’t be surprised if she ends up taking down Amy Rudolph’s course record (21:49 in 2009). Laura ran a 10:14 at the John Carson 2 Miler in Chelmsford on the 4th of July. She also ran a 4:23 1500 at the NBB Twilight Meet #1 in May. In fact, the recent PC grad just ran a 26:20 at the Little Compton 4.8 Miler. The pace for that puts her under 22:00 for 4 miles. It’s gonna be exciting!
We gave a few of the guys a chance to showcase a little swagger and talk some smack to heat up the rivalry a little before the race.
Matt Pelletier: I would talk smack, but DJ Principe is also on here and it would just look embarrassing after he beats me
William Sanders: I’m just here so I don’t get fined
David Principe: I am offering him $20 ahead for each of you!! Motivation!! Ha Ha
Jeff Goupil: I feel as I will most likely get my ass handed to me I should keep my mouth shut
William Sanders: Calm down people. We wouldn’t want any “bad blood” between us. Am I right Sam?
Samuel Alexander: DJ Principe FTW. Taylor told me so.
David Principe: Let’s not get carried away!!
We won’t get carried away David…but at the same time we’re going to have to amend our list of contenders. DJ’s on it now. Can’t ignore a 14:42 5k guy!
We’ll be on site tomorrow morning providing live updates (as much as the wireless service in South Kingstown allows, anyway).Check us out on Twitter, Facebook and Periscope to get all the action.