SPORTS: Elite runners battle for title in Port Townsend’s Rhody Run

PORT TOWNSEND — The 32nd running of the Rhody Run drew almost 2,500 participants and many spectators both at Fort Worden State Park Conference Center and along the route.

The race turned into a battle between two elite runners and former champions.

Defending champion Joseph Gray of Lakewood went head-to-head against five-time winner Uli Steidl of Shoreline.

Steidl won the race in 2002 and 2003, and again three years in a row from 2006 to 2008.

Gray won this race of champions with a time of 36 minutes, 48 seconds, for his second consecutive victory.

His time was 40 seconds off the course record of 36:08 set in 1986 by Mike Layman of Tacoma.

Steidl was more than a minute behind Gray with a time of 38 minutes, 2 seconds.

Third place went to Dominic Smargiassi of Auburn with a time of 39 minutes, 21 seconds.

The top female finisher was Kristi Houk of Port Orchard.

She finished in 45 minutes, 53 seconds.

The second best women’s runner was Sarna Becker of Bremerton in a time of 46:24 while third place went to Port Townsend local Alice Fraser with a time of 47:06.

“The race went really well,” race director Jeni Little said.

“Addi Richert did a beautiful job of singing the National Anthem, and people really seemed to enjoy the Old Time Fiddlers.”

The sun didn’t come out until after the race but the weather was fairly warm and there was a thin layer of clouds overhead.

Community members along the route did a great job supplying water, both with sprinklers and cups, Little said.

Race results will be posted at by today.

The top 50 finishers are listed in Scoreboard on Page B2.

“The volunteers put their heart and soul into the race,” Little said.

“Some volunteers said it was the best race ever.”

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