Turkey Day 5K ‘feast’ adds international flavor

Elite triathlete Wurf hangs on for 5K road win
Delaney, 19, holds off Lauritsen for women’s victory

* Photo gallery – 800 images
* Video of the start
* 2021 results
* Prior years’ results:  201920182017201620152014
* Cameron Wurf’s blog

By Kevin Spradlin

FROSTBURG, Nov. 25, 2021 — A longtime Thanksgiving Day tradition added a bit of international — and, proverbially, royal — flavor this year.

But if Cameron Wurf is an Ironman prince on the multi-sport world stage, fellow competitors should be put on notice: Wurf is a prince who wants to be king.

Kevin Spradlin photo | AlleganyPlayground.com
Cameron Wurf, left, is shoulder to shoulder with Evan Pyles, 19, of Ridgeley, W.Va., as the two head up McCulloh Street and back to Mountain Ridge High School.

And if 2022 can be the year, those first steps for the Australian toward being crowned might have been taken during the 24th annual Turkey Day 5K Run/Walk on Thursday at Mountain Ridge High School in Frostburg. That’s because although Wurf, 38, had never before toed the start line of a competition that consisted solely of a footrace.

That didn’t stop him from leading the field of 284 timed participants to the finish line, even though he didn’t separate himself from runner-up Evan Pyles, 19, of Ridgeley, W.Va., until Wurf’s shoes hit asphalt, coming off the concrete sidewalk between the school stadium and Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick Lane parking lot loop.

Wurf stopped the clock in 16 minutes and 3 seconds, while Pyles was right behind him in 16:07. Justus Leprovost, 20, of Ellerslie, took third in 16:32 while Garrett Ferguson, 17, of Keyser, W.V., was the last one to break the 17-minute barrier and finished fourth in 16:57.

Bradley Paye, 47, of Blacksburg, Va., was the first Masters (40-plus) runner, earning a 15th-place finish in 18:54. Jason Griffith, 51, of Keyser, W.Va., ran to a time of 22:21, good for 41st and the top Grand Masters (50-plus) runner.

Kevin Spradlin photo | AlleganyPlayground.com
Mary Delaney, 19, of Frostburg, leads Line Lauritsen, 39, of Tucson, Ariz., to the Turkey Day 5K finish line. Delaney won by three seconds.
Top two women in the 5K run.

The women’s race was even closer than the Wurf-Pyles competition. Sixteen-year-old Mary Delaney, of Frostburg, held off Line Lauritsen, 39, of Tucson, Ariz., for the victory. Delaney finished in 21:00, good for 34th overall. Lauritsen three seconds (21:03) and one spot back.

Bailey Ferguson, 13, of Keyser, W.Va., took third in the women’s race — and 42nd overall — in 22:27, edging Megan Cunningham, 29, of Frostburg, by two spots in the overall standings and only eight seconds. Hannah Muir, 20, of Lonaconing, was fifth on the women’s side (46th overall) in 22:50 while Ainsley Friend, 12, of Keyser, W.Va., was the last female under the 23-minute barrier by two seconds (48th overall in 22:58).

Jane Rossi, 56, of Frostburg, was the top 40-plus woman to cross the finish line, ending her 3.1-mile race in 26:01, good for 84th overall.

The event started and finished in the bus parking lot at Mountain Ridge High School. From the school, runners took Washington Street, turned left on — and down — Green Street to a loop around the Allegany Cemetery, then back to McCulloh Street, a brief return on Washington Street, and a loop around the high school track before returning to the school bus parking lot for the finish.

Kevin Spradlin photo | AlleganyPlayground.com
Bailey Ferguson, 13, of Keyser, W.Va., earned a third-place finish in the women’s field.

Wurf lives in Europe with his wife Fallon Wurf (nee Farley), a Garrett County native. While visiting her side of the family in the Oakland area, Cameron Wurf said he runs with Bobby Alkire (Midlothian), Zach Bittinger (Frostburg) and Richie Dellinger (Swanton).

“We spend as much time here as we can,” Wurf said.

The three men happen to help organize the Turkey Day 5K. This was the Wurf family’s first visit with infant son Wyatt Farley Wurf, born in May 2020, in tow.

Wurf said though his group had covered many Frostburg streets in training, none of the route on Thursday morning looked familiar because most of the running they do is in the dark.

“I hadn’t seen any of it before the start,” Wurf said. “When we went down that first downhill (Green Street), going pretty fast …

That moment seemed to bring Wurf back down to earth, however, and allowed him to better pace himself in the second half of the race.

The ascent into the cemetery, he said, “was quite painful, but I think it kind of saved me a bit.”

Wurf said he likely would have lost his lead had much more of the race other than 400 meters been on the high school track.

“The uphills, downhills, changes in rhythm sort of helped me a little bit (as) opposed to the track,” Wurf said. Had it been a track 5K race, “I think he would have smashed me … it was a great course, though.”

Kevin Spradlin photo | AlleganyPlayground.com
Justus Leprovost runs to a third-place finish.

Still, he appreciated the atmosphere.

“Running around the athletics track with the football team cheering, it kind of felt like you were at the Olympics,” Wurf said.

Wurf, who lives in Andorra between Spain and France, said he prioritizes different disciplines of the triathlon at different times of the year. He happens to be in the middle of running block leading up to the California International Marathon on Dec. 5 in Sacramento, California.

Even the marathon, though, is simply a part of training. Wurf said he completed his first Ironman triathlon four years ago and placed 17th. In subsequent efforts, he placed ninth and, in 2019, finished fifth overall, only two spots out of the elusive top three.

“Obviously, I’m aiming to get on the podium,” Wurf said. “I wanna win.”

Proceeds from the Queen City Striders event benefit the Mountain Ridge High School cross country program. The pre-holiday meal event was moved to Frostburg in 2019 after the American Legion building in Westernport was no longer available to play host. The event was cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.



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