Niantic Bay Half-Marathon Is a Runaway Success

Several North Branford runners – including Stephen Donnelly, Allison Karol and Deirdre Salemme – competed in the Niantic Bay Half-Marathon and 5K around Rocky Neck State Park on Sunday.


Organizers of the Niantic Bay Half-Marathon couldn't have asked for better weather on Sunday. It was sunny but not too hot with a steady breeze, no humidity, and not a cloud in the sky. 

More than 700 competitors put themselves to the test at what has become the largest running event this side of the Connecticut River. For many, just completing the grueling 21.097494 kilometer-long course was an accomplishment.

Jason Dufour, 39, of Bristol was the overall winner of the half-marathon, completing the course in 1 hour, 19 minutes, and 24 seconds. Cassie-Ryan Rasmuss, 29, Quaker Hill, finished 11th overall, with a time of 1:28.7, which made her first among the women runners.

Local runners also proved they could go the distance as North Branford's Stephen Donnelly, 23, finished 46th in the 400-plus field of runners with a time of 1:40.53

North Branford runners to complete the 5K – which also boasted more than 400 runners– included Allison Karol, 30, whose time of 32:21 earned her 255th place and Deirdre Salemme, 42, who finished the 5K in 38:30 for 335th place.

Casey Spencer, 23, of Niantic, proved to be the fastest on the shorter course, winning the 5K with a time of 18:03. Individual trophies were also awarded for each age group. Andrea Wiliamson, 57, of Norwalk, who finished the course in 1 hour, 40 minutes, and 21 seconds took first place in her age group. She said she loved the fact that she was still able to run faster than women younger than her.

"I love this race," Williamson said. "It was a beautiful day, a gorgeous course, and it's so well-organized." 

Volunteer Paramedics from Niantic Fire Department and paramedics and doctors from Lawrence & Memorial Hospital were on hand in case of emergencies but aside from a few sore ankles, some bruises, and a fair number of blisters, injuries were minor and no one had to go to hospital.

"We've never been this slow," said Ronald Kersey, director of the paramedics program at L&M Hospital. "It's been a fantastic day!" 


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