MANCHESTER — This year’s Komen Vermont Race for the Cure, held July 23 in Manchester, Vt., was one for the record books with two Vermont racers setting world records for their age group.
Pat Zemianek, age 75
On July 30, Bill Teschek of Granite State Race Services LLC, the timing company serving the 2016 Komen Vermont Race for the Cure, sent an email to Terry Farkas, executive director of the Komen Vermont-New Hampshire Affiliate, with the following question, “Can you verify the birthdate of Pat Zemianek who ran in your Vermont Race for the Cure on July 23rd? Apparently her time is rather noteworthy, assuming she is really 75 years old.”
Zemianek’s 5K Run time had caught the eye of Ken Young, who records national road race statistics. Farkas pulled Zemianek’s race registration form and verified her birthdate from the year 1941. She is indeed 75.
Teschek then revealed that Zemianek is now ranked no. 70 on the world all-time list for 5K road races for females in the 75-79 age group.
“That’s exciting!” said Farkas when she heard the news. “And given the weather conditions that day, hot and humid, it’s even more impressive!” she added.
Linda Maness, president of the Komen Vermont Vermont-New Hampshire Affiliate, and a friend of Zemianek’s from the Training for More ladies running group, contacted Pat Zemianek by phone to share the news. “Guess what? Apparently you were pretty speedy at the Race for the Cure. You now hold an all-time world ranking for 5K time in your age group!” she shared.
Zemianek’s was shocked. “No! Really?” Zemianek said. “All I wanted was to get to the sprinkler at the finish!”
Zemianek has run the Komen Vermont 5K many of its past years, but registered this year on race morning.
“The Komen Race for the Cure is a fundraiser for a vital and worthy cause. Running this race is a humble experience watching the survivors, some who had just recently had treatment, cross the finish the line with smiles on their faces,” she said. “When I ran this race I wasn’t thinking about my pace. It was a hot, humid morning and my goal was to finish. When I’m a race participant I like to chat with fellow racers and when running a new course I like to observe my surroundings and enjoy the scenery. I can be competitive but at no time thought about setting any records.”
Years prior, Zemianek’s friend Gail Harwood convinced her to join the Training for More group. “This opened up a whole new world of running for me,” explained Zemianek. “Lynn Grieger’s, and subsequently Andrea Malinowski’s, training expertise made me a more comfortable and confident runner. I am so grateful for the support and encouragement from this great group of women. Their loud cheers, applauds, high fives and hugs at each finish line motivates me continue running and enter races. I love the camaraderie. I owe my running accomplishments to this enthusiastic group of determined females.”
TFM’s Lynn Grieger, now of Prescott, Ariz., was notified of her one-time trainee’s accomplishment, “Pat always said that she ran slowly, but that was just her being modest. She typically would run at the front of the group on training runs, usually with women much younger… I know the younger runners were inspired by the older women who had such a zest for life. Pat was one of our older runners, and the younger women often said that they wanted to be like Pat when they’re older: active, having fun, taking on new challenges, and enjoying life.”
The Training for More running group initially began as a half marathon training group for women, but now women train in all distances walking and/or running from 5K to full marathons. Most recently, TFM has expanded to include other outdoor activities such as bike rides and hiking. For more information about TFM contact coach Andrea Malinowski at email@example.com.
Ray Smith, age 90
Shortly after Zemianek’s age and time was confirmed, Farkas wrote back to Teschek saying, “After learning about Pat Z. it has gotten me thinking about Ray Smith, of Manchester, who is 90 years old, and a 5K walker. He paced 14:33 on the 5K course at our race. Do records exist for walkers?… It would make him SO happy.”
Teschek responded, “Yes, Ray’s time is apparently 11th fastest on the world list for men’s 5K, age 90-94!”
Using a website for reference (www.arrs.net/VetRec.htm ) one can see that there are three men who hold multiple records, so Ray Smith is really up there! In fact he is now the forth man, age 90-94, with a 5K time under 50 minutes, and holds the 11th 5K time to beat 46 minutes. That’s walking, not running!
When Ray Smith learned of his worldwide 5K ranking he was quite surprised, and rather amused. With a smile on his face he said, “No kidding?! I just don’t know what to say!”
Smith, who with his wife Carolyn, has been a long time supporter of the Komen Vermont Race for the Cure, has captained a Race for the Cure team called Ray’s Girls the past few summers. This summer, to celebrate his 90th year, he set a goal of having 90 team members— he ended up with 122 team members and raised more than $11,000.
“I never imagined I would hold a world ranking for walking a 5K. I was never sports oriented,” he said. Ray Smith uses a treadmill in bad weather, but mostly he can be found out for a walk on a track at the nearby rec center.
Smith said he is already thinking about next summer’s race, “Who knows? Maybe I’ll beat this summer’s time!”
Given the discovery of his all-time ranking in his first year of the 90-94 age group, Smith’s times for the Vermont Race for the Cure 5K Walk for the past five years, while in the 85-89 age group, have also been submitted to Ken Young. Young has confirmed that these times for 5K courses are worthy of all-time rankings! Young said, “They have been added to the database and will appear in the next published update which occurs in December of this year.”
Since its first race at Manchester Vermont’s Hildene Meadows, in 1993, the Vermont-New Hampshire Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure has generated more than $9.1 million, 75 percent of which stayed in the two-state region. That means that more than $6.8 million was devoted to breast cancer education, screening and treatment programs in Vermont and New Hampshire; the remaining 25 percent, more than $2.3 million, helped support Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s national research program. For more information visit komenvtnh.org.
By Linda Maness
Ray Smith’s recent 5K walk at the Komen Vermont Race for the Cure held July 23 in Manchester has earned him 11th place on the all-time male 5K list for age group 90-94.