Darien's and New Canaan's athleticism, stamina and speed -- not to mention tolerance for heat -- were well-represented at Norwalk Lightfoot Running Club's five-mile race on Saturday.
Among 160 finishers of the race, which started and finished at Cranbury School, were several Darien and New Canaan residents, including Darien's Jane Ott, 47, who was 30th overall and second in the female 40-49 age category, completing the course in a time of 38:32.
Her daughter, Meredith Ott, 18, was second in the 16-18 age group, coming across the finish line in 42:09.
The race was won by Wilmington, N.C. resident Tom Clifford, 29, who finished in 26:57. All of the race participants had the challenge of overcoming not just fast competitors but also the heat, even at 8 a.m.
Jane Ott likes the early start time not only because it's a cooler, but also because it gives participants an early start to their Saturdays. There are a couple of advantages to running a race versus running on her own, she explained.
"It's nice to have the support of being in a field with a lot of other runners," Jane Ott said. "They're great races. They're very well-organized with water stops. When you go out and run on your own, you don't have the advantage of water stops."
Jane, her husband David Ott, and Meredith all plan to participate during the course of the summer. Meredith will run at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME in the fall, and uses the series as a way to keep up with her running in the offseason.
"It was a very nice run -- a little warm, some nice hills, but it felt good. A lot of shade on the course," said Darien' Bob Mitchell, 48, who participated in his first Lightfoot Runners race and finished in a time of 40:40, good for 44th. "It was pretty tough. I was really happy after two miles. I was a little less happy after three miles," he added with a laugh.
"It's always a relief to do them early in the morning like that," said New Canaan's Mike Holland, who has participated in the Lightfoot series for many years. Holland, 67, finished Saturday's five-miler in a time of 46:57, good for 98th. He was fifth among just 10 men in the 60-69 age group to compete in the race.
New Canaan's Jason McCaughey, 36, Jocelyn Wietfeldt, 44, and Tom Baldwin, 57, also ran the race. Darien's Dejan Tornjanski, 29, finished the race in 41st in a time of 40:26. Darien's Milica Tornjanski, 23, and Lee Robbins, 38, also ran the race on Saturday.
Holland credited race director Don Capone for putting on a well-run event, as always.
The next race in the series is a seven-mile run beginning at Brien McMahon High School on July 14.
The six-race series features increased distances with each competition, culminating with a half marathon on Sept. 15.
Visit www.lightfootrunners.com for information.