Road Warriors

Two runners earned $6,000 for winning the 28th annual Ottawa Race Weekend’s 10k. One was the men’s champion, 2011 Boston Marathon winner Geoffrey Mutai, who Let’s Run called “the best runner on the planet in 2011.” The other? Former Harvard standout Lindsey Scherf who held off two Ethiopians for a 22-second victory.

The win even surprised Scherf herself. “I didn’t expect to win,” she told the Ottawa Citizen. “I was hoping for a top-three finish.

“I took a chance going hard for the first two kilometers. They followed, but they were hurt, and then I settled into my pace. By taking it out hard in the heat and humidity, that played to my favor. I know they’re fit and faster, but that was the best strategy for me and it worked out.”

Looks like Scherf is on the road racing scene for good.

She actually wasn’t the only weekend Heps’ alumni champion as former Yalie Jeff Perrella won the Spring Lake Five — a classic five-mile race along the Jersey seaside which draws 10,000 participants. Perrella was an NCAA Cross Country qualifier as a senior for the Bulldogs and considers himself “more a cross country guy than a track guy.”

Elliott Denman of takes it from there:

Perrella was one of a seven-man lead pack through the first mile and two-mile, in 4:51 and 9:57.  Soon, the lead group was just three, Perella along with Craig Segal of Highlands and Tim Mulligan of Manchester Township. They went through the three-mile clock in 15 flat, before Perrella started surging ahead.

By mile four, at 20:03, he was on his own, and cruised home comfortably. Segal clocked in at 25:34 and Mulligan 25:50. “Craig was feeling the heat a little bit by that time,” said Perrella, “I just tried to hold him off as long as I could.”

It took the urging of his uncle (Ralph Caiazzo of Westfield) to get Perrella to the starting line. “He’s run this race every year since 1983 and always told me how great it was … so I finally got a chance to make it here.

“Guys up front like me don’t usually run before the big crowds like they have here.  The course was great, there were no potholes, the footing was excellent. I cannot complain.”

In real life, Perrella teaches physical education at the North Star Academy in Newark, through the Teach for America program.

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