Venable claims Arnold Mills victory

Venable claims Arnold Mills victory

Runners answer the starter’s gun at last Thursday morning’s 51st annual Arnold Mills Road Race in Cumberland. The winner was Warwick’s Bronson Venable (center, #378), who won the race in a time of 20:07.74. Former winners and Cumberland natives Chris Magill (left, #617) and Trevor Crawley (center, #351) were also among the field, as were former Cumberland High and current collegiate runners Will Mardo (right, #170) and Ben Drezek (right, #61). (Breeze photos by Kayla Panu)
Warwick runner tops field of 525 with 20:07.74 time; Marino returns to Cumberland to win women’s title

CUMBERLAND – It was a humid Fourth of July last Thursday morning, but that didn’t prevent Warwick road racing standout and Bishop Hendricken alum Bronson Venable from capturing his second Arnold Mills Road Race championship, doing so in a time of 20:07.74 that topped a field of 525 finishers.

The victory gave Venable, who last won the race during his Hendricken days in 2008, his third win at a Rhode Island road race in the past 26 days – he also claimed Cranston’s Gaspee Days 5K on June 8 and North Kingstown’s Matty’s Run 5K the following weekend – fourth if you count his first-place finish at the Ice Cream 5K on June 22 in Norwood, Mass.

As for last Thursday’s race, “I ran a little slower than I wanted to,” Venable said. “I know I went through three miles at a 4:55 pace, but that last little hill (on the fourth mile) kind of put a hurting on me.”

Last year’s winner, former Cumberland High All-Stater and Providence College runner Trevor Crawley, ended up in fifth place in fifth with a time of 20:52.36, and finishing between Venable and Crawley were another former CHS standout, Bobby Hartnett (20:42.91), St. Raphael Academy senior-to-be Nasavell Medeiros (20:49.71) and veteran Warwick standout Matt Pelletier (20:50.91).

There was plenty of elite competition, so that added to the excitement of the race.

“In the running community, everyone knows everyone, so you get here and see everyone’s faces,” said Venable. “They’re joking and laughing. Obviously, we’re good friends, but as soon as that gun goes off, it’s all seriousness. And then afterward, like now, we’re all joking. But it’s definitely good to win.”

He was cooling down as a friendly runner poured a bottle of water over his head. But Venable’s day was not over, as he went back to pace a few miles. He said he started with a three-mile warmup and knew it was going to be a hot race with everyone sweating.

“I knew everyone was going to take it easy, so I had to go quick,” added Venable, who completed this year’s Boston Marathon in a time of 2:39:36 and plans to run in the Hartford Marathon in October. “As soon as I got to the top of the hill, I kind of tried to put in a surge to try and break everyone up and see how everyone felt.”

Three more former CHS standouts were able to cross the finish line in under 22 minutes and crack the top 10: UMass-Lowell steeplechaser Ben Drezek (8th place, 21:24.99), Assumption College’s Will Mardo (9th, 21:35.54), and Boston Marathon veteran Jason Reilly (10th, 21:42.28).

Cumberland native and La Salle Academy runner Jack Casey also placed 15th in a time of 22:30.85, and Cumberland’s Chris Magill, a six-time winner of the race who is the head cross country and track and field coach at St. Raphael Academy, placed 16th in 22:46.02.

Placing 28th overall, but as the first female finisher was Caitlin Marino, 24, who grew up in Cumberland, but calls Bristol home now. A former state champion on the North Cumberland Middle School girls’ cross country team who continued her career at La Salle Academy, Marino’s winning time was 23:44.88.

“It was awesome,” she said. “People were along the route telling me I was the first female. They were all cheering. It’s real fun camaraderie.”

While some people had to conserve energy because of the heat and humidity, Marino was just fine. She said she went to school in Jacksonville, so she was used to the heat.

“It was awesome,” she said about running the race. “It was a real good race. I just tried to kind of get a good spot in the beginning and work up to a stronger pace at the finish.”

The next female to finish placed 46th, Emma Wall, of Douglas, Mass., in a time of 25:37.98.

Among the age group winners were Cumberland’s Bridget Casey (girls’ 14-under division) and former Arnold Mills women’s champion Selena Scott (women’s 40-49 division).

For the first time in decades, Tom Kenwood wasn’t directing this race. After Kenwood retired from his duties last summer, a committee led by former CHS runner Steve Mazzone, former Arnold Mills champ Jim Dandeneau, and Cumberland Parks & Recreation director Mike Crawley took over the reign.

The women’s winner was Cumberland native Caitlin Marino, who placed 28th overall in a time of 23:44.88. The 24-year-old runner was a former state champion on the North Cumberland Middle School girls’ cross country team who went on to continue her running career at La Salle Academy.