Mike Darnell was not expecting to be running the St. Peter’s Fiesta 5k Road Race when he made the trip from Brooklyn, New York, to Gloucester.
In town with his girlfriend to visit her sister, who lives in the city, Darnell, 24, had no idea the race even existed until Thursday, when he decided to sign up and compete.
The former Molloy College runner not only competed in Thursday’s race, he ended up winning with a time of 15:27, ahead of Gloucester’s Willy Pierce, who finished with a time of 15:49.
“I’m here visiting for the week and saw there was a road race going on today so I decided to sign up,” Darnell said. “It was a great atmosphere. It was awesome having all these people on each side cheering you on.”
On the women’s side, it was a local that took home the grand prize as Manchester’s Fiona Davis, a recent Harvard graduate who competed for the Manchester Essex cross country and Gloucester co-op track and field program as a high school student, won with a time of 18:34.
“I was so excited to come back and run Fiesta this year after graduating,” said Davis, 22. “It’s such a great race with a great community vibe and you can’t beat the crowd and the atmosphere.”
It was a wire-to-wire win for Darnell, who was already in the lead, with Pierce hot on his trail as the runners made the bend onto Rogers Street in front of St. Peter’s Square.
With the lead, Darnell just kept his head down and ran his race.
“I kept hearing people cheering (Pierce’s) name,” he said. “So I knew he was right behind me and I had to push.”
Last year’s winner, Dan Chruniak of Beverly, finished third with a time of 16:10 followed by Gloucester’s Andrew Ryan (16:17).
Davis’ win was also a wire-to-wire victory as she won by 83 seconds as Gloucester’s Tina Dowling placed second with a time of 19:57.
“I know there are so many great runners in the area so I wanted to go as hard as I could,” Davis said. “I think I was a little lucky that some of the great women runners in the area took a bye week. But I was really happy with the way I ran and it was my goal to win.”
2018 St. Peter's Fiesta 5k Road Race Results
Name Age City/Town Time
1. Mike Darnell 24 Brookly, NY 15:27
2. Willy Pierce 21 Gloucester 15:49
3. Dan Chruniak 34 Beverly 16:10
4. Andrew Ryan 26 Gloucester 16:17
5. Jarret Harrigan 25 Ipswich 16:34
6. Dan Grimm 27 Gloucester 16:37
7. Dan O'Flynn 24 Ipswich 17:00
8. Tyler Levy 27 Gloucester 17:25
9. Erich O'Neil 26 North Andover 17:26
10. Jonah Hulbert 38 Marblehead 17:43
Name Age City/Town Time
1. Fiona Davis 22 Manchester 18:34
2. Tina Dowling 52 Gloucester 19:57
3. Caitlin Breen 26 Williston, NY 20:33
4. Eve Feuerbach 17 Manchester 20:43
5. Shea Campbell 26 Winthrop 21:33
6. Suzanne Chares 36 Boston 21:45
7. Kristina Simon 34 Gloucester 21:56
8. Tess Destino 21 Gloucester 22:02
9. Olivia Turner 15 Manchester 22:04
10. Laura Jones 38 Rockport 22:30