GRANTSVILLE – Katie’s 5K race director Norm DeRosa paraphrased running legend Bill Rodgers before the start of Saturday’s jaunt through New Germany State Park when he said running a race was a celebration.

“It is for me,” agreed fellow runner Tony Yurko.

It likely was for many others, too. But for Mike Wagus, Saturday’s run meant a lot more. The 41-year-old Cumberland resident recently lost more than 80 pounds and started walking, then jogging. Katie’s 5K was his first time at the starting line of an organized event. It was a reward, a goal – and maybe a sign of things to come.

Wagus had not only the courage to start, but the determination to finish.

“It’s his first 5K ever,” said Debbie Wagus, his wife, who took photos to mark her husband’s accomplishment and met him at the finish line.

“If you’d have told me six months ago I’d enjoy running this much …” the possible quips are endless, Mike Wagus said.

Wagus is registered to compete in next weekend’s YMCA Triathlon at Rocky Gap State Park and, later this month, the Iron Furnace 5K in Lonaconing. Before then, however, he had plenty of hills in the one-part park roads and one-part trails of Katie’s 5K on which to look back and remember.

Wagus, who works at the Federal Correctional Institution at Mexico Farms, finished 63rd among 85 runners who crossed the finish line of the 3.1-mile event in 29 minutes and 20 seconds.

Frostburg State University track standout Gavin Caupp, 19, moved up five spots from last year’s results to take the 2009 title in 17:35, a time that would have put him in third in 2008.

“I guess I rested a little bit last year,” said Caupp.

Caupp’s effort this time around was 73 seconds faster and, on Saturday, he had little to worry about after the first mile. He loped in a gazelle-like stride exactly 60 seconds ahead of runner-up Ian MacFawn. The 16-year-old Allegany High School junior-to-be fought off Yurko, 46, of Cumberland, 18:35 to 18:43.

The next three runners came in over a four-second gap. Chris DeRosa, 18, of Frostburg, was fourth in 18:46 and Mountain Ridge High School teammate George Hansrote was fifth in 18:46. Cody Brenneman, 16, of Grantsville, was sixth overall in 18:49.

Paula Bridges, 43, of Cumberland, had nearly just as easy a time dispatching her competitors as Caupp did. She finished in 24:33, 59 seconds ahead of second-place Jane Rossi, 44, of Frostburg, who stopped the clock in 25:32.

Emily DeRosa, 22, was third in 25:40 while the next six women finished inside a 36-second span. Jen Thomas, 37, of Cresaptown, was fourth – and 46th overall – in 26:37, while Emily Forman, 15, of Frostburg, was fifth in 27:03. Jennah Durney, 24, of Ridgeley, W.Va., was sixth in 27:07 while Melody Hanna, 25, of Frostburg and Heather Borkoski, 25, of LaVale, each finished in 27:10. Kelsay Twigg, 17, of Frostburg, was the top femalein the 16 to 19 group with a time of 27:13.

Yurko and Rossi won the men’s and women’s masters divisions, respectively. Complete results and more than 500 race-day photos can be viewed online at www.TriStateRunnur.com.

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