Teen takeover: 16-year-old wins 3.6-mile Tree Run

STILL POND — It would appear that the baton has been passed to the next generation of Tree Runners as the first four place-finishers — including the fastest male and female competitors — in the April 6 race were 16 or younger.

In the field of 43, three of the finishers were 9 years old and seven others were between the ages of 10 and 18.

Aidan Falstad, 16, of Millington toured the 3.6-mile course from the four corners in Still Pond to the beach in Betterton in 25 minutes, 4 seconds.

His closest challenger was 10-year-old Gavin Arnel of Boonsboro in 29:23.

Toby Kirk of Ruther Glen, Virginia, also 10, was just 20 seconds behind Arnel. He is the grandson of former Betterton mayor Carolyn Sorge.

Then came 14-year-old Mia Nordhoff, whose family owns a home in Rock Hall, as the first female to finish — and fourth overall — in 30:47.

Marti Stuedle of Chestertown, the 2023 female winner, was the second female to finish, and seventh overall, in 31:30.

For the second year in a row, Stuedle was followed across the line by Denise Woodard, also of Chestertown, in 32:21.

What was it like on race day?

“The weather was dry and the sun kept trying. The wind was memorable!” longtime race director Susan Conaghan told The Evening Enterprise in an email.

This was the 36th edition of the Tree Run, which celebrates the arrival of spring and Arbor Day.

There was a three-way tie for youngest finisher — Maedyn Lee, Alex Straub and Cambel Metz — all 9 years old.

In 2022 and ’23, Lee was the youngest.

Dennis Guard Sr., 85, a Tree Run regular, repeated as the oldest.

Pam Ciganek was first among walkers, and 32nd overall.

Betterton Mayor Donny Sutton dropped the “flag” to start the race at 10 a.m., as is tradition. Kent County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Betterton Volunteer Fire Company first-responders provided an escort along the route, “leading and tailing the runners,” Conaghan reported

Volunteers with the Betterton Community Development Corporation opened up town hall to offer refreshments at the race’s conclusion.

The Peoples Bank, Echo Hill Outdoor School and Echo Hill Camp sponsored the race.

Trees purchased from Unity Nursery of Church Hill were presented to the first-, second- and third-place male and female finishers as well as the youngest and oldest runners and the top walker.

Becky Glenn and Conaghan’s family assisted at the start and finish, as has been the practice for as long as Conaghan has been the race director. This year there was an extra set of hands at the finish line in the person of Mayor Sutton.

Any related posts will be listed here:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content