Tonawanda News —
It took North Tonawanda's Alex Farrell eight tries, but on Sunday the 22-year-old former Lumberjack finally broke through and crossed the finish line first in the annual "Tim Frank Memorial" 4-miler race to kick off Canal Fest week.
Farrell ran the race in 22:36, becoming the first Sunday champion in the race's history.
Despite the extremely hot weather, Farrell said he was thrilled to win his hometown race.
"I didn't run my best time but I'm happy with how I did," he said. "I trained hard for it this summer and I've always wanted to win it because it's the hometown race. It's a good feeling. I'm happy I finally won."
Ontario's Karley Rempel broke the women's NT course record — the race took place on the NT side of the Delaware Street bridge at Sweeney Street — and finished first in the female division with a time of 24:14.
Race director Jeff Hardy, who attended Tonawanda High School, said both winners ran excellent races. He gave Farrell credit but also had a bit of fun with the former Jack.
"I didn't know he was from NT originally," Hardy said. "Being from Tonawanda I razzed him a bit afterward, and told him someone from NT couldn't have the trophy. But it was good to see. He ran a real good time. Even more surprising was the first woman who came across. She finished third overall and set a new course record."
Farrell led the pack for virtually the whole race and said his confidence grew with each stride. His parents were in attendance to watch him run to victory, and he said that he hopes to compete in the race for a long time to come, even if he has to leave the area.