Wreaths Across America big winner at Gardnerville 5K | RecordCourier.com

Wreaths Across America big winner at Gardnerville 5K

by Erick Studenicka
Special to The R-C
The podium for the annual Gardnerville Freedom Run included from right:
Erick Studenicka

Todd Rose, 46, of San Francisco, and Lyndsey Bednar, 35, of Zephyr Cove, emerged as the men’s and women’s individual winners in Gardnerville’s annual Freedom 5-kilometer Run/Walk on July 4, but the overall winner proved to the Wreaths Across America program.

According to Debbi Lehr, the executive director of race-host Main Street Gardnerville, the portion of the registration fees from Thursday’s record number of 186 participants in the run will fund 62 wreaths to be placed at the graves of fallen Soldiers buried in Gardnerville’s Garden Cemetery. Wreaths Across America is an organization that remembers, honors and teaches about the contributions of veterans through wreath-laying ceremonies at cemeteries across the nation.

Last year’s race drew 113 entrants.

Rose, who ran collegiately at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania, pulled away from second-place finisher James Nair, 17, after about a mile. Rose timed himself in about 17 minutes, 10 seconds (most runners agreed the display clock at the finish line was about 40 seconds too fast.) Nair said his time was about 17:59.

Both were substantially faster than Anthony Cupaiuolo’s winning time of 21:46 last year.

Bednar, who teaches at Gardnerville Elementary School, was not far behind the leading men, as she covered the 3.1-mile course in 19:51. She said she was preparing for some big races this fall, including the Cal International Marathon in Folsom, Calif., in December.

Rose, a member of the West Valley Track Club based in San Francisco, said his big race this autumn would be at the National Club Cross Country Championship race in Bethlehem, Penn. In 2017, Rose finished 12th in the nation in cross country running in the men’s master division (40 years plus).

Nair, a recent graduate of Pioneer High in Carson City, said he plans to continue focusing on races that include obstacles such as the Spartan and Tough Mudder races.