Kim Nedeau surprises, wins women’s division at 41st Bridge of Flowers 8K

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  • Men’s winner Louis Serafini, of Somerville, crosses the finish line with a first place time of 24:25 during the 41st Bridge of Flowers Road Race Classic on Saturday morning in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Women’s winner Kim Nedeau crosses the finish line with time of 29:29 during the 41st Bridge of Flowers Road Race Classic on Saturday morning in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Runners make their way up Bridge Street at the beginning of the 41st Bridge of Flowers Road Race Classic on Saturday morning in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Runners make their way up Bridge Street at the beginning of the 41st Bridge of Flowers Road Race Classic on Saturday morning in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Meghan Davis makes her way across the Iron Bridge during the 41st Bridge of Flowers Road Race Classic on Saturday morning in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • A spectator high fives David West as he crosses the Iron Bridge during the 41st Bridge of Flowers Road Race Classic on Saturday morning in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Shelburne Falls’ Dominic Vellucci competes with stroller in tow during the 41st Bridge of Flowers Road Race Classic on Saturday morning in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Davis Bates of Shelburne Falls competes in the 41st Bridge of Flowers Road Race Classic on Saturday morning in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Runners sprint to the finish during the 41st Bridge of Flowers Road Race Classic on Saturday morning in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Erica Liebermann, left, and Barrett Liebermann sprint to the finish during the 41st Bridge of Flowers Road Race Classic on Saturday morning in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Runners make their way across the Iron Bridge during the 41st Bridge of Flowers Road Race Classic on Saturday morning in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Runners make their way down Main Street during the 41st Bridge of Flowers Road Race Classic on Saturday morning in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Men’s winner Louis Serafini, of Somerville, crosses the finish line during the 41st Bridge of Flowers Road Race Classic on Saturday morning in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Men’s winner Louis Serafini, of Somerville, crosses the finish line during the 41st Bridge of Flowers Road Race Classic on Saturday morning in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Men’s winner Louis Serafini, of Somerville, leads the pack at the start of the race en route to a first place finish during the 41st Bridge of Flowers Road Race Classic on Saturday morning in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Runners gather at the starting line on the Iron Bridge during the 41st Bridge of Flowers Road Race Classic on Saturday morning in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Runners flood through Bridge Street at the beginning of the 41st Bridge of Flowers Road Race Classic on Saturday morning in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 8/11/2019 8:06:35 PM

SHELBURNE FALLS — Leverett resident Kim Nedeau got the chance to cross the Bridge of Flowers Road Race off her bucket list on Saturday.

Nedeau has always wanted to run the race, but something always got in the way. She was able to do it this year though, and signed up for the 41st edition on Wednesday.

Her performance came as a surprise.

The 40-year-old buzzed through the 8-kilometer course, but trailed Jenna Gigliotti, of Amherst, after Crittenden Hill. With Gigliotti, 26, just ahead, Nedeau made her move.

“Jenna was leading and I didn’t gain on her but I got her on the downhill,” Nedeau said. “Every time I came up on her it put a little fire under her and she would pick it up. Maybe (three-quarters of a mile) to go I had this mantra and I kept saying ‘Compete, compete, compete,’ and I kept looking at her to see if I could make my move and see if I could get her. I felt mentally tough today.”

Nedeau passed Gigliotti near the finish line, coming across in 29 minutes, 29 seconds to win the women’s division. That edged the Amherst resident by two seconds and was a surprise to Nedeau.

“It was unexpected but I’m super happy,” Nedeau said. “I just turned 40 so I feel awesome. I totally shocked myself. I can’t believe it. That was never the goal. My goal was to win (the) 40-plus (division).”

A member of the Western Mass. Distance Project, Nedeau had always wanted to give the Bridge of Flowers a try, but never had the opportunity to run the race.

She was feeling good this week, and decided to give it a go.

“It’s always been on my bucket list,” Nedeau said. “Every year, I’ve had something that’s kept me from racing. Last year, I joined Western Mass. Distance Project and it’s an important race for them so I wanted to make every effort to be here and help out the team.”

A one-time member of the U.S. Mountain Running Team, Nedeau is known for being a strong hill runner; she finished third at this year’s 7.6-mile Mount Washington Auto Road Race.

Being a mountain runner, she was able to get through the grinding hills of the Bridge of Flowers with energy left in the tank, allowing her to put it in another gear on the final leg of the course to earn the victory.

“I never run fast because I’m a mountain runner,” Nedeau said. “All of that is off mountain training, just uphill work. This feels so easy compared to running uphill. Uphill running is a full body pain and road racing just doesn’t have the same feeling. It felt different. I ran my hardest and I was hurting bad at the end but it’s a different kind of hurt than uphill racing.”

Following Gigliotti across the line was Hannah Rowe, of Boston, who finished third in 30:04. Laura Paulsen, of Brookline, came in fourth (30:13) and Karen Bertasso, a previous Bridge of Flowers winner, came in fifth (30:23).

The rest of the women’s top 10 was comprised of Haverhill’s Jaclyn Solimine (30:25), Arlington’s Kaitlin Sheedy (30:41), Princeton’s Colleen Sands (30:41), Allston’s Emily Waligurski (30:42) and 18-year-old Mohawk Trail graduate Meghan Davis (31:01) of Plainfield.

Louis Serafini separated himself from the deep and talented men’s field.

After the sound of the opening gun went off, the Somerville resident got out to an early lead and never looked back, leading the race in its entirety and finishing with a course record 24:25. That smashed the previous record of 25:13 set by Amos Sang during last year’s inaugural 8K.

“I got out fast,” Serafini said. “I was comfortable and made sure I had a good buffer. (Breaking the record) was one of the goals. I was happy to be so far under it. I thought low 24s today on a good day. I was pleased.”

The 27-year-old kept a 4:55 per mile pace throughout the 8K. His lead grew as he took the first turn, and he was moving so fast that at one time he passed the media truck that was meant to stay in front of the leader.

His lead grew as he rounded the corner nearest the finish line, and when he got to Crittenden Hill, he had pulled so far ahead that when he looked back to see where he stood in comparison to his competition, there was no one in sight.

“I was checking to see if I had anyone near me,” Serafini said. “The goal was the get to the top of the hill with as big of a lead as possible. I felt good at that point. It was hard to see how much of a lead I had but at that point, I was nervous my legs wouldn’t come back after the uphill. Once they started to feel good again I knew I was in good shape.”

Even for an experienced runner like Serafini, the course’s daunting hills were a challenge.

“I did not think the hill was going to be as bad as it was,” Serafini said. “It was pretty terrible.”

After completing the hilly portion of the race, Serafini dashed past runners of the 3K charity race, which started an hour earlier. He passed spectators playing the triangle and drums and zipped into the finish line, finishing well ahead of runner-up Patrick Gregory of Brookline. Gregory crossed in 25:08.

Following Gregory was William Sanders of Wethersfield, Connecticut, with a time of 25:25. Ruben Sanca, of Andover, was fourth (25:31) and Benjamin Groleau, of Framingham, was fifth (25:31).

Rounding out the top 10 on the men’s side were Eric Ashe (25:47) and Michael Carlone (25:47) of Boston, Hadley native Brad Mish (25:56), defending champion Sang (25:56) and Bronson Venable (26:00) of Warwick, Rhode Island.

Top local runners in 8K age groups

Female 13-15

2. Paloma Hsiao-Shelton, Plainfield, 42:03

4. Sadie Ross, Deerfield, 45:02

Female 16-18

1. Meghan Davis, Plainfield, 30:59

3. Jillian Kowal, Southampton, 35:39

7. Linnea Zimmer, Northampton, 49:03

Female 19-39

1. Jenna Gigliotti, Amherst, 29:31

Female 40-44

1. Kim Nedeau, Leverett, 29:29

7. Liz Lierman, Florence, 37:42

Female 55-59

5. Nancy E. Cook, Belchertown, 37:50

Female 60-64

5. Sidney Letendre, Florence, 40:38

Female 65-69

5. Suzanne Welch, Westhampton, 46:53

Female 70-79

6. Barbara Ruchames, Northampton, 56:56

Men 1-12

2. Adrien Pazmandy, Conway, 1:01:50

Men 13-15

2. Jonathan Hanscom, Hadley, 33:01

3. Owen Zinn-Keane, sunderland, 33:04

Men 16-18

4. Owen Taravella, Hadley, 32:23

7. Ezra David, Northampton, 34:27

8. Guy Rile-Lesure, Ashfield, 35:01

Men 19-39

9. Brad Mish, Hadley, 25:56

Men 40-44

4. Immanuel Wineman, Northampton, 29:02

10. Matthew Rattigan, Florence, 34:25

Men 45-49

2. Donal O’Sullivan, Leeds, 29:45

8. Edward Parrot, Amherst, 31:53

Men 50-54

6. Ronald Jacobs, Amherst, 31:07

9. Chris Gould, Pelham, 32:40

Men 60-64

7. Edward Appel, Leverett, 37:03

8. Brian Pickell, Leverett, 37:17

10. Jeff Mish, Hadley, 38:06

Men 65-69

2. David Theoharides, South Deerfield, 37:52

5. Mike Murphy, Florence, 39:34

9. Rick Scott, Pelham, 43:27

Men 70-79

2. Jim Reis, Northampton, 41:04




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