Time to lace up those running shoes.
Among 3,521 finishers at the Fairfield Half Marathon on Sunday were many Darien and New Canaan runners. The 32nd annual 13.1-mile race, sponsored by Stratton Faxon and hosted by the Fairfield Firefighters to benefit numerous charities featured two top-100 runners and several solid finishers among the top few hundred from Darien, and one top-100 and many more strong competitors from New Canaan.
The heat in the air and hills on the course, which started and finished at Jennings Beach, make for a difficult run and change of pace for those accustomed to flat races.
"That's what's so good about it. It's a challenging race," said Darien's Alan Hagander, a Stamford firefighter, who is part of a running team along with his coworkers and was among the top runners Sunday.
Hagander, who first got involved in running a handful of years ago as a way to stay in shape for his job, says he averages around 60 miles per week in preparation for big races
Darien's top finisher was Jeffrey Zarrilli, 31, who was 39th in a time of 1:24.56, a 6:29 pace. Hagander, 41, came in 65th in 1:28.03. Megan Keane, 18, also of Darien, was 145th in 1:34.17. Keane won the female 14-19 year old age category
Larry Ikrod, 37, was New Canaan's best finisher. He came across the line in 1:29.48, good for 83rd overall.
The race was won by Tesfaye Girma, 29, who edged out fellow Ethiopian Ketema Nigusse, 31. Their times were 1:05.37 and 1:05.38, making for a bang-bang finish.
The following Darien runners were among the first 1,000 finishers: Guy Riegel, 55, came across the finish in a time of 1:34.46; Peter Pfister, 52, finished in a time of 1:37.03; Carl Pombar, 39, completed the race in 1:38.23; William Ozanne, 33, finished in 1:39.46; Hadley Riegel, 21, completed the run in 1:41.53; Meredith Pfister, 23, came across in 1:43.25; Andrew Wright finished in 1:44.32; K.C. Ambrecht, 37, finished in 1:44.22; C. Emel (first name not reported in the results) finished in 1:44.41; Stephanie Collins, 28, wrapped up the race in 1:47.44; Kevin Lloyd, 59, finished in 1:52.01; Ken Ehrhard, 43, completed the course in 1:54.28; Alexandra Vierling, 15, ran the race in 1:53.37; William Homes, 42, finished in 1:55.16; and Steve Morrissey, 40, finished in 1:55.17.
"It's a lot of fun. It's a tough time of year because it tends to be warm," said Peter Pfister, adding that the field lucked out with not-so-humid conditions this time around.
Pfister has run the Fairfield race four times and completed several other half and full marathons. He added that he was proud of his daughter, Meredith, for completing the half marathon as well.
The following New Canaan runners were among the first 1,000 finishers: Michael Nurzia, 41, finished in 1:38.39; Courtney Dekanter, 35, finished in 1:43.32; Ryan Lynn, 30, completed the course in 1:42.28; Emily Merritt, 39, came across in 1:46.48; Paula Muller, 41, completed the course in 1:47.02; Giuliano Pagani, 41, finished in 1:47.18; Douglas Parker, 44, was done in 1:48.09; Michael Buscher, 61, completed the race in 1:52.30; Andrea Williamson-Hughes, 57, finished in 1:53.25; Anne Matviak, 39, finished in 1:54.19; and Phil Schoonmaker, 39, came across in 1:54.10.
For full results, visit www.jbsports.com.