Sports

A first on the fourth for Waltham’s Shawn Wallace in Lynnfield road race

Shawn Wallace of Waltham took home victory in the 51st Annual Lynnfield Athletic Association 4th of July road race while pushing 1-year-old Brennen in a stroller. (Item Photo by Spenser R. Hasak)

LYNNFIELD — It was only a matter of time before someone finally broke through and did something that has never been done before in the Lynnfield Athletic Association Fourth of July 5K road race.

That “something'” was winning the race while pushing a baby stroller.  That “someone” who did it was Waltham’s Shawn Wallace, who accomplished the feat Wednesday at the 51st annual event, finishing in 16:44 all the while pushing his 13-month-old son Brennen in a 25-plus-pound stroller.  He finished 14 seconds ahead of runner-up Dan O’Flynn of Ipswich.

“It was hot, but thankfully a lot of the course is in the shade,” said Wallace, whose older brother is Lynnfield High cross country and track coach Bill Wallace (who finished  second in the men’s age 40-49 division and 23rd overall in 21:06).

“He (O’Flynn) is a good runner, but I caught him with about a half mile to go,” Shawn Wallace said.  “I grew up running this race, but it’s still tough to try to train for a race like this with a stroller.  Running with my son definitely propelled me along the way.”

This isn’t the first time Wallace has run the race in tandem.  In 2014, he bolted down the homestretch and came within three seconds of overtaking winner Tom O’Shea.  That time, however, involved a little more effort as he was pushing his five-and-a half year-old son, Owen.

“I was pushing a lot more weight then,” he said.  “The hardest part of it is you can’t use your arms so it’s definitely harder.”

Lynnfield’s top finisher was 13-year-old Nathan Lopez, who took advantage of his baseball team’s Little League District 16 holiday break to compete.  He won the male 11-14 division and placed fourth overall in 17:52.

Lynnfield’s top female performer was Amy Lamarche, who won the female 50-59 division and placed 50th overall in 23:07.

Other Lynnfield age group winners were Luke Vaccaro, men’s 1-10 (30:07);  Kellie Burke, female 30-39 (23:35); John Langton, male 50-59 (21:27); and Chuck Moccia, male 60-69 (24:32).

Lynnfield school committee member Richard Sjoberg was one of several participants to compete in the new virtual race.

“It’s a great way to support the cause and I even posted several pictures on Facebook,” Sjoberg said smiling.  “It’s been a great day all around.”

Sjoberg’s wife Maria competed in the actual race.

“I started training three days ago,” she laughed.  “But I finished, so I’m happy about that.”

Race organizer Andrea Braconnier said this was one of the best turnouts she has seen.

“We had 361 participants and I think that could be the most runners we have ever had,” she said.  “It was hot, but we had plenty of hoses and water stations throughout the course, so we didn’t really have any problems.”

Proceeds from this year event will benefit the new Lynnfield Middle School track facility currently under construction.

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