By Lauren DiTullio
The Patriot Ledger
Posted Mar 18, 2012 @ 03:52 PM
Last update Mar 18, 2012 @ 05:23 PM
Runners and spectators lined the sidewalk of Coddington St. as music pumped from tall speakers Sunday morning.
The day after St. Patrick’s Day, some 1600 runners and their supporters came out for the third annual Half of Quincy road race. The annual half marathon route starts at Quincy High School and winds around historic sites in downtown Quincy and near the beach before finishing up where it started.
1,371 runners finished the half marathon. Pat Benson, of Somerville, finished first with a time of 1:13:44, which was 33 seconds behind last year’s winner. Overall, the top five runners finished a minute faster than last year.
Justin Renz, of Milton, finished fifth overall with a time of 1:17:38. A Boston Marathon runner, he said he normally runs the half marathon in New Bedford, but this year he chose Quincy because he prefers the course.
“I knew I could control my pace better here,” he said.
He also appreciates that the race is close by, he said.
“I was able to tell my wife … I’ll probably be home by the time I’d just be starting in New Bedford.”
The winner of the 5K race was Brendan Kearney, of Cambridge, with a time of 17:35.
Race director JJ Larner said he thought the day was a success.
“I think it was great, a lot of happy faces, a lot of smiles. I think all of the runners enjoyed it,” Larner said.
The field of runners was more than twice the size of last year’s, a testament to the race’s growing popularity. Larner said the team of volunteers from local high schools and the good weather for the second year in a row has a lot to do with the race’s appeal.