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Great 4th of July Race draws a crowd ready to ramble

With a “Ready, set, go” from race director Mike Thornton, 175 runners sprinted past the Bromfield School on the first leg of this year’s 5-mile Great Harvard 4th of July Road Race.

The Sunday morning event was nearly canceled as rain threatened to drench participants, but Thornton and the organizers decided Saturday to proceed, and, with overcast skies and temperatures hovering below 60 degrees, conditions couldn’t have been better.

Nick Rindenello of Harvard was the overall winner, with a time of 28 minutes 16 seconds (men’s course record: 22:47). The Bromfield graduate was running his 14th race. It was humid, he said, “but the conditions are probably the best we’ve had.”

Erika Szczechowski of Martinsville, Indiana, a graduate student at Boston College, was the fastest woman, with a time of 32:38 (women’s course record: 29:42). “It was better not knowing the course ahead of time,” she said, noting the steep hills on the backside of the race. Her soundtrack for the final sprint to the finish line: “All I Do Is Win,” by DJ Khaled.

Runners chased a white Dodge Ram pickup driven by Jen Schoenberg. Timing was provided by Jason Bui of New England Timing, which has posted race results at its web site (

The 1.07-mile fun run got underway at 9:30 a.m. at the entrance to the Bromfield School. Ben McWaters of Harvard was the winner with a time of 6:56, apparently unphased by having run the 5-mile race an hour earlier. “It was his cool-down run,” quipped a bystander. The fastest girl was Saya Dion of Devens with a time of 8:20. The race drew 43 runners. 

The Great Harvard 4th of July Race is organized each year by The Harvard Road Race Association, but was canceled in 2020 because of COVID restrictions. The organization donates race proceeds to high school sports teams, the Council on Aging, and local charities such as Loaves & Fishes. Four years ago, member John Lee told the Press, the association bought new uniforms for the girls lacrosse team.

5-Mile Race Results           1-Mile Fun Run Results


From left: 5-mile first place finisher Nick Rindenello; Jenn Russo, first female finisher from Harvard, and Roy van Cleef, second place finisher. (Photos by Jen Manell)

From left: Fun Run first-place finisher Ben McWaters; Saya Dion, first girl to finish; and Graham Binnick, 2nd place finisher.

Robby Derse (365) cruises to the finish along with Lauren Derse (368) and Elizabeth Crook (369).. 

Rosalind and Cole Bailey approach the finish line. 

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