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Record Crowd Runs in Boston Buildup Opener

NORWALK, Conn. – A record number of runners hit the streets of Norwalk in ideal conditions for the opening leg of the Boston Buildup XXXIV Winter Series Sunday morning at Brien McMahon High School.

A total of 418 runners crossed the finish line in the 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) race. The times were fast, too, as Eric McKnight of Newtown won in 31:48, the second-fastest time in the race’s long history. Only Mike Cotton’s time of 31:01, set in 1981, was faster.

The 2011 winner Matt Klein of Trumbull followed him across the finish line in 32:07, while Geoff Nelson of New Fairfield took third in 32:31. Anja Krieger-Redwood of Cos Cob won the women’s division in 38:14. Liz Herbert of Darien was second in 38:48, followed by Julie Heaphy of Norwalk in 39:30.

The number of finishers eclipsed the previous record of 362, which was set last year. The popularity of the venerable series continues to explode. Just six years ago, 250 runners finished the race, and 165 runners finished in 2000. The totals have been on an upward trend since, especially for the 10k.

The series also includes a 15K, 20K and 25K. Most of the runners use the races as tune-ups for longer spring races, particularly the Boston Marathon in April. The next race is the 15K on Jan. 22 at Scotland Elementary School in Ridgefield.

During Sunday’s race, some runners lost several minutes to assist an elderly woman who lives along the race route. The woman slipped while walking in her driveway. Several runners, including Dr. Ann Williams, tended to the woman until emergency personnel arrived. Complete results are available online .

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