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Runners Meet Challenge at Cranbury

Tim Milenkevich has won 11 races this year at various distances. Sunday's victory in the Cranbury Park Challenge was one of the hardest, even though the Norwalk race was one of the shortest.

Milenkevich, 28, covered the 5-kilometer trail run in 20:47. His time was about four minutes slower than his usual time for the 3.1 mile distance as he navigated his way through difficult terrain. There were tree limbs, rocks, roots and a stream that forced runners to tread carefully.

"It's rugged for sure,'' said the Shelton resident. "But I liked it. It's an adventure."

Paul Greenberg of Westport finished second in 21:48 and Uri Volkov of Brooklyn took third in 21:53. Trumbull's Gena Deribeux won the women's race in 29:11, followed by Westport's Ashleigh Myer in 29:30 and Norwalk's Cara Chaplik in 31:16.

Trail racing is unique in Fairfield County because there are few venues suitable to host an event. There are few trails nearby and hardly any offer parking, rest rooms and other amenities for runners. Race director Dom Gillen used virtually the entire park to set up a challenging race.

"That's as fast as you can go,'' Milenkevich said. "Every 25 meters you're climbing under a tree or jumping over a log. Once you get out on the course there's even a little stream that you have to almost jump over. It was kind of like a steeplechase."

"We didn't mess around,'' Gillen said. "It's a tough course." Target Training of Westport hosted the race, which is in its third year. Though there were fewer runners than last year, Gillen was happy with the turnout. The race also included a kids run. "We moved it from last year's date and when that happens you don't know what to expect. The runners enjoyed it and we're happy with the turnout."

Race sponsors included Honda of Westport, Rosenthal Cosmetic Surgery and Skin Care Center , Propper Chiropractic, Two HomeRuns Production Group, Wish List Westport and Balanced Nutritional Consulting, with assistance from Connections Public Relations. Results are available online .

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