Runners air out late '70s wardrobe at Pumpkin Plod

2013-12-02T22:00:00Z 2013-12-03T03:03:06Z Runners air out late '70s wardrobe at Pumpkin PlodJohn Burbridge, (219) 933-3371

HIGHLAND | Alan Dubowski was cleaning out his closet one day, and he came across an old brown shirt dating back 35 years ago.

The good news is it still somewhat fits him.

"It's a little stretched out," said Dubowski, 65, of Lowell. "It must have shrunk a little."

Dubowski's wife smiles and shakes her head.

The shirt is a surviving relic from the 1978 Pumpkin Plod, the third annual Thanksgiving Day race held by the Highland Parks Department — Dubowski's first.

"I raced here several times after," Dubowski said, "but when we moved from Riverdale, I started running more races south of here.

"I didn't even know that they still had this race."

During the 38th running of the race Thursday, Dubowski — dressed in brown —  finished the Plod's first-ever certified 10K course with a time of 1 hour, 2 minutes and 2 seconds.

"Running is something that keeps me off the couch as I don't golf," said Dubowski, who also ran in one of the first Chicago Marathons back when it was called "Mayor Daly's Marathon."

"I still run marathons and half-marathons," Dubowski said. "I'm not getting any faster with age, but about eight years ago I was going at a good pace."

For Dubowski's next race, he'll again have to go into the closet, this time to dig out his Christmas wardrobe.

"They have a Santa Claus race in Crown Point (Dec. 21) where runners dress up as Santa Claus and stuff like that," Dubowski said. "I'm going to run as an elf."

Jacob Baranowski, 20, of Highland, led the 10K field of 667 finishers with a time of 32:25, which was more than three minutes faster than runner-up Tom Bolanowski (35:34).

"I like this distance," said Baranowski, who was a distance runner for Highland and ran a season for Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis before transferring to Indiana University.

"There's a lot more time to make adjustments than just to set yourself at one speed and hope for the best," Baranowski said.

Natalie Goolik, also of Highland, continued her winning ways as the overall female champion with time of 40:30.

"I wanted to come out strong and win this one," said the 25-year-old woman, who was coming off a half-marathon overall victory at the Dawn of the Dunes held at Gary's Marquette Park last month.

"This may be my last (Pumpkin Plod)," said Goolik, who plans to attendSt. George's University in Grenada to study to be a veterinarian. "My mom told me I need to get out of the house, so I might as well go to the Caribbean."

To note, Dubowski's 1978 Pumpkin Plod shirt is not the only still in circulation.

"It's only been washed once," said 41-year-old Chesterton resident Brett Brechner, whose brown shirt also fits him well, though he's not the original owner.

"This is my father's shirt," Brechner said of Ron "Hawk" Brechner. "He was a big runner in the area. He ran this race and even did the Ironman (triathlon). For health reasons, he doesn't run anymore, but he helped get me involved in running and I'm wearing this as a tribute to him."

Brechner finished in the Top 10 of his age group with a time of 49:36.

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