By Ryan Lacey
Former Westport resident Adam Mulia spent last week's 8.4 mile Road Runners Series race pushing his 18 month old son in a stroller. Mulia, now of Brooklyn (N.Y.), still crossed the finish line in fifth place.
On his own this week, Mulia finished first in the ninth series race of the summer on Saturday, completing the 9.3 mile distance in 54:03. Westport's Tom Harding (58:48) finished in second place, nearly five minutes behind Mulia.
"I didn't have anyone pushing me, so I just did what I could," Mulia said. "It was good; not too humid or hot. I love the hills because it's good strength work; it's a good after-race group and it's fun."
Wilton's Mary Zengo, with a time of 1:00:14, was the first woman to cross the line. Her time was fifth best overall. The race started and finished at Compo Beach.
Mulia, who won the event in 2010 and 2012, grew up in Westport before moving to Brooklyn. Mulia attended Staples for his freshman year before heading to boarding school.
Mulia, 38, is currently training for November's New York City Marathon and is unsure whether or not he will participate in the 10-mile Labor Day weekend race next week.
A mishap possibly cost Zengo an even better time. Several of the top runners missed a turn on the course, resulting in confusion. Once Zengo crossed the finish line, she ran an additional 1.33 miles to meet the required distance.
"I didn't see the arrow," Zengo said. "I was determined to run under 6:20 pace; I wasn't even paying attention. I thought I had it. No complaints though."
Zengo believed she was on track to breaking her own record in the event -- 58:50 in 2013 -- before the mistake.
"Somehow the guy in front of me missed the course, so I missed the course," Zengo said. "I was on the course record; someone he went the wrong way so I ran the extra 1.3. I knew Laddie would count the time; I'm bummed because I think I would have broken (the record) again."
Wilton High incoming senior Spencer Brown placed third with a time of 59:25. Another Westport resident, Nicholas Avello (59:56), finished fourth. Kristin Curran, of Fairfield, was the second woman to cross the finish line with a time of 1:00:22.
The final race of the series takes place next Saturday at 8 a.m. Mulia and Harding finished 1-2 in the event in 2012. 169 runners completed the event last year. The race starts and ends at Staples High School.