By Vin Sylvia
WAKEFIELD, MA — Married less than a month, John and Rachel (Sorna) Schilkowsky arrived here on Saturday, Dec. 3, looking to sweep first place in a road race for the first time as husband and wife. They’d come close a week earlier, Rachel leading the women’s field in the Norwich (CT) Winterfest 5K while John finished as runner-up among the men.
This time, there was no settling for second place for either Schilkowsky.
On a cold, overcast and breezy afternoon leading up to the Wakefield Holiday Stroll, the Boston residents and former Cornell University runners shattered the course records in the third annual Keith’s Tree Frozen Frolic, John outdueling 2014 champion and former course record-holder Nate Jenkins of North Andover while Rachel easily outran the rest of a women’s field that also included the former course record-holder, 2015 winner Biliana Mihaylova of Quincy.
After running most of the first mile into a strong headwind, John Schilkowsky, 25, completed the 3.4-mile loop around Lake Quannapowitt in 16 minutes 37 seconds, a 4:54-per-mile pace that took 16 seconds off Jenkins’ old mark. Jenkins, 35, also bettered his former standard but still finished 14 seconds behind Schilkowsky, in 16:51.
A pair of UMass Lowell runners in town for a tempo run as training for their indoor track and field season, Abdullah Kaba and Jackson Gallagher, took third and fourth place, in 18:04 and 18:20, respectively. Gallagher had returned to his hometown for the duo’s workout because the Frozen Frolic benefitted the Wakefield Memorial High cross country and track and field programs, of which he was a member from 2011-15.
Rachel Schilkowsky, 24 and a five-time All-America honoree as an undergraduate at Cornell, was right behind the UMass Lowell runners, crossing the finish line on the Upper Common with a time of 18:20, almost two minutes faster than Mihaylova’s former record of 20:15.
For completing the sweep with record times, the Schilkowskys took home $300 — $100 apiece for finishing first, $50 each for setting the new course standards.
Mihaylova, 27, was second among the women on Saturday, covering the course in 21:55, 31 seconds ahead of third-place finisher Suzy Macero, 43, the masters-division winner and first female Wakefield resident to cross the line.
Mark Mayall, 45, of Maynard, was the top men’s master, placing sixth overall in 18:48.
The Keith’s Tree Frozen Frolic main event, which totaled exactly 100 finishers, was preceded by a 1-mile kids’ run, won by 11-year-old Wakefield resident Caileigh Sweeney in 7:45. Danny Kidder, 8, also of Wakefield, was the first boy to cross the line, in 7:56.