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March 25. 2012 8:07PM

Sanca, Haas take titles in Manchester's Shamrock Shuffle

The boys run their 4-year-old Leprechaun Run Sunday prior to the two-mile main event Shamrock Shuffle race in Manchester. (Bruce Taylor/Union Leader)

Scott Clark of Gilmanton wasn't going to catch Olympic hopeful Ruben Sanca, but he wasn't about to waste an opportunity to claim second place.

Sanca, of Dracut, Mass., a 25-year-old product of UMass-Lowell, breezed to a 9:05.77 first-place finish, toppling a field of 2,500 participants in the annual two-mile Shamrock Shuffle in Manchester Sunday. Karen Haas of Chelmsford, Mass., a nationally ranked masters runner, was the overall female runner at 10:55.76.

Jennifer Mortimer of New London, wife of race organizer John Mortimer, was runner-up at 11:29.12. Stephanie Burnham of Manchester placed third at 12:03.53.

Clark called Sanca, a native of Cape Verde, “a tremendous, talented runner. He's talked about representing his country in the marathon in the Olympics. He built up a pretty good reputation at UMass-Lowell.”

According to USA Track and Field New England, Sanca posted personal best times at UMass-Lowell in the 5000-meters (14:05.46), 3000-meters (8:09.05) and mile at 4:07.37.

“He was gone in a flash,” said Clark of Sanca. “Nobody was going to catch him.”

In the battle for second place, Brian Lavoie of Concord (10:27.09), was leading the whole way until Clark (10:26.87) nudged him at the finish line. “Brian is a friend and I'm not going to lie, he just ran out gas,” said Clark. “We gave each other a handshake at the finish line and then just fell to our knees.”

Clark praised Mortimer's efforts for running another first-class race. “He just knows how to do it,” said Clark. “This course is similar to the Cigna race in August, flat for most part. But John allowed kids to participate in the race for free, which welcomed families to run together. My wife and I brought our 11-year-old son and we had a wonderful time.”

Clark is the race director for the 14th annual Gilmanton 5K Road Race, which is slated for Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Gilmanton Academy. To pre-register, one can email, for information. Over 320 runners have already pre-registered for the race.

Haas, 42, is no stranger to Mortimer's events. “She also was the women's overall master winner in the Millennium Mile earlier this year,” said Clark. “That makes her a two-time winner this season.”

Shamrock Shuffle 2 Mile Road Race

Men's Results
1. Ruben Sanca, 9:05.77; Dracut, Mass.; 2. Scott Clark, 10:26.87, Gilmanton; 3. Brian Lavoie, 10:27.09, Concord; 4. Humberto Rodriguez, 10:28.97, Manchester Calif.; 5. Brett Budzinski, 10:34.47, North Andover, Mass.; 6. Ryan Marshall, Stratham, 10:37.91; 7. George Hotter, 10:54.20, Londonderry; 8. Dave Veale, 11:01.93; Chester; 9. Mike Haas, 11:05.18, Chelmsford, Mass.; 10. Warren Bartlett, 11:19.30, Loudon.
Female Results
1. Kara Haas, 10:55.76, Chelmsford, Mass.; 2. Jennifer Mortimer, 11:29.12, New London; 3. Stephanie Burnham, 12:03.53, Manchester; 4. Karen Long, 12:31.28, Nashua; 5. Caroline Fischer, 12:32.16, Merrimack; 6. Allyn Doyle, 12:37.55 Merrimack; 7. Hannah Zaitlin, 12:39.58, New Boston; 8. Lisa Klasman, 12:41.36, Hollis; 9. Cathleen Brown, 12:52.16, New Boston; 10. Bonnie Cruz, 12:55.14, Springfield.

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