Before the 34th annual Philadelphia Bar Association 5K Charity Run, held on May 19, it had been raining all morning and started to pour at approximately 8 a.m., 30 minutes before the race was scheduled to start. In addition, Neill Clark, the winner of the bar association competition for the past 14 years, showed up wearing a cast on his right leg, unable to run. What else could go wrong? As it turned out, nothing else did. At 8:30 a.m., the start time for the race, the rain tapered to a slight drizzle, the temperature of 58 to 60 degrees was perfect for running and the more than 1,300 participants who showed up, out of more than 1,550 who registered, put on an incredible performance.

The race was won by Jossi Fritz-Mauer, 28, who lives in Wynnewood, Pa., and is with nonprofit The Energy Co-op, in a time of 15:54, a record for the race. The first female finisher was attorney Heather Hoechst, who finished in a strong 19:17, winning both the open competition and the bar association competition for women. Hoechst is a lawyer with nonprofit Women Against Abuse. First place among men in the Philadelphia Bar Association was Sean T. Daly, 24, a second-year Villanova University law student, who finished fourth overall in the race and first among members of the bar association, in a time of 17:37.

In the men’s competition, Fritz-Mauer shot to a quick lead at the start of the race, easily distancing himself from the first and second pack of runners behind him. At a half-mile, he was approximately 30 yards ahead of a group consisting of Aristeo Duenas, of Philadelphia; Jacob Shoemaker, 28, of Philadelphia; Zayd Ortiz, of Simon Gratz High School; Steve Heagy, 29; Eric Chappelle, 28, of Philadelphia; and Daniel Gallagher, 23, of Philadelphia. A second group, right behind the first group, consisted of Omar Abdelhamid, 32, of Philadelphia; Colin Knisely, 41, of the Duane Morris team; Frank Maneri, 51, of Medford, Pa.; Jamar Johnson, 19, of the Friere Charter School; and Daly. Moving up behind them was Chris Carroll, 41, of the Morgan, Lewis & Bockius team.

Fritz-Mauer went through the first mile in less than five minutes, followed by Heagy, Shoemaker and Daly. They were followed by Abdelhamid, Chappelle, Carroll and Knisely. Fritz-Mauer continued his blazing pace and turned around at the halfway point at 7:35, followed by Heagy and Shoemaker. Fritz-Mauer continued to turn up the pace, finishing almost a full minute ahead of Heagy.

The winner of the female competition, Hoechst, also went swiftly to the lead, followed by Jamie Panzer, of Wynnewood, Pa., and Cassidy Leight, 14, from Breinigsville, Pa. Panzer and Leight ran side-by-side through the first mile. Hoechst continued to lead through the turnaround, passing it in the quick time of 9:02, followed by Panzer, who had taken the lead for second place between one and one-and-a-half miles over Leight. In fourth place at the turnaround was Dirkje Camille Frey of the Morgan Lewis team. As the women approached the finish line, Hoechst, Panzer and Leight maintained their relative positions. Judi Cassel of Philadelphia moved into fourth place, followed by Kathy Daniels of Chicago.

In team competition, Morgan Lewis became the first legal team to have a perfect score of first place for each of the five participants on its winning team. Community Legal Services finished second, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young finished third, Caesar, Rivise, Bernstein, Cohen & Pokotilow finished fourth, and Duane Morris and Flaster Greenberg tied for fifth.

In the corporate team competition, Firstrust and CPMI tied for first place, with The Legal finishing third and DELVACCA Team 1 and 3 finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.

Once again, sponsors helped make the race a financial success in raising funds for the Support Center for Child Advocates. The Philadelphia Bar Association was joined as corporate-level sponsors this year by: Firstrust, Wawa, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, Caesar Rivise, Philadelphia Runner, Iron Mountain, The Legal, Veritext, Landmark Legal Solutions, Reliable, Capital Project Management Inc., Juristaff and USI Affinity.

Supporting the race as legal sponsors were: Anapol Schwartz, Cozen O’Connor, DLA Piper, Drinker Biddle & Reath, Fox Rothschild, Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, Panitch Schwarze Belisario & Nadel, Pepper Hamilton, RatnerPrestia, Raynes McCarty, Sandals & Associates, Thorp Reed & Armstrong, Woodcock Washburn and Zarwin Baum DeVito Kaplan Schaer Toddy.

In addition, the Philadelphia Bar Association community of law firms once again ably supported the race by providing 44 legal teams in the competition. Many thanks go to the volunteers who worked the day of the race, ably directed by Eric Marzluf of Caesar Rivise, Megan Harper of Wilson Elser, and Frank Cervone and his volunteers from the Support Center for Child Advocates, the beneficiary of the race. Also, many thanks to Michael Berkowitz of Caesar Rivise, who organized the legal and corporate team competitions; Marc Tepper of Buchanan Ingersoll, who organized and directed the kids’ run; and Joe Stapleton of Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads, who organized the water tables on the course. To members of the Philadelphia Bar Association race committee and the many unnamed volunteers for your invaluable help — thank you. Once again, the race provided a significant contribution to the Support Center in the approximate amount of $100,000.

Based upon the smiles of all of the participants and volunteers after the race, it is clear that the rain prior to the race did not diminish the spirit or the enjoyment of anyone attending. 

Click here to view the complete results of the race and additional pictures.