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Westport, Norwalk Runners Win Minute Man

A car clipped Westport's Tom Harding during Sunday's Minute Man Race at Compo Beach. Norwalk's Leslie Sporre ran with her husband for fun. At the end of the 10-kilometer race, both walked away with the top prizes.

Harding, 45, won the men's race in 35:52. Sporre, 34, led the women's field in 44:03. In the 5K, Norwalk's Noredine Abdelfateh (17:10) and Weston 13-year-old Andi Rosenblatt (21:54) were the champions. A total of 967 people finished the two races. With the accompanying children's races, a race spokeswoman said nearly 1,400 registered runners took part. That is nearly 200 more than last year. The Westport Young Woman's League organized the annual race.

Harding and Sporre's runs could not have been more diverse. Harding, whose home is along the race route, said an SUV brushed him at about the 2-mile point. "It was probably my fault,'' he said. "I went to pass him on the left, and he pulled out around traffic. It's no big deal. Everybody yelled, and it actually worked to my advantage. After that I looked back and couldn't see the second place guy."

Stephen Finkelstein of New York finished second in 36:32, followed by Bridgeport's Wantuil Souza in 36:38.

Harding finished fourth last year. He lost time in that race when the leader veered off course and he went with him to get him back on track. Although the time this year was nowhere near his best, Harding enjoyed winning on roads near his home. "I'm old,'' he said. "I'm basically retired. I'm just happy to get out there these days."

Sporre came to the race with little expectation of winning. Running with her husband, Ian, she was out there for enjoyment, not hardware. "We came here for fun because we come here a lot, we live nearby and we really enjoy it here,'' she said. "We were just taking it easy and then we started to pick it up a little bit. We really didn't think about winning."

Sporre punched in eight seconds ahead of Caitlin Crowley of Woodbridge, followed by Prospect's Nicole Gillis.

In the men's 5K, Abdelfateh won by one second over Darien 14-year-old Alex Ostberg, who finished third in the same race last year. Ostberg's time was a personal best. Jean Mercedes of New Jersey finished third.

Rosenblatt won in 21:54, followed by Fairfield's Susan Gold in 22:12 and Kimberly Baldyga of Shelton in 22:24.

Gorgeous weather helped pull in the large turnout. The temperature at the 8:30 start was about 55 degrees. With little wind, sunny skies and a flat course, conditions were ripe for an enjoyable run at the Compo Beach area.

Complete race results are available at .

Did you run in any of the races Sunday? How did you do? Start the discussion below!

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