When it comes to the annual Red Rose Run through downtown Lancaster, Stephen Schousen has run the course so many times, he said, he could “do it blindfolded.”

His cross country team at McCaskey practiced on these same roads every Saturday morning.

He’s also no stranger to the Red Rose itself. In fact, he won it in 2020.

But when Schousen came across the finish line first Saturday morning during the 48th edition of the annual run, which had 810 finishers, it was an entirely different feeling than the one he experienced four years ago.

The now-21-year-old kissed his fingers and pointed toward the sky before stretching his arms out wide as he passed through the red archway signaling the end of the race.

He had plenty of reason to celebrate.

After tearing his plantar fascia a few years ago, he said, he was unable to run for his college cross country team at Bucknell. The foot injury, which has yet to properly heal, forced him to switch to triathlons.

“My foot was about 75%-80% today,” Schousen said after Saturday’s race.

For Schousen, who graduated from McCaskey in 2021, that was enough. He finished the race in 25:42, more than two minutes faster than he did in 2020.

“It means the world to come out and have my first somewhat healthy race back on my home roads,” Schousen said.

Following Schousen, Ian Miller, 23, finished second overall in 26:14. Third went to Ciaran Fisher, 28, who crossed the line at Ewell Plaza in 26:32.6.

Not too far behind Schousen was his former classmate and teammate, Gabrielle Thiry. While Thiry ultimately graduated from Lancaster Country Day School, the two spent a year together at McCaskey competing on the same team.

Thiry was the top female finisher at the Red Rose Run, winning in 30:25 and placing 33rd overall after a neck-and-neck final stretch with Carson Miller, who also finished in 30:25.

For Thiry, this was a day of firsts. It was her first time competing in the Red Rose Run, and it was also a different kind of race than anything she was used to.

“I had never run a 5-mile race before,” she said.

Thiry paced herself for the first 4 miles, knowing not to push herself in an event in which she hadn’t competed before. But when the marker signaled only 1 mile left, she felt ready to go for the final stretch.

“On the last mile, I felt good,” Thiry said. “There was a lot of downhill, so I made my move and just kept it.”

The race, which organizers deemed a huge success, featured more than 900 runners, walkers, strollers and wheelchairs. Proceeds from the event benefit the Lancaster Central Market Trust.

“It’s just awesome,” Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace said. “Over 900 people turned out, one of our biggest crowds. We can be proud that people want to come out on a beautiful morning and run through the city.”

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