Not one boy had broken into the top 25 rankings of the The Great Pumpkin Run since 2009 — until Tuesday.

No seventh-grade boy had been able to run the .83-mile course around Auburn Middle School in under five minutes and 29 seconds for the past 11 years.

Derek Hart did Tuesday during the 29th running of the annual event for Auburn Middle School seventh-graders.

Hart ran a 5:23.6, good enough for 20th place on the all-time fastest list.

“I’m not really sure,” Hart said of his accomplishment. “I’m a hockey player. Not a runner.”

The Great Pumpkin Run started in 1993 as a way to get kids outside and having fun, founder Steve “Mr. Rob” Robertson said. The substitute teacher and former high school track coach hinted that the run also gave him a peek at who was coming down the pike and might land on his track team at Edward Little High School.


Robertson keeps an “all time best” list of the top 25 times for girls and boys. Former Edward Little three-point sharp shooter Grace Fontaine holds the top spot for girls with a 5:26. Fontaine’s sister, Hope, ran a 6:01 Tuesday. Hope Fontaine’s time puts her in a tie for 15th place with Edward Little freshman soccer standout Gabby Gerry.

Former high school state swimming champion Andrew Brodsky has held the top spot for boys since 2001 with a time of 4:53. Robertson said Brodsky ran the course so quickly that timers did not have time to get from the start to the finish before Brodsky crossed the finish line.

William Sheats ran a 5:14 in 2009, but no one has cracked the boy’s top 25 ranking until Hart did Tuesday.

Robertson said next year’s 30th annual pumpkin run will be his last.

“I hit 70 and I’m done,” the 69-year-old said.

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