As a champion distance runner during his days at Tamaqua Area High School, Nick Birosik is familar with running on the streets of Tamaqua and the roadways of neighboring Schuylkill Township.

It was no surprise, then, when Birosik turned out to be the overall winner of the Sixth Annual Help 5K Run and Walk Saturday morning.

The event, which is a fundraiser for the Tamaqua Area Adult Daycare Center, located in the basement of the Calvary Episcopal Church on West Broad Street, was preceded by morning rains, but by race time the clouds had begun to dissapate, and by the time Birosik ran across the finish line, sunshine was the order of the day.

Birosik, 26, completed the 3.1 mile race in 17 minutes, 57 seconds, well ahead of second place Kyle Smith's 21:37.

A graduate of Lafayette College, Birosik continues to reside in Easton while working in Clifton, New Jersey. During his running career at Tamaqua Area, he was a Schuylkill League and District 11 champion, as well as a PIAA State gold medalist as part of the Blue Raiders' 3,200 meter relay team.

Birosik, who competes with the Rariton (N.J.) Runners Club, has now stepped up in distance, as he placed fourth at the Lehigh Valley Half-Marathon prior to competing in the Help 5K Run.

"I'm in half marathon shape right now," admitted Birosik. "This course was a little tougher than I'd thought it would be. Some of the turns are 90 degrees, and you almost have to stop. It was also a little wet from the rain, but I can't complain."

The female winner was Lesley Wassef of Highland Park, H.J., who finished third overall at 21:48. Wassef is a native Australian who moved to New Jersey for a job. She is also the girlfriend of Birosik, which is how she came to participate in the Tamaqua race.

"I'm not used to the hills here, living in New Jersey, because we don't have hills there, but I thought the course was very beautiful," said Wassef.

The winners of the 5K walkers division were Larry Light on the male side and Pamela Ohl for the women's side.

A total of 59 participants finished the race, which was produced with the assistance of MogoRun Timing of Summit Hill. Local fire police also provided traffic control along the course.

"We're glad the weather held off, because it didn't look good early," said Dan Weiksner, president of the Tamaqua Area Adult Daycare Center board of directors. "The rain cleared out, and the sun came out, so we were pleased with that.

"I'd like to thank our runners and sponsors for making this race possible. We are looking to grow it from year to year," he added.

Male Winners

Overall - Nick Birosik, 17:51

11 and under - 1. Zeke Wassell 29:45, 2. Jacob Weiksner 49:29, 3. Justin Weiksner 49:29

12-14 - 1, Jordan Frank 23:21, 2. Adam Melnick 24:46

15-19 - 1. Kyle Smith 21:37

20-24 - 1. Patrick Kennedy 26:04

25-29 - 1. Joe Francis 31:15

30-34 - 1. Brian Lawfer 24:20

35-39 - 1. Sean McMenamin 23:24

40-44 - 1. Randy Wasserleben 26:58, 2. Ronald Coleman 28:35

45-49 - 1. Kevin Duffy 42:16

50-54 - 1. David Holmes 22:16.

55-59 - 1. James Manzick 22:53.

60-64 - 1. Dan DeCindio 25:02, 2. James Atkins 26:49.

Female Winners

Overall - Lesley Wassef, 21:48.

11 and under - 1. Nicole Wasserleben 25:57, 2. Jaclyn Ohl 42:21, 3. Alice Frank 45:48.

12-14 - 1. Claire Frank 26:52

15-19 - 1. Paige Kosica 26:24

20-24 - 1. Megan Blackman 20-24

25-29 - none

30-34 - 1. Stacey Lipton 26:29, 2. Christina Koles 33:50

35-39 - 1. Claudia Krell 33:40, 2. Rebecca Frank 45:49

40-44 - 1. Barbara Lawson 31:15, 2. Marianne Weiksner 1:05.22

45-49 - 1. Liz Tolan 27:25, 2. Maureen Duffy 39:57

50-54 - 1. Sherry Atkins 29:50, 2. Sally Pancheri 33:34

55-59 - 1. Jen Sloot 30:17

60 and over - 1. Linda Light 42:55.

Walkers

Male - 1. Larry Light 43:15, 2. Mark Ohl 45:41, 3. Chris Morrison 48:49.

Female - 1. Pamela Ohl 41:08, 2. Debra Hosler 46:06, 3. Lois Stocker 48:35.