Taking a 5K jaunt to help kids, offset turkey dinner
Posted: November 23, 2012
The Winchester Star
STEPHENS CITY — More than 700 people put on their running shoes Thursday morning in an effort to avoid the lethargy that sometimes comes with Thanksgiving.
The 15th annual Thanksgiving 5K was held at Sherando Park at 8:45 a.m. The event was organized by Frederick County Parks and Recreation, with proceeds from the event going to Big Brothers Big Sisters — a nonprofit organization that pairs at-risk children with mentors.
“You want to feel good when you’re eating turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie — all the good stuff,” said Chris Konyar, superintendent for recreation with the park system. “This makes you feel good about getting busy at the dinner table later.”
Some runners bundled up, while others went shirtless during the race, the course for which traced around the Sherando High School track and through the park. One teenager braved the 30-degree temperature in nothing but a Speedo and sneakers.
First-time participant Kevin Shirk, 32, won the 5K race — which is the equivalent of 3.1 miles — with a time of 15:56.
Running is nothing new to the James Wood Middle School teacher and Millbrook High School cross country and track coach.
“I’m used to it at this point,” Shirk said. “I do a lot of races.”
Although he bested six of his students in the race, there were no bragging rights on Thursday.
“I didn’t think about it,” he said with a laugh. “I hope they start beating me soon.”
Tom Delaney, 19, of Winchester, and Brian De La Mora, 20, of California, tied for second with a time of 16:16. The two friends are members of the cross country team at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
“I wanted to treat it as just a workout,” Delaney said. “It’s my fault we started to pick it up. We ended up flat-out sprinting in the end.”
The duo placed first (De La Mora) and second (Delaney) at last year’s race.
“We wanted to make sure we stayed in shape over break,” De La Mora said. “I thought it was a little cold, but I can adapt.”
Sammy Dow, 22, of Midlothian was the first woman to cross the line. Her time was unknown.
Eliott Racey and Hunter Roberts, both 11 years old and members of the Winchester United soccer travel team, finished in times of 22:36 and 24:30, respectively.
“It was the farthest I’ve ever run in a race,” Eliott said. “It was good. I did better than I thought I would.”
Hunter admitted the race felt longer than the 5K he ran once before.
“I felt OK,” he said. “I wasn’t getting that bad of cramps.”
After the race, the boys were free to focus on what they would do the remainder of the day.
“Go eat,” Eliott said.
“Sit back and relax,” Hunter added.
Tickets for the race were $15 in advance and $20 at the door. About 600 people participated in last year’s event, which raised $4,500.
— Contact Rebecca Layne at firstname.lastname@example.org