Raise the money and run

By Cory Smith - csmith@mtairynews.com

More than 250 runners aged anywhere from six to 76 flooded the streets of downtown Mount Airy to help United Fund of Surry kick-off its fundraising season.

In addition to the hundreds of runners, the sidewalks were filled with countless supporters and spectators, volunteers from 26 member agencies, law enforcement officials and EMTs. Each was there in support of United Fund of Surry’s 12th Annual Downtown Rocks and Runs 5K, 10K and Kid’s Fun Run.

In about a three-hour span, United Fund raised more than $15,000 from a combination of runner registration and 50 corporate sponsors.

The races began early Saturday morning. The 10K (6.21 mile) race started first at 7:45 a.m. Donning their green bibs, 59 racers from all over North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia took off for the gruesome course ahead as Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” echoed throughout the city.

The path was lined with volunteers and ran through city streets as well as greenways. The rescue squads were among those that were stationed all along the course, making sure places like “French Fry Hill” were safe. This hill is the block of Independence Boulevard from Riverside Drive to Renfro Street and is at the end of the course. Competitors pushed through the hill to reach the McDonald’s sign that gives the incline its name.

Just 34:65.50 after the start gun went off, 26-year-old Ediberto Crisanto of Rock Hill, South Carolina, crossed the finish line. He averaged a pace of 5:36 per mile. Crisanto not only took home the $250 prize for winning, but he also broke his personal record from last year. Crisanto won the Downtown 10K run in 2018 with a time of 36:01.

Benjamin Kassel, 37, came flying in 35 seconds later for a time of 35:21.80. Kassell ran at a 5:42/mile pace. Rounding out the men’s podium was 47-year-old Nathan Beamguard. Beamguard ran at a 6.28/mile pace and finished with a time of 40:11.40.

Maleah Pinyan and Daniela Decristo weren’t far behind Beamguard. Pinyan, 21, finished at 40:22.40 with a 6.30/mile pace for the fastest female time. Decristo, 25, finished with an overall time of 40.50.33 at a 6:35/mile pace. Female third place runner Alicia Rider, 38, wasn’t far behind with a 42:36.10 time at a 6:52/mile pace.

The purple-bibbed 5K runners began their race at 8:00 a.m. Not wasting any time, nine racers finished with a pace under 6:00/mile. At a pace of 5:21/mile, Michael Stevenson, 25, crossed the finish line with a time of 16:36.70.

Right on Stevenson’s tail was 31-year-old Michael Koballa. Koballa ran at a 5:23/mile pace and finished eight seconds behind Stevenson at 16:44.10. Esayas Nida, 25, took third place with an overall time of 17.30.10 at a 5:38/mile pace.

Elle Ellender, 36, was the first female to finish the 5K. Ellender ran at a 5:45/mile pace and finished at 17:50.10. Natalie Lawrence, 37, became the fist runner to finish the race that wasn’t part of either team Heat Stroke or team Billy Goat Elite. Lawrence was the second female overall to finish with a time of 18:56.90 at 6:06/mile pace.

Rounding out the female’s podium was 20-year-old Sydney Haynes. Haynes finished with a time of 20:28.00.

Awards were presented to the top three finishers of each age group in addition to the overall winners. Age groups started as low as 13 and under and went all the way up to 70 and over.

Awards were also given to different organizations that competed as a team. Team Altec was awarded the Corporate Participation Challenge trophy by having the most team participants in the 5K with 15. The members of Team Altec: Sutton Decrane, Eli Chandler, Mike Reed, Norman Simon, Kenny Badgett, Fortino Ruiz, Tyler Nelson, Jeremy Rathjen, Rachel Decrane, Ashley McKnight, Megan Simon, Dale Mcknight, Annalise Griffin, Kendra Griffin and Ben Griffen.

Team Heat Stroke won the 5K Team Fitness Award for the fastest average team score of 17:27. Members of team Heat Stroke: Michael Stevenson, Michael Koballa, Esayas Nida, Elle Ellender, Gebre Nida, Danny McCormick and Jay Jahnes.

Children 12 and under were eligible for a Fun Run. Each participant received a participation ribbon and a bag of goodies.

Detailed stats can be found at https://www.gosportstiming.com/2019-results.html