There was lots of stretching and warming of muscles Saturday morning in the 52-degree chill at West Torch Lake Drive and Shady Nook Run, near Brownwood Paddock Square, before the runners left the starting gate at 8 a.m. This was the first in a series of three 5K races in The Villages Recreation Department’s ‘Running of the Squares’ event. Lifestyle event coordinator, Lisa Parkyn, and recreation supervisor, Meryl Boyd, were among the helpful staff on hand to assure a smooth race — and Brian NeSmith of Race Time Sports chip timed and managed the race.
A total of 315 participants registered for the race. At the sound of the air horn, the fastest runners left the starting gate first, followed by the more moderate pacers and then the slower runners. Toward the back of the pack were some speed walkers who wished to cover the course. “This is an upbeat event with a lot of camaraderie,” Parkyn said. “It allows competitors with different skills to compete at whatever levels they are comfortable with.”
The male overall winner was John Brodie of The Villages, recording an 18 minute, 20.8 second time — far ahead of the other runners. A 5K race is equivalent to about 3.1 miles. The female overall winner, Paige Boone, also of The Villages, came in at 22 minutes 12.4 seconds. More than a dozen Village Cheerleaders lined the path and cheered as the finishers passed by. An extra loud cheer was heard as a swift Recreation Department Director, John Rohan, finished the race.
Parkyn, who served as race director, also ran the 5K in 27:20.
To view the complete race results, follow the link below:
While running is generally considered a solitary sport, quite a few groups of friends and colleagues entered the race together. A large employee group from Peach Wave, the self-serve frozen yogurt people with stores at Colony and Pinellas Plazas, ran the course along with the business owners, Darrin and Cheri Bevis. Most of the Peach Wavers reside in The Village of Parkwood.
Several small groups of friends and neighbors came out for fun and camaraderie as well. Winifred Villager, #71 Sally Buser, ran with her sister, #148 Pam Duncan, from Hemingway Village and their friend, #669 Linda Roesler, from the Village of Caroline. “I don’t think the numbers mean anything, Roesler said. “They were not given out in any particular order when we registered.” While Buser is the most serious runner of the three, they all enjoyed the event. “I’m not used to running a course along with golf carts,” Buser remarked. “There were some golf carts on the back part of the path with us — and that felt strange, but it was OK.”
Event co-sponsor, Chiropractic USA’s Dr. Josh Olcott, 32, came in fourth in his age category — and promptly left The Villages to run in Orlando’s ‘Savage Race.’ Dr. Josh, whose offices are located in The Villages Buffalo Ridge Plaza, believes running can be an important part of living an active, healthy lifestyle. He enjoys ‘endurance running,’ and left radiation tech, Rich Rosche, behind at their tent to hand out goodie bags with fruit and snacks for the runners.
The second ‘Running of the Squares’ race is scheduled for January 2015 and the third and last contest will be in April 2015.
Around 9 a.m., when the sports people started leaving Brownwood, the parking lots were filling up with people coming with their shoppng baskets to the Farmer’s Market.