A high school student and a personal trainer from Ocala were the big winners in Saturday’s House of Hope 5K.
The race, held at the House of Hope campus in Wildwood, raised money under the banner, “Breaking the Chains of Addiction.”
Joseph Cilenti, 17, last year’s overall winner, repeated as this year’s first runner across the finish line in 20 minutes, 16 seconds. His little brother, Jonah, came in second at 22 minutes, 55 seconds. Both are students at South Sumter High School.
Virginia Hatch, 33, was the first woman across the finish line in a time of 23:31.
“I am usually training other people,” Hatch said after the race.
The youngest racer was 11-year-old Kevin Bell of Webster. He finished in 32 minutes.
The House of Hope Team took the first place award in the team competition. They bested a team from World of Beer. WOB had a large number of runners turn out, many of them wearing bright pink shirts.
The 5K run and 2-mile walk are the brainchild of Villager Kurt Backstrom, a member of Hope Lutheran Church.
“It’s a way to get the guys focused and believing in themselves,” Backstrom said.
He can be found many mornings, training with the men at House of Hope.
Singer Cari Lovett of Hernando County sent off the runners with a moving version of “Amazing Grace.”
The volleyball team from South Sumter High School volunteered at the event and worked water stations on the course.