Hundreds of runners hit the track for annual Greenway 5K and Fun Run
By David Freeze
For the Salisbury Post
Cool morning temperatures and clear skies greeted more than 300 runners on Saturday morning at Knox Middle School for the 12th Annual Greenway 5K and Fun Run.
Race organizers were overwhelmed with a huge increase in participation from last year. Race Director Steve Clark said “It was a great problem to have, but we had to scramble over the last few days to get needed materials in place. We ordered more shirts, more food, and nearly ran out of race numbers and pins for them,” he said in an e-mail to the Post. “Our water stop ran out of cups, but otherwise I think all went well.”
Clark has directed the race for 10 years and was happy to see runners come in from surrounding areas such as Charlotte, Florida and Pennsylvania.
While attendance was strong from out-of-towners, local stalwarts Bob Marchinko and Dr. Lynn Pitson were the race winners. Marchinko, a physical education teacher with Rowan-Salisbury Schools, won a surprisingly close race over Alejandro Arreola of Charlotte. Marchinko’s time was 15:57, finishing just 38 seconds ahead of Arreola in 16:35. Matthew Smith of Statesville was third in 17:02. Pitson is a Salisbury gynecologist and continued her strong showing in recent races with another close win. Pitson had a time of 19:59, which beat Olivia Jacobs of China Grove at 20:16, and third place Leslie Pence of Cleveland at 20:58.
The race was presented by Salisbury Parks and Recreation and the Salisbury Rowan Runners Club. Other sponsors included Rowan Regional Medical Center, Xerox, Sportrax, Knox Middle School and the Rowan County YMCA. Food and drink sponsors were Krispy Kreme, Chick-fil-A. Biscuitville, Food Lion, Monster Energy and Cheerwine. Race proceeds will help continue the Salisbury Parks and Recreation Greenway Project.
Rockwell Elementary School Principal Laura Kerr ran her first race and said, “It was not as hard as I thought it would be. Even though this was the first time that I had run 3.1 miles, I am sure that I could have run a little farther. I am looking forward to running another race.”
Kerr had a time of 34:20 over the mostly flat course.
The fun run was also well attended this year. Clark said, “We decided last year to include a race for the kids, and we thought that the half mile was the perfect distance. Most kids under 12 can run this far, and it’s great for the parents to be able to see the kids as they loop the Knox track twice. Our attendance was way up from last year for this race too.”
Fun run participant Kasidi Staley celebrated her birthday by bringing 200 cupcakes from Charlotte. Runners and parents in attendance sang Happy Birthday to 7-year-old Kasidi and her brother Drew just before the start. Drew has a birthday next Saturday. Kasidi’s mother, Kari, said her daughter had been excited for several weeks that she could come to Salisbury and run a race to celebrate her birthday. Beth Bryan won with a time of 3:25, just ahead of second place Karli Neigel at 3:27 and Jackson Price in 3:32.
Food and shoe donations were taken for Rowan Helping Ministries, and Kathi Landis from Kannapolis won a new pair of running shoes. Vac and Dash from Albemarle, owned by Peter Asciutto, donates a pair of shoes at each race of the Central Piedmont Grand Prix. The Greenway 5K is a part of the Central Piedmont.
Results can be found at www.salisburyrowanrunners. com or www.salisburync.gov/ pkrec.