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5K kicks festival into high gear

WOODLEAF — Race Director Patti Safrit summed it all up when she said: “This is so much fun that I am thinking about taking up running myself.”
After a rainstorm had passed through the area, temperatures cooled down and conditions were perfect for a summer evening race.
The Unity Presbyterian Church Tomato Festival had the 5K as its first event before the festival continued through Saturday.
Runners of all ages took part.
Tanner Smith, 8, loves running and also loves tomatoes. His mother, Amy, said, “I put out a plate of tomato slices and I have to tell Tanner that they aren’t all for him. He just loves tomatoes in any form. Tanner was worried that the race shirt might not have a tomato on it, but he is glad it does.”
Tanner finished the 5K in 23 minutes and 29 seconds, good for first in his age group.
Cody McNeely won the race in 19 minutes and 5 seconds, followed by Ben Wilson in 19:26 and Martin Thorne in 19:56.
For the women, Maleah Pinyan was the winner in 20 minutes and 32 seconds. Elizabeth Murphy was second in 21:36 and Kathleen Russo in 22:39.
Title sponsor was Martin Marietta Materials, and others helping out were Rowan Regional Medical Center, Correll Farms, Fleming Tomatoes, Wetmore Farms, Master Gardeners, Rowan Animal Clinic, Tom and Becky Wetmore, Cleveland Drug, Lazy 5 Ranch, College BBQ and Industrial Supply Solutions.
“Thanks to all of our sponsors, especially Martin Marietta,” Safrit said. “The fire department protected the course and our local volunteers took care of just about everything else. This was the second year of the 5K being held on Friday evening, and it makes for a fun and competitive time. I believe we had more spectators than ever before.”
Complete results can be found at www.salisburyrowanrunners.org.

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