No rain but plenty of sweat at China Grove 5K
By David Freeze
For the Salisbury Post
For the first time in recent memory, Rowan’s largest footrace went off without any threat of rain. Oppressive humidity joined temperatures well into the 80s as over 500 runners and walkers hit the streets of China Grove on Friday night for the Main Street Challenge 5K.
Recent China Grove 5Ks have been threatened with heavy rain and nearby lightning. None of those things occurred this time, but the participants definitely warmed up quickly once the race started.
Spectators had chosen their viewing spots along Main Street as early as 4:30 p.m. in anticipation of seeing runners and walkers of all abilities pass by just feet away. Top runners, including former United States Olympian Anthony Famiglietti and Olympic Trials competitor Ryan Woods, both returned to test themselves on the unique out and back downtown course. Additionally, plenty of runners and walkers were tackling the 3.1 mile distance for the first time.
Friends Jeremy Carter and John Kimball had been pushed by their kids to participate. They decided to give it a shot, but Carter joked with Race Director Aaron Crowe that the best plan might be to keep the EMTs close.
First up was the Krispy Kreme 200 yard Tot Trot that included 20 kids, ages 4 and below. Next was the Pizza Hut half mile fun run for kids 12 and under. Kody Blais led the fun run field of 42 kids with a time of 3 minutes and 28 seconds. Grace Walters topped the girls in 3:35.
Famiglietti led the 5K field with a blistering time of 14 minutes and 52 seconds. He was followed by Stevven Anderson with a time of 15:44 and Woods in 15:56.
Emily Boles paced the women with a time of 19 minutes and 8 seconds. Molly Nunn ran 20:44 for second and Susan Muth was third in 21:34.
Top performances by the locals included women’s Masters (40 and 0ver) winner Acquawon Stallworth in 22:30 and male Grandmasters (50 and over) winner Milton Matheny in 18:38.
Race director Crowe said, “We were pleased with the turnout once again. We had just over 500 people of all ages out here running with us tonight. We try to provide a unique festival-like experience with the evening activities here in China Grove. Our partnership with the Town of China Grove makes this event happen. All the sponsors and volunteers join in to help us raise funds for the Y’s “We Build People.” My goal is to have the participants leave here with great memories and we will keep striving to do that.”
Veteran racer Steve Staley of Charlotte agreed. He said, “This is now my favorite race. There was an evening historic race held for many years in Maggie Valley that so many runners looked forward to all year long. The China Grove 5K has captured that same special feeling. Simply put, hot, humid or raining doesn’t matter. I won’t miss it.”
Highlights for the runners and walkers included streetside singing by the gospel choir at Oak Grove Baptist Church and a huge water spray from the China Grove Fire Department.
Major sponsors for the China Grove 5K Main Street Challenge 2015 included the Town of China Grove, the South Rowan Y Service Club, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Pizza Hut, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Price Pharmacy and Novant Health.
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