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Santa pays annual visit to Millbridge

Santa Claus dropped by the Millbridge Ruritan building on Sloan Road early Saturday morning, but nobody was surprised. Santa and part of his entourage have been part of all 21 Santa Run 5Ks over the years. Proceeds from the event benefit Rowan Helping Ministries, specifically their efforts in the West Rowan area.

A chilly but calm morning greeted over 100 runners as they pushed through the challenging and very rural 5K course. Alex Wilson was the overall winner in 18 minutes and 20 seconds, followed by Guillermo Rato Contreras in 18:40 and Zachary Livengood in 18:49. Michael Vestal led the Masters (age 40 and over) with a time of 21:31, his first race in over 20 years.

Leah Cressler led the women with a time of 21:38, Melissa Orr took second in 23:07 and Susan Livengood took third in 26:03. Pacing the Masters women was Nancy Anderson in 27:03.

Fun run winners were Connor Heath, Brent Heath and James Stephens as the top three boys while Penny Schultz, Ava Gardner and Emory Stephens led the girls.

Some concern arose when what appeared to be Bigfoot was spotted along the 5K course on Kerr Mill Road. Olivia Wilsey appeared shaken after the race, “Oh my gosh, he scared me! I saw him, right there in the woods as we ran by.” The possible sighting, one of several recently in the West Rowan area, could not be verified by press time. A grainy cell phone photo does exist. Millbridge historians think that this was the first time that Santa, at least one Mrs. Claus, a car driving reindeer, a cute elf and possibly Bigfoot all converged to celebrate the official local Christmas season of giving.

Sponsors for the Santa 5K were Lil’ Shavers Wood Products, Millbridge Ruritans, Novant Health, the Salisbury Post, West Rowan, The Trophy House, Locke Fire Department and the Sunrise Café. All participants and volunteers enjoyed a pancake breakfast after the event.

Complete results are posted at www.salisburyrowanrunners.org 

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