China Grove’s Main Street Challenge 5K draws over 300 runners

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 11, 2023

The first June Friday night draws lots of visitors to China Grove to run Rowan’s only true nighttime 5K, half mile fun run and 200-yard tot trot. Often hot and humid, runners got a break with a cool night and a gentle north breeze as 5K participants ran from Ross Street to the Kimball Road/Food Lion turnaround and back to the fire department and bright lights of the finish line area. Plenty of spectators were along the course and at the finish area.

Started in 1998, this 5K has become a popular event because of its organization and unique start time. The fast course offers an opportunity for chasing quick times, especially since the 2022 winner, Donnie Cowart, set a new North Carolina overall 5K record of 14:06 and secured the label for the fastest 5K course in the state. This year, the focus was on China Grove farmer Robert Miller as he chased the male 5K 50-54 state record. A separate story about Miller also appears in the Post.

Overall male winner was Chris Raulli of Davidson with a time of 16 minutes and 15 seconds, followed by Ben Kassel, also of Davidson, with a time of 16:16 and Miller who cruised to a pending state record finish of 16:22. A story on Miller’s accomplishment is also in the Post.

For the women, Salisbury’s Katie Efird obliterated her personal best with a sizzling 19:47 to take the win. Maya Little, a Mooresville 14-year-old, was a close second in 19:57. Third went to Cathryn Westra of Davidson with a 21:23. Justin Sink was the top Masters runner (40 years of age and over) with a time of 17:44. Top female Masters runner was Dawn McCarthy of Davidson with a time of 23:16. Craige Farmer of Salisbury was the top Grandmaster (50 years and over) finisher with a time of 18:29, while Jocelyne Lauvaud-Adams was top Grandmaster female at 27:33.

Top sponsors for the event were Food Lion, Krispy Kreme, Pizza Hut, Frank Corriher Sausage, the South Rowan Y Service Club, the Lazy 5 Vets and Oak Grove Baptist Church. All proceeds benefit the YMCA scholarship program.

Over 300 total runners and walkers competed in the three races. Race director Aaron Crowe said, “We couldn’t have this event without our sponsors, volunteers and especially the Town of China Grove, whose police, fire and street maintenance departments always do an exemplary job before, during and after the event. I think participants come here and feel the unity of those who support and volunteer for one of the best races around. Then they get to go chase a fast time on an evening run!”

Complete results are posted at and