The Sunbury 5K had the largest turnout in its three-year history Saturday as 170 runners competed for prizes and raised money for the American Diabetes Association and the Wounded Warriors Project.
“It is more than we’ve ever had,” race founder and organizer Patrick Boyle said. “We are more than thrilled with the turnout. We will probably be able to donate between $4,000-$5,000 total this year, which blows away what we’ve done in previous years.”
Walkers and runners of all ages took off when the air horn sounded promptly at 10 a.m.
Seventeen minutes later the first of the runners emerged in what Boyle said is a men’s course record.
Juantonio Rivera took first place overall at 17:20.
This was Rivera’s third 5K since he started training for the 2012 Army Ten-Miler at the Pentagon on Oct. 21. He said he started training in June and has steadily increased the number of miles he runs. Rivera also took first place at the Heart of Savannah 5K three weeks ago, coming in at 16:43. He said his goal for the 10-mile race is to help his team.
“I’m going to try and run with the guys for the first five miles and then take off after that,” he said. Rivera said he was especially pleased to be at Sunbury to help fellow soldiers.
“It’s supporting the Wounded Warrior Project so I wanted to come out and support the soldiers,” he said.
Fort Stewart employee Robert McCoy finished second with a time of 18:50, 90 seconds behind Rivera. It was McCoy’s first 5K.
“This is my rookie year,” McCoy said. “I train by myself in Hinesville and I met the organizer of the race before and decided to run it this time.”
He said he was thrilled to be supporting the Army and the WWP.
“I love Fort Stewart, and I love the Army,” he said.
Seven runners from the Liberty Run Group raced to medals within their respective age or class division.
Liberty Run Group founder Josh Maxwell led the pack, finishing third place overall in 19:31.
“It was on par and what I expected,” he said.
Maxwell then went on to cheer his teammates as they crossed the finish line.
Coming in second in the overall female category was one of Maxwell’s running coaches, Diane Wagoner. She clocked in at 23:02, seconds behind first place winner Cathy Bordlemay, who set a women’s course record of 22:56.
Boyle said they had 13 new course or age group records set at the race.
“This just seems to get bigger every year,” he said. “And there are so many people out here from all over Liberty County and Midway and Sunbury.
He said he was grateful to all his volunteers and title sponsor Bubba Grinstead of Merritt & Grinstead Attorneys at Law as well as sponsors Darsey, Black and Associates in Hinesville and Sunbury Crab Co. owner Barney Maley.
Boyle said they are already planning for next year and want to see more runners while keeping it a local event.
“I’ve actually been approached by a number of sponsors who ask how they can get involved more, which is just amazing,” he said. “I couldn’t ask for anything better than that. We have some ideas but we also like keeping it kind of intimate. This is truly a real local race.”
For complete race results visit: http://www.savystrider.com/