Running family

Jay Ruggery, Troy Ruggery, Kyle Ruggery, Kurt Ruggery, Luke Ruggery and Gina Ruggery all took home hardware in the eighth annual Brookgreen Gardens Memorial Day 5K Sunday.

The Ruggery family grew up watching mom on the treadmill, knowing not to mess with Gina during her “one hour of peace” each day.

It’s safe to say the entire clan saw much more than stress relief.

On Sunday, each of the six members of the family — ranging in ages from 53 down to 12 — walked away with some extra hardware from the eighth annual Brookgreen Gardens Memorial Day 5K. And while parents Jay and Gina and sons Luke, Kyle, Kurt and Troy all have their own reasons for lacing up the running shoes, it’s clear where these types of performances originated for the crew from Duncansville, Pennsylvania.

“I was never into track in high school or college,” Gina said after claiming the second overall female spot in the race. “I realized when I got out of college I needed something. It’s just sort of a lifestyle. They enjoy the competitive part of it."

Gina Ruggery finished Sunday’s run with a chipped time of 22:10, the same as Jay. They were actually the final two of their immediate family to cross the line.

Oldest son Luke, 20, a rising junior guard on the basketball team at St. Francis University, won the overall crown with a time of 16:29. Kyle, 19, who just finished his freshman season with the Juniata College basketball squad, was immediately behind him at 16:44, good enough for second overall.

Troy, 12, was third in the family and 16th overall at 20:40. And 15-year-old Kurt chimed in just before mom and dad at 21:58.

All told, all six won either an overall or age-group award from the event. And while most of the crew have logged longer official races, the desire to compete and succeed is the driving force.

“When you’re running, even a 5K, if you’re going to run a fast pace, it’s mental,” Luke Ruggery said. “You need to dig in. That’s how I correlate it to the basketball court.

“If I can just run around for 40 minutes straight and play the full 94 feet, eventually I’m going to be able to get open and get the shots I need to make or be in position defensively. That’s how I look at it.”

Kyle and Luke Ruggery, the two college basketball players, each clocked their fastest 5K times on Sunday. Much of that stems from the duo’s training for a 12-hour, overnight obstacle-course style race later this summer.

The collective will also be participating together in their annual Fourth of July race back home in a few weeks. Next year, they plan on running NS Promo’s Memorial Day 5K at Brookgreen Gardens again — something Gina Ruggery hopes to continue for years to come.

“We’ve grown [running] over the years. It started as our family, but we’ve dragged friends into it, too,” she said. “We always come to Myrtle Beach this time of year. I’m hoping to make this one a tradition.”

Contact Charles D. Perry at 843-488-7236

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