Not only did a 37-year-old Conway man speed to the finish line first in this year’s Under the Lights 5K, he did it pushing a child in a stroller, according to Conway Parks and Recreation assistant director/aquatics, fitness, programs & marketing June Wood.
Brandon Cannon finished the 3.1-mile race in only 22 minutes and 47 seconds, only 17 seconds ahead of the overall second-place winner, Tripp Inabnit, an 11-year-old Conwayite.
Tripp outran his 41-year-old dad, Davis Inabnit Jr., who finished third overall among men, by 39 seconds.
First place winner among the ladies was also an 11-year-old. Robyn Walsh took the race in a speedy 23 minutes and 5 seconds.
Finishing second among the ladies was 14-year-old Ella Monday, who completed the race in 26 minutes and 51 seconds.
A 21-year-old, Grier Bethea, finished third overall among the ladies with a time of 27 minutes and 57 seconds.
This was the second year for the Under the Lights 5K, sponsored by the Conway Parks and Recreation Department, highlighting the Christmas lights in Downtown Conway. This year’s race drew 250 walkers and runners, down from 315 this past year, but the numbers weren’t down due to lack of interest. The Parks and Recreation Department purposefully cut off the entries at 250 to make sure the runners were safely distanced. They also started the race in heats of 10 to ensure the safety of the runners.
The race started at the Conway Marina, turned right onto Laurel Street, then went onto the Conway Riverwalk beside the Kingston Condominiums. It passed the Bonfire Restaurant, went to the end of the riverwalk and under the Main Street Memorial Bridge before turning back at the end of the riverwalk. It went back to Laurel Street, crossed over to Elm and on down to the end of Marina Drive where runners made a U-turn, before heading back up Elm Street and back to the Marina.
Wood says the race, complete with a costume contest, went well.
That was thanks to the Conway police and fire departments, other city staffers and the Conway High School Anchor Club volunteers who stood along the race route making sure runners knew which way to go, according to Wood, who said one of the things she especially likes about the two-year-old race is that it attracts families, sometimes as many as three generations.
Wood says the race will definitely be back next year as its popularity spreads and Conway continues to establish itself as a popular place for Christmas events, adding some people like to shop, but there are people who really do enjoy running.
“These events are really, really boosting our businesses in Conway,” Wood said.
After the race, she said she checked things out at Chanti’s and found it packed with customers.
“Downtown Conway wants to be part of the Christmas scene in Horry County and we feel like we’ve made a really good effort to hold things that people really want to attend,” she said.
Also distinguishing themselves this past week were:
■ Michelle Richardson, 60, who finished first in the Female Masters division (for all runners age 40 and up) with a time of 32 minutes and 10 seconds;
■ Michael Hays, 44, who finished first in the Male Masters (for all runners age 40 and up) with a time of 23 minutes and 48 seconds;
■ Payton Black, 10-years-old, who finished first in the Female 10 and Under age group with a time of 31 minutes and 35 seconds;
■ Gibson Porter, 9, finished first in the Male 10 and Under division with a time of 42 minutes and 31 seconds;
■ Gracelyn Long, an 11-year-old, who finished first in the Female 11-14 age group with a time of 31 minutes and 29 seconds;
■ Eleven-year-old Brewer Cannon, who finished first in the Male 11-14 age group with a time of 32 minutes and 2 seconds;
■ Anna Altman Dingle, 15, who finished first in the Female 15-19 age group with a time of 46 minutes and 16 seconds;
■ Morgan Cook, 16, who finished first in the Male 15-19 division with a time of 35 minutes and 28 seconds;
■ Kayla Jordan, 27, who finished first in Female 20-29 age group with a time of 29 minutes and 40 seconds;
■ Micah McCord, 25, who finished first in the Male 20-29 age division with a time of 32 minutes and 42 seconds;
■ Kelli Willoughby, 36, who finished first in the Female 30-39 age division with a time of 28 minutes and 42 seconds;
■ Joshua Hardwick, who finished first in the Male 30-39 age group with a time of 23 minutes and 55 seconds;
■ Cat VonBlack, 44, who finished first in the Female 40-49 category with a time of 32 minutes and 14 seconds;
■ Stevie Brown, 43, who finished first in the Male 40-49 age group with a time of 27 minutes and 16 seconds;
■ Fifty-two year old Karen Coleman, who finished first in the 50-59 age division with a time of 34 minutes and 27 seconds;
■ Franklin Smith, 59, finished first in the Male 50-59 age group with a time of 28 minutes and 28 second;
■ Mary Lott, 63, who finished first in the Female 60-69 age group with a time of 34 minutes and 55 seconds;
■ Guy Dozier, 66, who finished first in the Male 60-69 age division, with a time of 33 minutes and 20 seconds;
■ Patsy Ringler, 71, who finished first in the Female 70-79 age division with a time of 35 minutes and 36 seconds; and
■ Bruce Donegan, 71, who finished first in Male 70-79 age division with a time of 36 minutes and 23 seconds.
As the only runner in his division, 84-year-old George Hagan, took first place in the Male over 80 age division with a time of 40 minutes and 47 seconds, which also put him in 40th place against all the men in the race.
Costume winners were Shelley Sarvis, first place; Linda Dabbondanza, second place; and Heather Underwood, third place.