5K race circuit winners

5K race circuit winners

The first-time All Area 5K Championship Circuit concluded this past weekend with the Fisher Fair 5K. And the men’s championship came down to the wire.

The cumulative race times for the top three men after two 5Ks were within a minute of each other. Matt Hazel, 19, of Rantoul led his twin brother Chris by 54 seconds — with cumulative times of 34:51 and 35:45, respectively — while 16-year-old Nick Hess, also of Rantoul, was three seconds behind Chris.

“They had a little friendly rivalry coming into this,” said Chris Kaler, who organizes the Rockin the Runway 5K in Rantoul.

Kaler said Matt Hazel won the first Rantoul 5K two years ago, Chris won last year, and Matt won again this year.

Chris ran his best time for the race circuit at Fisher, with a 16:49. (His best time in a previous circuit race was 17:38.) It wasn’t enough, though, to overcome Matt’s lead in the series. Matt ran a 17:12 at Fisher, and won the circuit by 31 seconds over his brother.

Nick also ran his best race of the circuit at Fisher, with a 17:02.

“I think the fast field (at Fisher) helped,” Kaler said, noting none of the three were in the top three finishers at the race.

“We were hoping for something like this, where it’s kind of neck and neck there, so there was some competition,” he added. “We’re hoping next year (at Fisher), there’s something on the line.”

The race circuit was the idea of Tim Weitekamp of Rantoul, who helps coordinate that city’s Rockin the Runway 5K. The idea was that a circuit would help support all four races and increase interest in them.

The races in the circuit were the Gifford Community Celebration 5K, the Rantoul 5K, the Knights of Columbus 5K in Paxton, and the Fisher Fair 5K.

The participants needed to run three of the four races, and their cumulative times (the best three if a runner did all four races) determined the age group and overall winners of the circuit.

Kaler said 37 people entered the race circuit.

“For the first time around, we’re pleased with the way it went,” he said. “Obviously, we’d love to have 100.”

He said several runners told him they entered one of the races specifically because it was part of the circuit.

“One of the reasons we wanted to do this was to promote running, but also help out some of the smaller races,” Kaler said.

He said the race directors plan to offer the circuit championship again next year with the same four races. He said he heard from a lot of people who wanted to participate but didn’t find out about the race circuit in time. He’s hoping the circuit will have more participants next year.

And Kaler and Weitekamp hope to add another race to the circuit eventually.

Here are the circuit winners, their ages and their cumulative times:

Overall champions:
Jessica Franklin, 12, 1:05:30
Matt Hazel, 19, 52:03

Ages 13 and under:
Keely Smith, 12, 1:10:32
Caruso Craft, 12, 1:20:18

Ages 14-23:
Abigail Nielsen, 15, 1:10:13
Chris Hazel, 19, 52:34

Ages 24-33:
Beth Bennett, 26, 1:10:02
Tom Gelsthorpe, 29, 54:15

Ages 34-43:
Shelley Warner-Craft, 43, 1:33:12
Corey Plotner, 34, 55:54

Ages 44-53:
Sue Jean, 48, 1:13:26
Jeff Harrison, 45, 57:21

Ages 54-63:
Que Broadneax, 60, 1:11:12
Carl Larson, 55, 1:11:40

Ages 64 and up:
Dorothy Lawrence, 72, 1:21:49
Kenneth McMillen, 71, 1:09:07

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