COLUMBIA, SC – Sunshine, smiles and friendly competition abounded Saturday morning as runners and walkers participated in a charity road race that celebrated Richland County and benefitted the United Way of the Midlands.
Richland R.U.N.S., a 10K run and 5K run/walk, took place Saturday, Oct. 4, at the County’s Jim Hamilton–L.B. Owens Airport (CUB). About 70 registered walkers and runners gathered at the airport as morning broke, and by 7:45 a.m., 10K runners were weaving their way through the historic Rosewood community with 5K runners and walkers following after.
As participants turned the final corner toward the finish line, they were greeted with cheers and high fives from A.C. Flora High School ROTC students who volunteered their time at the event by manning water stations, distributing bibs and performing other duties.
Dave Geer, of Clemson, was not only the fastest 10K runner of the day, but his time – 37:23 – is a pending South Carolina state record for a runner age 60 or older. Thomas DeLage took second place with a time of 40:08 and Alex McDonald came in third for the men with a time of 41:44.
Sarah Merriman, of Columbia, took first in the women’s division of the 10K with a time of 57:40, followed by Lisa Smarr, 57:51, and Lori Uhrig, 58:14.
In the 5K race, Hunter Jarvis, of Blythewood, had the fastest time with 18:20, followed by John Kaminski, 19:07, and Ken Vowles, 19:10.
Meme Spurgeon, of Lexington, was the first woman to cross the finish line in the 5K with a time of 23:32, followed by Kathryn Ryan, 23:54, and Samantha McDonald, 24:00.
Geer, as the overall winner for the day, was awarded top prize: a private orientation flight courtesy of Eagle Aviation, the fixed-base operator at the airport, in addition to a prize bag. The top winners, male and female, of the 10K and 5K were presented with prize packages that included gifts from the South Carolina Philharmonic, Columbia City Ballet, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia International Festival, Town Theatre, Historic Columbia Foundation, Columbia Regional Sports Council and the Columbia Classical Ballet.
Every pre-registered race participant also was entered into a drawing for prize packs. Those four lucky winners were Fred Descy, David Firestone, Bob Daley and Brigette Sayster.
As runners, walkers and spectators waited for the results to be tallied, they perused several information booths set up at the airport that provided information about County services. The South Carolina Historic Aviation Foundation and the Richland County Sheriff’s Department also had their respective hangars open to the public, so community members could learn more about the County’s rich aviation history.
Richland R.U.N.S. is one of several events this year to mark the County’s 215 anniversary and celebrate the variety of communities that make Richland County a wonderful place to live, work and play. A community drop-in – another special anniversary event – is scheduled for Dec. 18.