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One of the more popular running events among Twin County and regional athletes had a distinctly local flavor at the awards presentation Saturday.
Runners hailing from Galax filled the top three overall female finishing positions and two of the top three male spots at the New River Trail-Dr. Ed Dannelly 10K run, sponsored by the Galax Recreation Department and held on the New River Trail State Park.
Though number of runners and 5K walkers was down to 133 from the previous two years’ totals of 189 and 195 – two largest turnouts in the event’s 15 years – the event continues to grow in popularity from a starting point of about 50 runners at the inaugural race 15 years ago, and the leaders at the finish were familiar ones from recent events.
Josh Fridley repeated as the overall male winner, trimming more than a minute off his winning time of a year ago to take the top spot with a time of 38 minutes, 37 seconds. Gregg Dean of Martinsville improved upon his third-place effort of 2012 to take the runner-up position Saturday with a time of 40:40, and Brian Miller of Galax claimed third in the male division in 40:52.
It was the fourth straight year finishing among the top three for Fridley, a former Galax High School distance runner and a recent Liberty University graduate.
Galax’s Lacey Brown became a first-time winner of the event, leading the women finishers with a time of 45:38 and finishing 12th overall. Jes McCurdy and Jennifer Laws, both of Galax, finished second and third, respectively, McCurdy in 49:13 and Laws in 49:17. Laws, a senior at Galax High School and a cross country/distance runner, cracked the top three for the first time after placing fourth in 2011.
Seventy-three runners completed the 10K, with SATs and some invitational meets preventing several high schoolers from competing. Runners were greeted by perfect conditions though, with cool temperatures, no wind and a very light mist descending near the race’s end.
Some notable performances included the 21st-place finish by 11-year-old Luke White, who hit the afterburners the final quarter-mile to post a time of 50:25. One of the race’s two 11-year-olds, White was closely trailed by the field’s eldest competitor as 66-year-old Douglas Brunner ran a 53:28 to place 25th.
In addition to the 73 runners, 60 more participated in the 5K walk, with ‘walk’ being more or less an optional term. Jason Wood, Luke Morris and Drew Morris hustled the entire 3.1 miles to finish in less than 30 minutes, led by Wood’s time of 26:01.
The race started and finished at the Dannelly Fitness Park, and all proceeds will benefit the park.
“We at the Galax Recreation Department would like to thank all of the sponsors and volunteers who helped make this year’s race possible,” said race organizer and assistant rec. director Tony Quesenberry.