The community runs, walks together at the City Point 5k
By Jacob Vaughan
Oct 31, 2012, 11:23
photo by Jacob Vaughan A group of walkers crosses the finish line at the City Point 5K River Run and Walk on Saturday in Hopewell. The annual event welcomed participants of all stripes and levels of speed.
More than 1,000 feet traveling more than 1,000 feet.
That was the scene in Hopewell on Saturday morning as people of all ages joined in the 16th annual City Point 5K River Run and Walk.
According to race director Ronnie Parker, the 3.1-mile trek had attracted 501 participants at last count.
Hundreds more turned up to enjoy a festival-like atmosphere that included face painting, costume contests and a live band. In addition, upwards of 300 children took part in the “Kids Fun Run,” a one-mile dash that preceded the main event.
“It’s about the spirit and getting people out here doing healthy things outside,” said Hopewell Mayor Christina Luman-Bailey. “That’s what makes it really special for the community.”
Last year, an estimated 300 runners showed up for the rain-dampened 5K. Parker said this year’s race might have produced an even larger increase in participation if not for an ominous forecast courtesy of the looming Hurricane Sandy.
Still, the event is growing with each year, both numerically and in terms of its impact on the community.
“It’s very important because it shows that Hopewell is a healthy town,” Parker said. “We want people to come every year.”
Luman-Bailey, a 5K participant in her own right, lauded the outing as an opportunity for “intergenerational community building.” The benefits of the occasion, she said, are not confined to the city limits.
“We have people actually coming from far away for this,” Luman-Bailey said. “It’s excellent. It gets the Hopewell community out there, brings back memories and builds memories all at the same time.”
Runners from as far away as Norfolk and Emporia were in attendance.
The community atmosphere and family-oriented events were complemented by high-quality competition. Scores of fleet-footed athletes toed the starting line with hopes of negotiating the scenic riverside loop in the fastest time.
Hopewell native Scott Honaker, 28, claimed that distinction with a time of 16:18.76. Marc Breidenbaugh (Mechanicsville), last year’s winner, finished hot on his heels in 16:32.08 while Tyler Spence (Fort Lee) rounded out the top three with a time of 17:52.30.
The victory was the first in a competitive race for Honaker, a 2002 graduate of Hopewell High School.
“I’ve finished second a couple of times,” Honaker said. “But come to think of it, this is the first time I’ve won. It’s pretty awesome.”
Charity Spencer of Chesterfield outpaced the rest of the women’s field by logging a time of 21:10.58, followed by Kaysea Ramsey (Disputanta, 22:47.92) and Brenda Beck (Prince George, 24:05.83), respectively.
Parker said the “Kids Fun Run” drew a record-breaking number of children, most of them from either Patrick Copeland Elementary School or Dupont Elementary School. Dr. Clifford Morris presented those two schools with a $500 check for winning the Mayor’s Cup, a participation contest amongst the city’s schools.
The hordes of children took off in a gaggle at 8 a.m. with the fastest finishers crossing the line in under seven minutes.
“You can’t help but have a huge smile on your face when you see them,” Luman-Bailey said. “That was great.”
photo by Jacob Vaughan Jason Lipp (left), Susan Lipp (center) and Marissa Lipp (right) pose with their winner’s medals and their award for “Best Group Costume.” The Chester-based family members all finished first in their age bracket in the City Point 5K River Run and Walk on Saturday in Hopewell. Jason finished first in the 13-15 bracket, Susan topped the women’s 45-49 division and Marissa claimed the girls 12 and under bragging rights.
Those interested in running next year’s race also are invited to join the City Point training team. The program lasts eight weeks and incrementally prepares participants for the rigors of race day.
This year’s team had 15 members, many of whom posted personal-best times on Saturday.
“One of the biggest benefits was we were all accountable to each other,” said training team member Cailee Mallahan. “The motivation really came from being part of the team.”