George Cross was the first to cross the finish line in the inaugural running of the half-marathon event at Rina’s Run on May 10.
The Tracy runner conquered the 13.1-mile flat and fast course consisting of Caswell Sate Park in 1 hour, 22 minutes. Ripon’s Jeff Qualle, who created the course, was the top local finisher in the men’s division at 1:28.
The top overall winner in the women’s division was none other than Kristin Wiebe of Ripon. She clocked a 1:41.
According to Stephanie Hobbs, president of the Ripon Community Athletic Foundation – proceeds supported the stadium project at Ripon High – 143 runners and walkers took part in the half Marathon.
“(They) were greeted with beautiful wooden finisher medals,” she said, adding that all participants received the long-sleeved tech shirts.
In the 5K run, Jesse Santana took first place with time of 18:26. Kyle Bailey, 16, of Ripon was second overall. Among the 283 participants in the field, he clocked a 19:01.
The top female was Janice Kesterson of Oakdale (21:36).
“The 5K participants were all thrilled to receive a finisher’s medal,” Hobbs said.
Ripon Unified Superintendent Louise Johnson along with school board President Donna Parks, Trustee Ernie Tyhurst, coupled with the City of Ripon Mayor Dean Uecker, and Councilman Jake Parks were on hand to distribute the medals at the finish line.
County Supervisor Ken Vogel held the honor as starter of the 5K run while Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen did likewise for the half Marathon.
“No matter the finishing time, there were many stories of first and successes that crossed the finish line at Stouffer Field,” Hobbs said.
She was inspired by Billy Borst, who is a senior at Gregori High in Modesto. He competed in track despite having Cerebral Palsy. Hobbs read about Borst in one of the local publications, sending him an invitation to participate in the annual Rina’s Run.
“Not only did Billy and his wonderfully supportive family come to conquer the 5K, but Billy, who was given a donation check by his sponsor Hi-Tec shoes, chose the RHS stadium project as a recipient,” Hobbs said.
She noted that Borst was also granted a lifetime fee waiver for Rina’s Run.
This year’s event featured over 200 volunteers coupled with generous donors, Hobbs added.
Rina’s Run wrapped its sixth year of supporting the RCAF endeavor of modernizing the RHS stadium.
Plans for 2014 is already in the works, said Hobbs.