There were champions crowned in two distances at the second annual Heller E. Lipsett Memorial on Sunday, but the real winners can be found on the grass and black-top surfaces at McParland today.
Approximately $2,500 was raised for the installation of an on-campus running path at the elementary school located on the corner of Northgate Drive and London Avenue.
“It felt good to keep her memory going. At the starting line, I was proud that we were able to keep this thing going ... keep her memory alive,” race director and McParland teacher Ben Theiss said. “It was a beautiful day and people were soaking it up. It was gorgeous out there.”
Nick Pulos and Ariana Avina topped their gender division in the 1-mile race, while Erik Alves and Jeni Coenenberg paced the 5-kilometer fields.
Though registration was about half of what the Lipsett Memorial attracted in its inaugural year, Theiss said the community walk/run generated profits that will go a long way toward improving the health and fitness culture on campus.
In time, the running path, which will be used by students and staff will would grow to include cross-training stations, such as pull-up bars and benches.
“This will be a chunk of it,” added Theiss, who is still awaiting word from the district office about material cost. “It’s a start.”
Currently, students, including the school’s cross-country team, use the adjacent park for most of their runs. The distance around Doxy Park is approximately a half-mile long.
On Sunday, Doxey Park was part of the backdrop for a road course divided into 1-mile and 5-kilometer circuits. Cheerleaders serenaded runners at the starting line, while McParland staff members helped in every phase of operation.
Pulos set the fastest time in the 1-mile race, winning in 5 minutes, 46 seconds. Avina finished hot on his heels in 5:55.
Alves was the fastest 5K finisher. He completed the race in 19:28, nearly four minutes faster than the female champion, Coenenberg. Her official time was 23:15.
Theiss had banked on about 300 participants toeing the line on Sunday morning, but wound up with about half that number.
“The event was a success,” he wrote in an email to the Bulletin, “but turnout was not as good as last year.”
Though he was left with a surplus of T-shirts and medals, he says all of those materials will be saved for next year’s event. He’s also looking for community sponsors to help offset the cost of staging a community walk/run.