LAKE OF THE WOODS — There was no snow on the ground and there wasn’t a hail storm, meaning there wasn’t a repeat of the 2018 Lake of the Woods (Fun Run)?
Instead, the runners ran in near pristine running conditions, blue skies, moderate temperatures and a slight breeze, which manifested into an uptick in runners, record-breaking runs and children showing off their speed at the 2019 Lake of the Woods Saturday.
More than 160 racers, ranging from ages 6 to 71,- made the run around the Lake of the Woods in the Winema National Forest.
“We had a great turnout this year,” said Jeremy Westover, one of the race coordinator. “It was definitely better this year. The weather cooperated. Last year we were hailed on and snowed on and people were huddled under canopies. This year was glorious.”
It was a youth movement in the 5K.
Four of the top six finishers were under the age of 16. Thomas Hatcher (14) of Glide crossed the line first with a time of 20 minutes, 54 seconds, Nolan Earnest (16) of Klamath Falls finished with a time of 20:54 and Ava Robinson (12) of Medford finished in 22:37, good for third place.
The average age of the top six finishers this year was 22. A year ago it was 34.
The 5K also featured a pair of 8-year-olds finishing in the top 20. Chloe Drouse (26:39) finished 16th, and Olivia Vaughan (27:41) finished 20th.
“They were phenomenal,” Westover said. “They were kids that won the 5K, that rarely happens.
While the youth dominated the 5K race, residents of the Oregon City of Sunshine ruled the 15K.
The top six finishers — Mike Hensley, Richters Warnick, Jon Fitch, Amber Singh, Mariel Hensley and Robert Vannarath — all hail from Klamath Falls.
Hensley finished with a time of 55:34, followed by Warnick with a 57:44 effort. Fitch finished 19 seconds under an hour with a 59:41 time to round out the top three. Hensley’s time was a record-setter, and Warnick had the race’s second-best time ever.
Singh’s time of 1:00.44 is believed to be the fast time for a female runner in the race’s history, which dates back several decades. She beat her own record of 1:02.49, which she set in 2017.
“I felt really good today,” said Singh, who has competed in the race for the past seven years.“I beat my time from a couple of years ago. It crossed my time a couple of times, especially those last couple of miles.”