Overcast and cool, the 38th annual Burns Park Run, in partnership with the Ann Arbor Track Club, drew nearly 1,100 competitors Sunday May 1st, headquartered at the Burns Park Warming Hut, Ann Arbor.
The neighborhood course, one loop for the 5K, two for the 10K, known for its simple beauty, is deceptively challenging even for its most seasoned competitors.
“I love the hills,” grinned veteran runner, Michael Mester, referring most specifically to the mini mountains found shortly after miles two and four on otherwise subdued courses.
Overall 5K leaders, Scott Lieberman and Anna Vogel dominated said hills in their winning times of 17:04 and 19:32 while 10K champions Austin Taylor, 36:15 and Natalie MacKenzie, 38:16, deflated them twice.
Ted Gillespie and Samantha Daly championed the 5K Walk division in their respective winning times of 32:35 and 36:48.
A race environment that is as relaxed as it is competitive, Ann Arbor Track Club President, Mitch Garner, deems it, “one of the greatest community races in the United States of America,” and year after year, the turnout of athletes, volunteers, sponsors and community members alike back up Garner’s sentiment.
Three year old, Darwin Cochell, waited impatiently with mom, Vesna, for the start of the half mile fun run, excited for his very first race experience while soon to be eighty-four year old, Harrison Hensley, a legendary icon of Michigan’s running community, “waddled on” for yet another age division victory.
And no matter individual intentions, inspiration for greatness was soaked up by one and all on hand to witness this year’s celebrity athlete, University of Michigan Alumni, NCAA Division I All-American, Olympic qualifier, Jeff Porter, who led a pre race warm up for the Burns Park Elementary PTO Walk & Talk Team.
The race, a fundraiser for the Burns Park Elementary PTO programs, ever more about community, additionally offers “optional registration kickback to other school PTO’s” by means of their Run For The Schools Program.
Summing up the morning well was David Becker who admittedly “much prefers to cycle his run.” Becker, proud father of his six year old fun run finisher volunteered his services as lead bike for the 10K race noting –
“It’s about the community being together around a healthy event for all ages – dogs too!”
Complete results and information on the 2017 39th annual Burns Park Run, can be found at http://burnsparkrun.org