167 runners compete in first annual Ocracoke Island 5K benefit run
…WITH SLIDE SHOW
By CONNIE LEINBACH
Organizers of the first annual Ocracoke Island 5K benefit run were
thrilled at the turnout for this new island event on Saturday, April 28.
One hundred sixty-seven runners of all ages, with 45 from Ocracoke, ran
the three-mile course under cloudy skies raising more than $10,000 for
two local nonprofits -- community radio station WOVV 90.1 FM and
the Ocracoke School Booster Club.
While 48 medals were awarded in various age categories, the winner of
the race was Ocracoke resident Alfonso “Chito” Guerro, who bounded
across the finish line at Gaffer’s Sports Pub with an official time of
He was followed by Keith Gray of Buxton, with a time of 18:16
minutes. Third-place winner was Joe Caroppoli of Avon, in 18:19
Lulu Perez of Ocracoke was the top female runner with a time of 21:42
minutes. It was her first 5K race, she said after finishing.
Her daughter, Karen Perez, 12, was the second-place female at 23:11 and Angela Cothren of Buxton was third at 23:19 minutes.
“It’s nice to see all these people supporting this,” said Ocracoke
School Principal Walter Padgett, who ran the race in 26.35
minutes. “For the first year, this has gone off without a hitch.
Gregg Honeycutt, race organizer and emcee, was pleased with the event.
“We started this four months ago and have runners from all over North
Carolina, as well as Virginia, Maryland, and New Jersey,” he said at
race headquarters outside Gaffer’s. “We got a ton of compliments,
and we already have the date for next year, which will be Saturday,
He also said that next year, the organizers will add a 10K race, in addition to the 5K race.
Among the runners and walkers was 87-year-old Ocracoke resident Mackie Bell, who received a medal in the 70 and older category.
“I’m a stroller,” she said before the race.
At its end, she rolled up in the passenger seat of a golf cart, but got
off and walked through the finish gate at a time of 45:30 minutes to
cheers from the dozens of spectators. Bell can be seen daily
walking three or four miles each day in the village.
Paige Spence, 7, was the youngest in the race and had a time of 52
minutes. But hers wasn’t the slowest. That distinction went to
Ruth Fordon and Diana Dell, both of Ocracoke, who walked the course in
William Griffin, 70, was first-place in the male 70-plus age category
with a time of 31:29 minutes. He noted that he’d had heart bypass
surgery a year and a half ago.
“I’m in the “bypass” category,” he joked about his first time in a 5K.
People along the route cheered the runners as well, noted John Gilbert,
of Alexandria, Va., who, with his wife, Dolores, ran his first 5K
race. Dolores, who is not a novice race runner, was third in the
women’s 50 to 59 age group with a time of 27:59 minutes.
“It was great to see all the folks outside in the village, Zillie’s
(Island Pantry) and the Coffee Shop cheering us on,” Gilbert said.
“It was very motivational,” added third-place finisher Caroppoli, a
fine artist and veteran runner. “I loved the course. It was very
Debbie Mahoney, 57, of Prince George, Va., was among a group of four
women on a girls’ weekend to the island expressly to run in the race.
Not a runner, she said she didn’t train for Saturday’s event, but was
happy with her time of 45:02 minutes. She sipped a beer outside
Gaffer’s along with the others.
“It’s our reward,” she said about the early morning malt beverage.
Shea Youell, 23, a teacher at Ocracoke School, was fourth place overall
with a time of 19:10. He runs with the school’s after-school
running club, along with coach Kitty Mitchell, who also ran in the race
and placed second in the women’s 50 to 59 age group with a time of
“We had a good showing for Ocracoke School,” he said.
Ann Warner, owner of Howard’s Pub and Raw Bar Restaurant also competed
and won first place in the 50 to 59 age group with at time of 25
“It’s such a treat to have a wholesome, early morning athletic event
with all these age groups coming together,” she said. “It’s good
to have a positive, healthy event.”
Official results for all the age categories are listed on the website http://www.ocracokeisland5krun.org/index.asp
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