April 29, 2013

300 folks participate in second annual Ocracoke road run


It was an unofficial fitness day but official race day on Ocracoke on Saturday, April 27, as almost 300 local and off-island runners participated in the second annual Miller Lite Ocracoke Island 5K/10K road run to benefit three local organizations.

Alfonso “Chito” Guerrero, 32, of Ocracoke won the 10K race out of about 65 runners with a time of 37:04 minutes.  Guerrero repeated his win from last year when he won the inaugural event, which was only a 5K.  This year, race organizers simply had the runners repeat the 5K route twice for the 10K.

Lauren Holesh, 25, of Chapel Hill, was second overall and also won the women’s division of the 10K with a time of 37:41.

Not far behind Guerrero in the 10K were Joseph Carippoli , 46, of Avon with a time of 38:13 minutes, followed by Matt Devan, 38, of Ocracoke at 39:49 minutes.

Lulu Perez, 37, of Ocracoke, who was second in the women’s 5K last year, came in second in the women’s 10K at 45:20 minutes.  Meredith Lovely, 33, of Greenville was third at 46:33 minutes.  Perez also competed in the 5K and came in second in that with 22:27 minutes.

In the 5K, Keith Gray, 48, of Buxton was the men’s winner at 18:06 minutes.    Gray’s fiancÚ Angela Cothren, 31, also of Buxton, won the women’s division of the 5K with a time of 21:40 minutes.

Cothren and Perez repeated their wins from last year.  Third place winner was Danielle Ranno, 37, of Buxton with 24:47 minutes.

Second overall in the 5K was Craig Ruetzel, 52, of Ocracoke at 19:56 and third-place was Kevin Perez, 15, of Ocracoke at 20:01.

Guerrero will have a rival for the 10K crown next year with Gray. 

Gray said he had not known that this year’s event also included a 10K and was the first to bound through the finishing arch for the 5K, but he kept going to complete the 10K.  After the race, his time-keeping watch showed that his 10K time was 36:49.

“I thought the good runners would be in the 5K,” Gray said about his error as he and Cothren caught their breath and hydrated after the race.

But they and fellow off-islander Carippoli were enjoying the festivities outside Gaffer’s Sports Pub where the race began and ended.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Carippoli said. “I like running through the town, and the (race staff) along the route were very helpful.”

Race organizer Greg Honeycutt was busy during the race directing the racers to the correct lanes outside the pub, and his voice held out to announce all the winners.

Odyles Garcia, 9, of Ocracoke, won first place in the under 10 category. William Griffin, 71, won the 70 to 79 age group with a time of 30:51.

“I was hoping to run it in under 30 minutes,” Griffin said afterwards.

“I finished!” Tammy Tolson, 52, who was running competitively for the first time and was among a number of Ocracokers who said the same thing after the 5K.

Ryan Mason, 32, of Raleigh, who ran the 10K, echoed Tolson’s words.

“I’m finished and I did it under an hour,” Mason said. Her time was 56 minutes.

“My goal was to make it through,” said William Howard of Ocracoke. “I haven’t run like that since high school.”

“I was just trying to keep up with Matt (Devan),” said David Tweedie, 41, who ran his first 10K. “I feel good, but it’s not a run I do for pleasure.”

Devan, 38, of Ocracoke, was third overall winner of the 10K at 39:49.

Vera Buxton, 71, who was the only woman in the 5K 70-to-79 age category (and thus the winner), completed the course with fellow Ocracoker Jennifer Esham, who came in third in the 60-to-69 age group at 39:17 minutes. 

Buxton noted that some spectators along the way yelled encouragement.

“Al Scarborough yelled at us that he was already back and had taken a shower,” Buxton said.

A little more running didn’t faze Guerrero, who ran with his 4-year-old son Imanol in the one-mile Family Fun Run. They were among about 50 who made the trek from Gaffer’s to Ocracoke Coffee at Sunset and Back Road after the main races. 

Matteus Gilbert, 13, of Ocracoke, was the first to speed through the balloon arch on the shop’s parking lot.

Joelle LeBlanc, who with her husband Justin, owns the business, said they became a sponsor this year to make the Family Run a bit different.

Honeycutt was pleased with the entire event which, when after expenses should net about $25,000, which is more than double the amount raised last year.

“I’ve heard nothing but positives,” he said about the event. “It was not just tourists, but a lot of Ocracoke people who participated and enjoyed it.”

Half of the proceeds will go to Ocracoke’s community radio WOVV 90.1 FM and half will go to the Ocracoke School Boosters, Honeycutt said. Then, each will give back 10 percent to the nascent Ocracoke Community Park, which is building a baseball field in the area behind Howard’s Pub.

Next year, though, Honeycutt hopes that the event will raise close to $30,000 to be divided three ways among these local charities.

As the Family Fun Run concluded later in the morning, Vera Buxton rode by on her bicycle.

“I’ve got to get some exercise,” she said.

Official results can be found online at www.runtheeast.com


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