Droves of runners, supporters, and volunteers descended upon Kelsey-Hutchinson Founders Park on Saturday for the 7th annual Rotary Club of Highlands Twilight 5k/10k. After the race, runners drank cold beer and jammed out to High 5.
Almost $20k was raised to help purchase more ActivPanels for Highlands School, in addition to the ‘smartboards’ already purchased by the Advanced Highlands Education Committee (AHEC).
Charlie Ledford of Highlands was the top finisher in this year’s first 10k race with the best overall time of 39.14 and said he showed up to support Rotary and Highlands School.
“It’s always a goal to finish in the top, but it means more being a local because I care about supporting our Rotary and our School,” said Ledford.
Race Director Derek Taylor said they raised approximately the same amount as last year despite having fewer runners and deemed it a success.
“It was absolutely great, I have no complaints,” said Taylor. “I want to thank the volunteers, Rotarians, sponsors, Highlands Police and Fire Departments, and thank you to the entire community. We know they’re out here because they want to support the School.”
Graham Blank set a new 5k-course record with 16:56, and Will Mathiowdis ran with a stroller and won his age group and the stroller category with 20:15. However, Mathiowdis did not beat the age-course record from last year, which he set.
Part-time Highlands resident Chris Carneal has been running the Twilight 5k for the past five years with his family and said he wouldn’t miss it.
“School starts soon so this gets us back in shape and gets us going,” said Carneal. “We’re always looking for opportunities to run as a family and give back to the community. This race is fantastic.”
Gajan Retnasaba ran the 5k without shoes and said that’s how he likes to run.
“It’s much cooler,” said Retnasaba. “The breeze feels amazing between your toes with each stride. I’ve just done it forever, I love it. And it’s great seeing everyone out here supporting this. There’s music, beer, friends, why would you be anywhere else.”
After the race, High 5 rocked it out on stage well into the evening.
To see full race results click HERE.