Early Saturday morning on May 4, the parking lot at Granville’s Hook & Ladder Fire House started to fill up with volunteers carrying plates of cookies and brownies, along with runners checking out their bright orange race shirts in preparation for the Granville Area Lioness Club’s “Run for the Community 5K.”
The air was starting to get warm, and the sun was shining bright. As the runners stretched and checked their shoes, then ran easily through the streets to warm up, you could see the camaraderie that groups of runners tend to possess. Small groups would form, and runners would be discussing their shoes, socks and future training plans. Others would be seeking advice from those who they knew would be a wealth of information on the subject.
Just before 10 a.m., the “Grand Poobah” race director Phil Jessen called the 36 runners and other onlookers for his pre-race instructions. As always, Phil had an instructional and funny speech before the run, instructing runners that the road would be open and traffic would be going by, so stay to the right, and be safe. He also told the runners that the course had been officially measured, not by one wheel as standard, but by four – the four wheels of his little yellow car.
At 10 a.m., the runners were lined up at the start line on Potter Avenue, waiting for the whistle to start the race. At the whistle they were off, a charge headed toward Vermont. At 1.5 miles in, race volunteers Heidi Whitney and Zoe Doran were there to keep runners safe with traffic control, and to cheer them on with a high-five or words of encouragement.
At 18.25 minutes into the race, when some were only at the turnaround point, Granville’s own Brandon Thomas was finishing the race in first place. Not far behind at 18.42 minutes was John Ehntholt and at 19.25, Jedidiah Mead, second and third place respectively, both also from Granville. For the women, Danielle Cherniak finished with a strong 21.54 minutes for first place in the female division, with Enka Eckrote finished second in 23.23 and Gwynne Cosh finished in 25.45 for a third place finish.
Runners were congratulated in a lively awards ceremony following the final finisher. As all in attendance were enjoying Phil’s “Almost Famous five alarm chili,” racers were called up to receive their medals and awards. Phil remarked that he was “astounded and gratified by the support of the businesses in the community.” He commented that over 30 local businesses contributed, and these donations will fund the majority of the Lioness Club’s community service projects throughout the year.
On a busy weekend such as the first weekend in May usually is in our Village, it is amazing to see the support that is found in volunteers, and runners, and the community.
As runners, we were able to see the work of the Little League players and coaches collecting donations for their annual coin drop, the local police department controlling traffic for the Little League and the runners, the Lioness Club volunteers, community volunteers, and the general public in donating not only their money but their time as well. Weekends like this remind you what a great community we live in.