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Bishop, Myers top finishers in 5K
Ray Bishop - finish.jpg
Ray Bishop kicks in the jets as he wins the 39th annual Stars and Stripes Fun Run with a time of 17:49 on Saturday in downtown McMinnville.

The Silver and Gold Band wasn't playing in the background and pancakes weren't flying off the grill.

In a scaled-down Fourth of July celebration in downtown McMinnville on Saturday, the 39th annual Stars and Stripes Fun Run and Walk took center stage, which was fine with Ray Bishop.

With a modest crowd watching the race, Bishop crossed the finish line first to win the 5K in 17:49. It's the third time he's won the event.

"I was hoping to break 17 minutes," said Bishop, who teaches boxing classes for McMinnville Parks and Recreation. "That will be something to shoot for next year."

Bishop says he's changed his workout recently and only runs twice a week. But he combines that with high-intensity interval training four days a week.

Anne Hunter Myers seemed content with her time of 21:53 as she won the female portion of the 5K. She's won the race a number of times.

There were 108 entries, down from the normal of 190 to 200 people, according to organizer Jay Bragg.  He said that still put the race at over 50 percent of its usual participation, which he considers a good turnout considering the concerns about COVID-19.

The Rotary Club organizes the annual event as one of its two major fundraisers each year.

"This isn't a return to normal, but it is a chance to get out and enjoy the Fourth," said Noon Rotary Club president Shane Brock.

Linda Holder had car trouble Saturday morning, but she wasn't about to miss the race. She caught a ride downtown from a neighbor.

"I've done it every year for probably the last 20 years so I hated to miss it," said Holder. "I sign up as a runner but I end up doing both. It's more like a fast walk up some of those hills."

Jacob Graves, 9, won the kids division, a 1-mile loop around downtown. Jacob finished in 9:09.

"He's been running on the treadmill all week to prepare for this," said his mom, Rachael Graves. "He's pretty active anyway and plays a lot of basketball."

Amelia Gennings gave daughter Devyn a piggy back ride across the finish. "Her little legs gave out," said Amelia.

The overall atmosphere was somewhat subdued as the race is typically surrounded by the city's downtown Fourth of July celebration. But due to the uptick in coronavirus cases, most downtown activities were canceled, leaving the Fun Run to stand on its own.

"It's still a celebratory occasion," said Brock. "It's nice to get outside and promote a healthy activity."

Blane Jones was one of the participants who has recently adopted a more healthy lifestyle. He has given up sugary drinks, is watching what he eats, and has begun a regular exercise program. The results have been dramatic.

"I've lost 50 pounds since February," said Jones. "I was 215 and now I'm 165."