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Over 200 runners compete in Stars and Stripes Fun Run
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Over 200 runners decided the best way to beat the heat July 4 was to generate their own breeze by taking part in the 31st annual Star and Stripes Fun Run in downtown McMinnville.
A large crowd gathered at 7:30 a.m. to participate in the 5K run and walk, along with a few individuals opting to take the shorter one-mile path.
Facing a challenging new course, local resident Jason McVey won the coveted Danny Stubblefield Memorial Trophy by finishing the race in 16 minutes, 57 seconds.
Reilly Caten was the top overall female finisher, completing the 3.2-mile run in 22:43. Chaz Miller received the trophy for the top male finisher, running the course in 17:35.
The Masters division, which included all runners over 40, was won by Robert Davis with a time of 18:05 and Leslie Hoover, who finished in 23:58.
McVey stopped a two-year win streak for Jacob Carrigan, a Nashville resident who did not compete in this year’s event.
McVey cruised to victory by turning in a blazing time on the new path.
For several years, the Stars and Stripes Fun Run started at Court Square and traveled to McMinnville Civic Center and back to where it began.
This year, runners were directed to Riverfront Park and returned back to the streets at Frank G. Clement Bridge by way of the greenway.
By the time McVey returned to Main Street and started his final push, no other runner was in sight.
Following the race, McVey received the six-foot-tall Danny Stubblefield Memorial Trophy. The trophy was named after Stubblefield, an avid runner and overall winner of the Stars and Stripes 5K run several times in the 1980s.
David Marttala, who chaired the event for the 12th straight year, thought the event was a success, despite numbers being a little lower this year.
“Our numbers were a little down from last year when we set a record for participants,” said Marttala. “I think some of that had to do with the event falling in the middle of the week, along with the record high temperatures we’ve seen.
“It was still great to see so many runners come out and enjoy the new course. We’d like to thank everybody who came out and helped make the event a success.”
The event, co-sponsored by Dr Pepper and McMinnville Noon Rotary, had seen a record number of runners the past two years, including over 300 participants in the 5K and one-mile events last year.
Most of the 200 runners agreed the new course provided a challenge, as did the temperature, which soared to over 90 degrees before the completion of the race.
Christian Wilkinson, one of several Warren County High School athletes who took part in the race, thought the addition of the greenway provided quite an opposition to runners.
“When you start back up to the road and hit that winding hill, everything gets tougher,” said Wilkinson.
Meanwhile, avid runner Jared Foster thought the heat was the most grueling part of the event.
“If there was one word to describe the run, ‘hot’ would be that word,” said Foster.
While several runners set out to win the Danny Stubblefield Memorial Trophy, others seemed to be out enjoying a nice morning stroll.
Sisters Caroline and Laura Beth McKinley ran side-by-side the entire race until the final 100 yards. With the finish line in sight, both McKinleys started a full sprint to see who was faster. Caroline, the younger of the two, won by a step.
Though McVey received quite an ovation at the finish line, perhaps the biggest cheer came when Bryant Ralph jogged across the final line.
The 4-year-old crossed the line to a chorus of cheers after completing the one-mile run.
Mike and David Netherton were one of several parent-child combos who participated in the event. Mike opted to compete in the one-mile event with his son and both claimed the top spots in their age groups.
Other winners in the one-mile run were Abby Sanders, Ivey Jones, Sarah Lockhart and Kristie Sanders.
Male and female top finishers in each of the 5K’s age divisions included (listed in order of finish):
12-under male — Grant Hitchcock, Matt Bonner and Nathan Simmons.
12-under female  — Kara Caten and Katelyn Smith.
14-19 male — Amiel Emerson, Blade Campbell and Brady Adams.
14-19 female — Felicia Caten, Ella Hale and Elizabeth Oxley.
20-24 male - Jared Foster, Jahir Hernandez and Kevin Harring.
20-24 female — Amanda Clark, Shelbi Young and Nicole Austin.
25-29 male - Jason Austin, Justin Cotten and Daren Oakley.
25-29 female — Rachel Graves, Natalie Gipson and Becky Medlen.
30-34 male — Fernando Greene, Yoshitake Takahashi and Caleb Graves.
30-34 female - Leanne Dibrell, Emily Graves and Mandy Stuart.
35-39 male - Travis Crouch, Ben Myers and Todd Sauer.
35-39 female — Michelle Trujillo, Tracy Adams and Claudia Simmons.
40-44 male — Jeff Bandy, Blaine Wilcher and Chris Maples.
40-44 female — Paige Northcutt, Julia Noblin and Leslie Bonner.
45-49 male - John Little, Tommy Kell and Jeff McKinley.
45-49 female - Jennifer Whitley, Rhonda Galligan and Kim Wilkinson.
50-54 male - Freddie Hoover, Wade Anderson and Brent Foster.
50-54 female - Starr McVey.
55-59 male — Jerry Adcock, Jim Duvall and Jim Tate.
55-59 female —Betty Troop and Linda Ray.
60+ male — J.C. Kelly, Richard Evans and Gerald Goodwin.
60+ female — Nancy Priest.