Much like any aggressive race, Saturday’s Mayberry Half Marathon, 10K and 5K in Mount Ethereal produced an array of winners — however the neighborhood at giant arguably took residence the most important prize.
“This occasion is large for our sports activities tourism efforts right here in Mount Ethereal,” metropolis Parks and Recreation Director Darren Lewis mentioned Saturday morning whereas standing close to the beginning line for the trio of races on North Foremost Road downtown.
Minutes later, almost 300 runners would hit the pavement in earnest for the half marathon (13.1-mile) portion of the occasion, as these within the 10K (6.2 miles) and 5K (3.1 miles) races awaited their flip below a staggered format.
Regardless of temperatures within the higher 30s greeting the beginning of the primary race at 8 a.m., greater than 800 runners participated altogether, whose presence not solely benefited native parks and recreation however the metropolis as an entire, Lewis mentioned.
That was an particularly welcome improvement for 2 aspects of the native economic system which have suffered in the course of the pandemic, eating and lodging institutions. This was aggravated by the truth that the Mayberry occasion was not held in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“All of the eating places have been extraordinarily busy,” Lewis, who is also serving as interim metropolis supervisor, mentioned of the additional Friday night time site visitors generated by the inflow of contributors for the Mayberry Half Marathon, 10K and 5K.
They got here from close to and much — “twenty completely different states proper now,” he mentioned as registration continued.
The influence additionally was realized with the resort sector, together with Hampton Inn on Rockford Road, Lewis added in relaying reviews from Lenise Lynch, the final supervisor there.
“She mentioned they have been about bought out,” he associated.
With normal entry charges for runners starting from $25 to $60 relying on one’s age and the occasion concerned, the Mayberry Half Marathon, 10K and 5K generated effectively greater than $20,000, with proceeds sometimes used for native parks and recreation packages.
Close by rivals excel
Together with the financial victory for the neighborhood, Saturday’s gathering supplied an opportunity for native athletes to tell apart themselves.
Though rivals got here from many states, the highest female and male finishers for the half marathon have been people near residence.
Eli Roberson, 29, of Stuart, Virginia was the general winner of the 13.1-mile occasion with a time of 1 hour, 20 minutes and 48 seconds — a tempo of 6:10 per mile.
“Nicely, we began out pretty conservative,” Roberson mentioned of negotiating the course usually described as flat and quick which began downtown, headed to Riverside Park after which continued alongside town greenway system earlier than looping again to the park.
“I believed I had a snug lead,” he mentioned of the gap between himself and second-place finisher Chuck Inman, one other Virginia runner from Chesapeake.
However Roberson realized Inman was closing in “and actually needed to push it,” he mentioned of going right into a ultimate kick to complete 11 seconds forward of Inman.
It was Roberson’s first Mayberry half marathon.
Megan Ballentine, 41, of Mount Ethereal, competing in her first-ever half marathon, proved to be the highest feminine finisher Saturday with a time of 1 hour, 37 minutes and 55 seconds.
That was good for twenty third place total.
Marshall Love, 17, of Harmony, gained the 10K race at a time of 35 minutes, 55 seconds.
Maleah Pinyan, 33, of Salisbury, was tops amongst females and fourth total at 39 minutes, 7 seconds.
The 5K winner was one other native resident, Kevin Pack, 25, of Dobson, whose time was 17 minutes, 32 seconds.
Sharon White, 58, from Lenoir Metropolis, Tennessee, was the highest feminine finisher at 23:57 and twenty second total.
“Deputy” takes half
Maybe probably the most notable instance involving the merger of sports activities and tourism on show Saturday was the apparel Vanessa Martin of Charleston, West Virginia, selected for operating the half marathon.
Martin got here wearing a deputy’s uniform that would have been worn by Barney Fife on “The Andy Griffith Present” — along with her ensemble additionally together with a gun holster, badge and hat.
Whereas the continuing reputation of the tv collection starring the native native is commonly what attracts many individuals to city, Martin selected to combine that along with her participation within the half marathon.
“It’s Andy Griffith — it’s the Mayberry race, child,” the longtime fan of the present mentioned in explaining her alternative of operating attire. “That is the primary time I’ve accomplished this race.”
And Lewis indicated that somebody carrying a deputy’s uniform additionally was a primary for the run.
Nevertheless, Martin, 48, who works for the Konica copier firm, was not available Saturday simply to offer comedian reduction — she is a seasoned runner with a protracted checklist of half marathons on her resume.
“That is my third one in 5 weeks,” she mentioned of Saturday’s occasion.
Saturday’s Mayberry Half Marathon, 10K and 5K drew virtually as many whole runners because the final, Twelfth-annual occasion in 2019, 822, which stands because the all-time file turnout.
Lewis mentioned challenges have been posed in resurrecting the race after its cancellation in 2020.
He defined that additional advertising and marketing was employed for this 12 months’s occasion, which additionally confronted an impediment resulting from different races usually held within the spring being cancelled in early 2021 because the pandemic persevered.
“So everyone rescheduled their dates to this fall,” Lewis mentioned of the competitors the Mayberry Half Marathon, 10K and 5K confronted from different areas.
But as soon as once more, a contented final result was realized in “Mayberry.”