Just like any aggressive race, Saturday’s Mayberry Half Marathon, 10K and 5K in Mount Ethereal produced an array of winners — however the neighborhood at massive arguably took dwelling 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 stated Saturday morning whereas standing close to the beginning line for the trio of races on North Foremost Avenue 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 underneath 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 stated.
That was an particularly welcome growth for 2 aspects of the native financial system which have suffered through 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, stated of the additional Friday evening visitors generated by the inflow of contributors for the Mayberry Half Marathon, 10K and 5K.
They got here from close to and much — “twenty totally different states proper now,” he stated as registration continued.
The influence additionally was realized with the resort sector, together with Hampton Inn on Rockford Avenue, Lewis added in relaying experiences from Lenise Lynch, the overall supervisor there.
“She stated they have been about offered out,” he associated.
With customary 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 properly greater than $20,000, with proceeds usually used for native parks and recreation applications.
Close by opponents excel
Together with the financial victory for the neighborhood, Saturday’s gathering supplied an opportunity for native athletes to differentiate themselves.
Though opponents got here from many states, the highest female and male finishers for the half marathon have been of us near dwelling.
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 stated of negotiating the course typically described as flat and quick which began downtown, headed to Riverside Park after which continued alongside the town greenway system earlier than looping again to the park.
“I believed I had a cushty lead,” he stated of the space 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 stated of going right into a closing 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 general.
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 general 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 general.
“Deputy” takes half
Maybe essentially 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 working the half marathon.
Martin got here wearing a deputy’s uniform that might have been worn by Barney Fife on “The Andy Griffith Present” — together with her ensemble additionally together with a gun holster, badge and hat.
Whereas the continued recognition of the tv sequence starring the native native is usually what attracts many individuals to city, Martin selected to combine that together with her participation within the half marathon.
“It’s Andy Griffith — it’s the Mayberry race, child,” the longtime fan of the present stated in explaining her alternative of working attire. “That is the primary time I’ve performed 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 supply comedian reduction — she is a seasoned runner with a protracted record of half marathons on her resume.
“That is my third one in 5 weeks,” she stated of Saturday’s occasion.
Saturday’s Mayberry Half Marathon, 10K and 5K drew nearly as many complete runners because the final, Twelfth-annual occasion in 2019, 822, which stands because the all-time document turnout.
Lewis stated challenges have been posed in resurrecting the race after its cancellation in 2020.
He defined that further advertising was employed for this 12 months’s occasion, which additionally confronted an impediment on account of different races usually held within the spring being cancelled in early 2021 because the pandemic endured.
“So everyone rescheduled their dates to this fall,” Lewis stated of the competitors the Mayberry Half Marathon, 10K and 5K confronted from different areas.
But as soon as once more, a cheerful final result was realized in “Mayberry.”