MORGANTON— Six members of Elkin’s Wings of the Wind Roadrunners track club traveled to Morganton on Saturday to participate in the 17th Annual Street Light 5K.
The runners took advantage of the overcast skies and drop in temperature to turn in some impressive performances.
Not only was the annual race the largest in the events history with 475 runners competing, it was also the fastest in the race’s history. The Street Light 5K is one of the largest summer races held in western North Carolina and features some of the best high school and college age group runners from several surrounding counties. The race has a unique starting time of 9:30 p.m., and streetlights illuminate the course which winds through downtown Morganton.
Leading the way for Wings of the Wind was Elkin High’s Madison Durham. The rising junior placed second overall in the women’s race with a time of 21:05. Running a minute faster than her race at Kernersville two weeks ago, Durham was less than 20 seconds behind the overall winner, Laura Ryan, who ran 20:46.
It was a close race for the top four places as Durham’s furious kick secured the runner-up spot, only five seconds ahead of the third and fourth place finishers.
The boy’s race was blistering from the gun, as the cooler weather yielded fast times. Three Wings of the Wind runners claimed overall top 10 finishes.
Eric Blackburn, Zack Millsaps, and Aaron Combs, placed fifth, sixth, and seventh respectively.
Between the three speedsters, the trio earned several age group awards.
Blackburn’s time of 16:21 claimed second in the 19-24 year old age group, and Combs took third place, running his fastest 5K ever in 16:32. The overall top spot in the race went to Blackburn’s Mar’s Hill teammate, Justin Gregg, who won in 15:13.
Zach Millsaps, a rising senior at Elkin High, placed first in the 15-18 year old age group with an outstanding time of 16:23, a personal best time by over thirty seconds. Millsap, the 2010 Mountain Valley cross country champion, broke the Street Light 15-18 age group record by one second. Cuaulthi Lozoda, eighteenth overall, claimed third in the 15-18 year old division with a time of 18:16. Logan Haynes, a rising senior at Elkin High, was three places behind Lozoda in the same age group, running a personal best time of 19:49.
Wings of the Wind coach Dan Merritt was impressed with his team’s performances in the race.
“All of them improved their times from the last race,” Merritt said. “For each to run so well in a race of this caliber is a testimony to not only the hard work they have been doing this summer, but also to their ability to respond to the increased intensity in the competition. I could not be more proud of each of their performances.”
One more race is planned for Wings of Wind Roadrunners before school starts, the Great Waldensian Footrace 5K, which will be held in Valdese on Aug. 13.