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Hoptown Half & 5K Deemed A Success

First-Ever Hoptown Half Marathon & 5K Deemed Rousing Success
Participants, volunteer groups earn awards during inaugural effort that featured 632 runners

Since late Saturday morning, social media has been abuzz regarding the rousing success of the first-ever Hoptown Half Marathon & 5K. Participants, volunteers, sponsors and partners alike are claiming victory for the inaugural effort, which drew 632 registered runners and walkers to downtown Hopkinsville. 

Sponsored respectively by Planters Bank and Jennie Stuart Health, the Hoptown Half & 5K put the city on display, using a course that used the area’s rural and urban beauty as the ultimate backdrop, while providing a unique opportunity for runners and walkers who represented 16 different states and over 100 different cities. 

Hopkinsville Parks and Recreation Superintendent Tab Brockman lauded the weekend races as a resounding triumph, including the addition of another top-notch event to the annual calendar and the raising of an estimated tens of thousands of dollars for the event beneficiary: United Way of the Pennyrile. 

“The community was victorious all the way around this weekend,” Brockman proclaimed. “We saw the best of Hopkinsville come out in everyone involved, and we can’t thank all of the dedicated individuals who came together to make this such a marvelous feat. We also know, though, that there are always things you can learn when you put on an event for the first time, so we look forward to applying feedback and making next year’s race even better.” 

There were a number of awards distributed Saturday. Brad Averitt (1:16.44) and Erica Lovely (1:20.26), both of Clarksville, respectively won the Planters Bank Hoptown Half Marathon in their male and female divisions. In the Jennie Stuart Health Hoptown 5K, Stella Christoforou finished first in 18 minutes, 52 seconds. She was followed by Male Division champion Scott Freeman (Clarksville), who posted a time of 19:36.

Christoforou, who was the feature speaker during the Hoptown Half & 5K Pasta Dinner at the event’s expo Friday at the Planters Bank-Jennie Stuart Health Sportsplex Hopkinsville, told organizers afterwards that Saturday’s race “was one of the best she had ever seen.” 

The top three finishers in both the male and female divisions of the Half and 5K were given awards. 

The Team Challenge, which gave groups of runners the chance to run the races in small and large divisions, featured a pair of winners. Tabulated over the weekend, the Team Challenge was claimed by Clarksville Moms Run This Town (MRTT) in the half marathon, and Hopkinsville’s CrossFit Serenity in the 5K. 

CrossFit Serenity had six total runners (Foster Cothoff, Christy Gorman, Mandy Guffey, Jaime Loftus, Elizabeth Sparks and Victor Torres) who completed the 5K in a combined time of 3:10.48 — based on the times of their top five runners — which was just ahead of runner-up Campanile Productions. 

The champions and runners-up — in both the Half and 5K — were also recognized with awards in 14 different age divisions total. The oldest participants were 70 years old. 

It wasn’t just runners and walkers who left with recognition Saturday, however, as three groups earned first, second and third-place prizes for having Most Spirit along the course. Groups that ran water stations and cheer teams along the 13.1-mile course received votes from participants after the race. 

And when the smoke cleared, it was Hopkinsville Rotary Club (Mile 12) that was named the overall winner, giving the local club a $250 win. Due to such impressive performances, and an overwhelmingly positive response to the volunteer groups, the Hoptown Half & 5K Committee opted to also give prize money to the two next teams in the voting: Hopkinsville’s Trilogy House for Women and Clarksville/Fort Campbell Team Red, White and Blue (RWB). 

“The Inaugural Hoptown Half Marathon & 5K was a huge success, and we owe a big thank you to the community for making that possible,” said Race Director Korey Raymond. “Running just has this extraordinary way of bringing people together. It filled my heart with pride for Hoptown, as I watched the city welcome runners from 16 different states with open arms. Support was shown through sponsorships, countless hours of volunteering, cheering along the course, manning water stations in the hot sun and making sure that the participants stayed safe along the course.” 

Complete participant results are available on HoptownHalf.com. All age division winners and runners-up who did not receive their prize during the post-race ceremony may call 270-887-4290 to make proper arrangements. The Hoptown Half & 5K committee will be reaching out to Team Challenge and Most Spirit winners about their awards. 

The event committee hopes to announce the 2020 date and final United Way of Pennyrile donation total within the coming week. Participants may continue to leave reviews on the @HoptownHalf social media pages. 

“We’ve received so many positive comments from runners about how the amount of community support made this race not only one of their favorites, but one that they can’t wait to run again, and I’m excited to see what next year holds,” Raymond exclaimed.