Could a July morning have been any better-suited for road races than this one?
You won't get any disagreement from the more than 500 people who took part in today's Fun Fourth Festival Freedom Run 10K and 5K in Greensboro and in the Rotary Club of Kernersville Fourth of July 5K.
No, the low temperature of 58 degrees at Piedmont Triad International Airport wasn't a record – the mercury dipped to 52 on the morning of July 3, 1932. But coupled with a relative humidity in the 70 percent range, runners in these three races enjoyed a respite from a typical muggy, 70-degree summer morning.
The Greensboro races attracted 320 finishers, with High Point's Wil Zahorodny (33:58.26) and Willow Spring's Alli Slater (40:09.97) taking top honors on a rolling course in the 10K, which made its debut in 1977 and is Greensboro's longest-running road race. Sterling Sharpe (15:58.86) and Sarah Swertfeger (18:02.24), both of Greensboro, crossed first in the 5K.
The Freedom Run was part of the Omega Sports Race Series, managed by Junction 311 Endurance Sports, and part of Downtown Greensboro Inc.'s Fourth of July holiday schedule. DGI is hosting music on three stages in downtown Greensboro beginning at 3 p.m., with the Freedom Fest Laser Show scheduled for 9:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, Winston-Salem's Donnie Cowart ran a 14:14.6, which he called his fastest in a 3.1-mile road race (4:35 minutes per mile), to win the 5K in Kernersville.
Jamestown's Brandon Hudgins (14:37.4) and China Grove's Jonathan Martin (14:42.9) also finished in better than than 15 minutes. Purity Munene of Columbia, S.C., won the women's race in 17:22.5.
The 5K offered $2,300 in prize money, divided among the top men's and women's finishers. Cowart and Munene each pocketed $500.
The first 48 of the 205 finishers, nearly a quarter of the entries, averaged better than seven minutes per mile.
A look at the top finishers in Greensboro and in Kernersville, with links to full results:
Fun Fourth Festival Freedom Run
1. Wil Zahorodny, High Point, 33:58.26
2. Tyler Robakiewicz, Greensboro, 34:54.51
3. Ryan Morris, Dryden, Va., 34:59.98
4. Marquis Cox, Mount Laurel, N.J., 37:50.86
5. John Howard, Greensboro, 38:02.49
1. Alli Slater, Willow Spring, 40:09.97
2. Liz Hittinger, Greensboro, 41:34.16
3. Emily Branch, Advance, 44:49.40
4. Avery Robertson, Raleigh, 46:18.07
5. Erica Chabalko, Southern Pines, 46:42.66
1. Sterling Sharpe, Greensboro, 15:58.86
2. Justin Sink, Lexington, 16:13.13
3. Joe Sauerbrey, Thomasville, 16:32.05
4. Cedar Nichols Barnhart, Winston-Salem, 17:27.72
5. Jackson Gaydon, Liberty, 17:52.42
1. Sarah Swertfeger, Greensboro, 18:02.24
2. Jennifer Helmer, Greensboro, 18:25.87
3. Rosa Gutierrez, High Point, 21:00.22
4. Bebe Ramzah, Greensboro, 21:37.01
5. Lien Wilson, Greensboro, 21:46.06
Rotary Club of Kernersville Fourth of July 5K
1. Donnie Cowart, Winston-Salem, 14:14.6
2. Brandon Hudgins, Jamestown, 14:37.4
3. Jonathan Martin, China Grove, 14:42.9
4. Eric Westog, Charlotte, 15:25.5
5. Carson Truesdell, Charlotte, 15:30.5
1. Purity Munene, Columbia, S.C., 17:22.5
2. Ryen Frazier, Raleigh, 17:33.2
3. Andie Cozzarelli, Raleigh, 17:57.7
4. Gabriella DeLay, Winston-Salem, 18:28.9
5. Kelley Riffenburgh, Durham, 18:30.6