Group runs are back. Races are back.
But the Craft Half Marathon and 5K on Saturday in Winston-Salem made a most emphatic statement.
We're really back.
Fewer than 70 entries were virtual. That meant everyone else turned out on Fourth Street to see fellow runners whom they maybe hadn't seen in more than 15 months, to see what kind of speed they might've lost or perhaps gained through a pandemic.
"It's really nice to have everyone back out here again," said High Point's Wil Zahorody, who won the men's 5K. "It feels real. It's not like a little time trial or going out and running on your own. You've got people around you pushing you, which is really, really nice to have. The camaraderie, too."
For Burlington's Donna Mills Honarvar, whose family moved from California during 2020, the morning offered a chance to form a stronger connection with the Triad running community.
"It's been the best therapy after a really long year of a struggle for the world," Hornarvar said after winning the women's division of the 5K. "It's just the best thing. It's the best, healthiest way to bring positive to the world. I love this racing. I'm just excited to be back."
Runners being runners, the heat and humidity came up in conversations. So did the hill on Brookstown Avenue, challenging runners with a gain of more than 135 feet in the final mile of each race.
"It's a son of a bitch," said Greensboro's 72-year-old Nick Burrows.
We're really back.
Craft Half Marathon and 5K leaders
Half Marathon men
1. Jackson Herndon, Lexington, 1:16:55
2. Brian Carper, Chapel Hill, 1:18:26
3. Edward Coomer, Winston-Salem, 1:23:00
4. Andrew Boudon, Greensboro, 1:27:44
5. Nathan Weisner, Winston-Salem, 1:29:43
Half Marathon women
1. Michelle Lutz, Greensboro, 1:31:50
2. Ella Perrin, Winston-Salem, 1:37:17
3. Anna Tellefsen, Davidson, 1:43:11
4. Emily Cornella, Winston-Salem, 1:43:16
5. Hallie Barksdale, Winston-Salem, 1:43:30
1. Wil Zahorodny, High Point, 16:21
2. Ryan O'Mara, Chapel Hill, 16:40
3. Jason Brown, Charlottesville, 17:06
4. Justin Sink, Lexington, 17:33
5. Alan Sticker, Winston-Salem, 19:02
1. Donna Mills Honarvar, Burlington, 19:28
2. Sadie Landsdale, Greensboro, 22:21
3. Maggie Gigler, Charlotte, 22:45
4. Emily Taylor, Clemmons, 23:29
5. Margaret Davison, Bermuda Run, 23:52