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Runners, walkers gather in Marshall for annual Hospitality Classic

MARSHALL – Nathan Waite, 23, of Ceresco, set the overall best time in the 10k race Saturday during the annual Oaklawn Hospitality Classic.

With a time of 35 minutes and 54 seconds, Waite scored the top speed during the race, administered by Classic Race Management. Waite scored the overall best time in the 5k race during the 2016 event in Marshall.

“This is my third year running this race,” Waite said. “I thought I’d go for the longer race this time. It’s a good course. There are a few hills but, after you go up the first hill, it’s always downhill after that. That helps.”

Abigail Longhurst, 27, of Battle Creek set the best time by a female in Saturday’s 10k race, with 41 minutes and 46 seconds. Longhurst, a Marshall native and graduate of Marshall High School, also was the first female to finish the 10k in 2015 and 2016.

“I love it,” Longhurst said in describing the event, adding this this year’s run was her fifth in Marshall.

“I just did a half-marathon a couple of weeks ago and my legs were a little tired today,” Longhurst said.

Isaac Waffle, 16, of Tekonsha achieved the overall best time in Saturday’s 5k race. That time was 18 minutes and 16 seconds. Waite – who came in first in the day’s 10k race – had the top speed in 2016’s 5k race, at 16 minutes and 46 seconds.

Amanda Melvin, 26, of Saline set the best time for a female in this year’s 5k. That time was 18 minutes and 54 seconds. Melvin – in 2016 running under her maiden name Amanda Weaver – set the best time in that year’s 5k race, at 18 minutes and 59 seconds.

More than 700 runners and walkers registered in the annual event, and organizers called Saturday’s turnout gratifying despite chilly temperatures early in the day and a hint of possible rain that never came.

“We had good weather with a comfortable temperature for running, and we were all thrilled that Mother Nature smiled on us,” said Sara Jeffery, the event’s coordinator. “Everyone had fun and it was a great time.

“We’re really grateful for all of the community’s ongoing support, and for all of the help from the volunteers,” Jeffery said. “They really pitched in to make this one of the most enjoyable annual events that we can share in Marshall.”

Eaton Corp. was the event’s top corporate sponsor, and many Eaton employees and family members was on hand to participate.

“The Eaton team had a great turnout with 125 people today,” said John Lubis, program manager at Eaton and the event’s honorary chair. “It was a little chilly at the start of the 5k and the wind was a little hard, but there’s no rain. It never rains on race day!”

Full results of the various events may be found at www.classicrace.com as well as www.runsignup.com. The websites also allow visitors to follow many race events, including participants’ statistics and times.

The 10K course record for males was set in 1986 by Louis Hoekstra, with a time of 31:17. The female record holder in the open category, also set in 1986, is Ann Forshee, with a time of 37:31.

The course records for the 5K for males is 14:56, set by Duane Daughtery in 1997 and females 17:19, set by Jenny Goodpaster in 2000.

Participants Saturday ranged in age from less than 1 year old up to age 79. Most were from communities throughout Michigan, but other runners and walkers came from Indiana, Idaho, North Carolina, Georgia and Arizona.

George Youngdahl of Marshall sang the National Anthem at the onset of the day’s activities, accompanied by a color guard from Marshall’s Scout Troop No. 337.