More than 160 runners compete in GRA 10K/5K despite rainy weather
Tue, 07/27/2021 - 2:37pm caleb
Competitors complete courses that begin and end at Hanson Hills Recreation Area during annual AuSable River Festival event
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
A little rain? No problem. A lot of rain? Still no problem. More than 160 runners competed in the GRA 10K/5K foot race – an event that started and ended at Hanson Hills Recreation Area – on Saturday despite inclement weather.
“We’ve got good 10K participation and good 5K participation. In all, I have 166 runners,” said Justin Andre, Director of Operations for Grayling Recreation Authority.
It was raining a little bit during the 9 a.m. start of the race, and the rain increased as runners started to approach the finish line.
“It’s raining and a little bit of thunder but all these guys showed up to support the (AuSable) River Festival and our event here, so we’re excited about that,” Andre said during the race. “Just hoping to get everybody through a safe course.”
Andre said weather reports and the possibility of lightning forced organizers to consider cancelling the race, but in the end, they decided to proceed.
“We just kept a close eye on the radar and making sure nothing heavy was going to come in,” Andre said. “I had to make the call at 7:30 this morning. At that time it didn’t look like we were going to get much more than what we’re getting, so I’m happy that we were able to hold it. I did not want to cancel it. I didn’t want to postpone it.”
The event featured finisher medals for the competitors and awards for the top male and top female in both the 10K and 5K divisions.
Andrew Wendler won the 5K male division with a time of 0:17:04.3. Josie Vanderveen won the 5K female division with a time of 0:20:49.3.
Jacob Schenten won the 10K male division with a time of 0:37:05.2. Emily Short won the 10K female division with a time of 0:41:42.1.
The GRA 10K/5K has had a few different courses over the last several years.
In 2002 through 2009, the 10K course started and ended at Grayling High School’s track and utilized part of the Grayling Bicycle Turnpike, a paved path for nonmotorized traffic.
In 2010, organizers moved the GRA 10K back into town to be closer to AuSable River Festival events. The race started and ended near Grayling Middle School in 2010 through 2015.
In 2016, due to road construction projects in town, Grayling Recreation Authority had to move the 10K/5K, and organizers opted for Hanson Hills Recreation Area, GRA’s base of operation, for the venue change. It was intended as a temporary switch, but participants liked the new course, and GRA decided to keep the 10K/5K at Hanson Hills.
In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued, Grayling Recreation Authority opted to conduct only the 5K portion of the event and use wave starts to keep runners physically distanced.