ROCK HALL — Organizers of the second Run for Character 5K made up for lost time, bringing back the FallFest race bigger and better after a pause due to the pandemic.
This year’s race on Saturday, Oct. 8 drew about 115 runners and walkers, plus 10-and-younger “kiddies.”
Some of the proceeds will benefit Rock Hall Elementary School’s music and fine arts programs and the Character Counts! program in all of Kent County’s public schools.
Also, a “significant donation” will be made to The Mainstay in Rock Hall, benefactor of this year’s FallFest.
Due to the generosity of community members and businesses, more than $6,000 in donations will be awarded.
Race director Peg McHugh said she was very pleased with the turnout and “the overwhelming support of the local community to support Character Counts Kent County and our local Rock Hall Elementary School.”
At the head of the list of backers were sponsors at the $500 and above (Oyster) level, Character Counts! Kent County, Fleetwood Insurance Group, Haven Harbour Marina Resorts, Rock Hall Liquors & Deli, The Mainstay, The Peoples Bank, Village Hardware & Garden Center and Waterman’s Crab House, Restaurant & Dock Bar; at the $300-$499 (Rockfish) level, in memory of Banjoman Tom McHugh, Chester River Seafood, Kent County Waterman’s Association, Maggie’s-Coleman’s Tavern, Red Acres Hydroponics, Rock Hall Properties, Sarah Schut, TRUIST and We’re Talking Trash; and at the $100-$299 (Crab) level, American Legion Riders Post 228, Bayside Market, Cinnamon by the Bay, Eastern Shore Wreath, Fresh Start Garden, Get the Scoop, Gunsmoke Charters, in memory of James and Dorothy McColigan, Jay and Dawn Jacobs, North Point Marina, Osprey Point Inn, Marina & Restaurant, Reflective Photography, Rock Hall Dental, Rock Hall Landing Marina, Rock Hall Lumber, Rock Hall Yacht Club, Sara’s Garden and Smiling Jake’s.
The event, managed by TCR Events of St. Michaels, began with the Kiddie K and was followed by the 5K run/walk.
Awards were presented to the overall male winner, overall female winner, and male and female Masters winners of the 5K, as well as the top three place-finishers (male and female) in various age groups. There also were prizes for the top five male and female walkers.
Among the walkers was local photographer JP Henry, whose iconic image of the waterman’s statue at the Caroline Avenue bulkhead was used to promote this year’s FallFest on posters and T-shirts.
Joey Ciganek, 28, of Chestertown led the field of 77 runners in 20 minutes, 42.7 seconds.
Laurie Themistos, 45, of Washington was the first female across the line and second overall in 20:52.3. She also was the top female finisher in the inaugural race in 2019.
Kent County High School freshman Andrew Buckel, who just wrapped up his first season on the Trojans’ cross country team, was third in 21:00.2. Then came Christopher Blanchard of Washington (21:11.1) and Bryce Brookbank, 16, of Waldorf (21:44.7) to round out the top five.
Blanchard, 42, and Leslie Riegle, 43, of Rock Hall were the top place-finishers in the Masters division. Riegle, who stopped the timer in 24:16.7, was 11th overall.
Joe Amalfitano (47:56) and Irene Myers-Thompson (39:52) were at the head of the line for male and female walkers.
Complete results can be found on the TCR Events website.