A year ago, even with the pandemic bearing down on the United States and the Lone Star state, the Montgomery County Meals for Wheels program was able – without too much worry of COVID-19 – to host its fourth annual Miles for Meals race at B-52 Brewery in Conroe.
And as our area is now working its way out of it, as are many other parts of the country, those races that were held the closest to the start of quarantines and lockdowns have seemed to have not lost their numbers that other races have.
The Miles for Meals races appeared on Saturday to be the epitome of that notion.
The race’s first year was 2017 and was an untimed event, but the last four years, including Saturday’s fifth annual gathering, numbers have held steady pushing the event to its limits.
This year and last, a 10K was added for the hardier adventurists of the Lake Forest Falls subdivision that two-thirds of the race winds through.
The finisher numbers, by years, are as follows:
2018 – 532 in the 5K
2019 – 556 in the 5K
2020 – 469 in the 5K and 90 in the 10K
2021 – 401 in the 5K and 86 in the 10K
Even though numbers of timed finishers were slightly down, the atmosphere – and return to live racing for many runners – was positive.
Volte was charged up as well with seven runners, all in the 10K.
|Kim White, Julie Stevenson, Trudy Regnier and Sharon Mitchell represented well on Saturday.|
(Photo courtesy of Jon Walk)
For the second week time in six days, Volte had itself an overall winner.
A week ago, Roger King won the 5-miler associated with the Katy 10 race of the Texas 10 Series.
This week, it was Mayra Caamano’s time to strike.
Leading wire-to-wire, and looking strong doing so, Caamano, 43, led Volte teammate Julie Stevenson, 57, across the finish line, with a two-minute, 41-second advantage that gave her the third fastest time in the race’s two-year history with the 10K in 47:49.
She said it brought back memories years ago when Volte athlete Leanne Harris won the 5K at the Southern Star Brewing Company race in Conroe on the other side of Interstate 45.
“Beautiful morning for a run, and a gorgeous route,” said Caamano. “A bit hilly, but really, really pretty.”
She added that it was “great seeing so many Voltes.”
Including a couple of surprises.
To no surprise, running well was Kim White, 60, who finished first in his age group, and with 15-year-old Zack Zinny of Montgomery to claim the last two top 10 spots in the race.
Stevenson held off 16-year-old Amber Longwell by 20 seconds to claim the second overall women's spot in 50 minutes even.
The surprise of the morning was seeing one of Volte’s top and most consistent marathoners Michelle McGill.
|Very classy that McGill, on the out and back, ran ahead of her daughter, Amanda (on the left), to stop and visit for a few seconds before grabbing this shot of the two.|
(Photo courtesy of Jon Walk)
Sharing that she’s spent much of the past year, since the start of pandemic, running on her own, she was seen out on the course on Saturday with her daughter Amanda Williams.
The duo ran together in 1:04:52.
Also spending a lot of time running with one another were two veterans of Volte’s Wednesday night track workouts, Trudy Regnier and Sharon Mitchell.
Trudy got a little kick at the end, reminiscent of her finish at the five miler in Huntsville a few weeks ago, and led Sharon to the finish line by 45 seconds.
She stopped the clock in 1:10:50, while Sharon followed in 1:10:53.
Lots of friends of Volte out running the course as well.
Kevin Baker, who just enlisted to be coached by two-time Olympic Trials marathoner and upcoming Obstacle Course Racing star Lauren Stroud, finished third overall in 40:46.
Baker, who is a sponsor of the race, won the 5K in last year’s event in 19:22.
Good group of Red X Running athletes were seen on the course, led by their leader - and community leader - Barry Blanton.
He finished in 1:14:14.
There were also a good group of Woodlands Fit runners, who, of course, man the other corner near our starting point outside of Fleet Feet each week.
Mariela Rodriguez ran well covering the distance in 1:08:45.
In the 5K, John Slate of the Seven Hills Running Club was second in his age group in 26:02, longtime Woodlands Fit athlete – and all-around good guy – Randy Bradley finished in 30:31, while the legend, Jim Braden, at 85, saw his way through the distance in 38:24, winning his 70-and-over age group.