Great Day at Dash For Diabetes

BY NEAL RIEMENSCHNEIDER

WINCHESTER, VA—With a Four Miler, a 1 mile fun run and a 100-yard dash, the Dash for Diabetes event has something for everyone. In its fifth year of existence, this event has gained a loyal following and is a great way to get in a race on Labor Day (September 7) and still enjoy the family cook outs later in the day. The event is held at the Millbrook High School stadium (Go Pioneers!) and the featured four-miler starts and finishes on the track with the bulk of the race run on the adjoining Third Battle of Winchester gravel paths. Held on this year’s Labor Day (September 7th), race day dawned sunny and warm with sweltering humidity.

For the men, Kevin Shirk and Matthew Lofton quickly separated themselves from the field and basically made it a two man race. Both men are coaches of the Millbrook Cross Country team which trains on this battlefield so these two had a distinct home field advantage. Shirk proved the faster of the two as he hit the tape first in 21:17 while Lofton (21:29) finished 12 seconds later. Top Masters was Dennis Billings who finished with a time of 24:21. Shirk and this author are both middle school teachers and we were swapping stories about how “squirrely” 6th graders can be!

In the women’s race, Brenda Schrank ran 25:22 to outdistance the rest of the field by a large margin. Finishing a distant second was Tori Kahler in 28:37 while the top female Masters was April Adams who hit the finish line in 30:11.

Afterwards, the 188 four-mile finishers feasted on tons of bagels, pastries, cheese snacks, granola bars and—with Chick-Fil-A as a title sponsor—chicken breakfast biscuits fresh out of the oven. While we were stuffing our faces, 49 youngsters lined up on the track for the 1-mile fun run. One loop around and then head out on the school campus and back. There was lots of cheering and shouting by the 4-mile finishers (between mouthfuls of food). When that event was completed, some 2 dozen tykes lined up for the 100-meter dash. One could see looks of determination on the faces of the participants when the starter told the kids they had to beat the Chick-Fil-A cow. After yelling, “GO,” the kids ran with smiles on their faces while the click, click, click of cameras could be heard over the shouts of encouragement.

The event benefits the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and is a very well organized and well run event. I always enjoy this event as the Chick-Fil-A cow makes an appearance and it reminds me of my daughter’s wedding some eight years ago. You see, with the band rocking and the dance floor packed, the Chick-Fill-Cow made an appearance on the dance floor much to the delight of the attendees. I don’t know if the excitement was for the cow or for the sample platter being passed around…