2007-06-16 / Sports

Lilac Festival 10k Course Takes 550 Runners Through Island

By Eric Fish

Runners in the Lilac Festival 10k begin at Windermere Point Saturday, June 9. The race route took them through the downtown area, up into the center of the Island, and back to Mackinac Island Public School. Runners in the Lilac Festival 10k begin at Windermere Point Saturday, June 9. The race route took them through the downtown area, up into the center of the Island, and back to Mackinac Island Public School. Runners and walkers of all ages gathered at Windermere Point on the sunny morning of Saturday, June 9, for the annual Lilac Festival 10k, while their friends and families gathered at the starting and finish lines in moral support.

Participants started at Windermere Point, then followed a path through downtown, up into the center part of the Island to British Landing Road, then along Lake Shore Road to the finishing line at Mackinac Island Public School.

Nearly 550 people competed in the event, about the same as in previous years. The race is scored on gun time and contestants compete in gender and age divisions.

The race takes the average runner about one hour to complete, but for seasoned longdistance journeymen, like 14- year old Tommy Matuszak of Caro, the race was faster.

Mr. Matuszak, a freshman member of the track and cross country team at Caro High School, finished fifth place overall with a time of 37 minutes, 51 seconds in his first 10k. He came up solely for the race with his father, Steve, and enjoyed the experience that the Island offered.

"It's really nice," he noted. "We just heard about this race a week ago and we were in time to do it, so we came up here."

Mr. Matuszak wasn't the only one who enjoyed the scenic views of Mackinac Island during the event.

"It was beautiful," said Sarah Vroegop of Holland, who participated in the event with her husband, Mark. "The first hill was a killer, but the rest of the race was very easy, downhill, and then it's gorgeous."

The Vroegops have been visiting Mackinac Island periodically over the years, but decided to run in the 10k for the first time this year.

"We just had a great experience," Mr. Vroegop said, noting that the couple would like to enjoy the event again next year.

Following the race, runners cooled down with water and snacks. A Lil' Lilac Kids Race also took place after the 10k and featured 33 children in a quarter-mile route.

First place overall in the 10k was claimed by Brochton Foltman of Alma with a time of 34:37. First place in the female category went to Erin Dush of Sanford with 42:02. First place for the Lilac 10K walk went to Rick Sack of Grawn with 1:05:10. Wanda Hamilton of Flint took the women's category in 1:08:35.

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