GOSHEN — Hannah Fisher has turned to soccer, rather than cross county, as her choice of sports in the fall.
But that didn’t stop the 15-year-old Mishawaka resident from honoring her grandfather in the 2014 Elkhart County 4-H Fair Parade 5,000 Road Run on Sunday, July 20.
Fisher’s grandfather was Denny Fisher, a longtime member of the Elkhart County 4-H fair board and the co-director of the Elkhart County Tractor Pull. He died suddenly last February at the age of 64.
“I ran cross country in middle school, but I mainly just run to stay in shape for soccer now,” Fisher said. “But I wanted to run today for my grandfather. We all miss him and the fair doesn’t seem the same without him.”
Fisher posted a time of 22:03 for the 5,000 — the top time of females from 13-to-15 — topping her nearest competitor by nearly a minute.
“It was a tough race, but to be honest, I could feel my grandpa there every step of the way,” Fisher admitted. “It made it easier to know he was there with me and pushing me to the finish.”
One of the most popular runners on the day was Lonnie Camp, a 37-year-old Concord paramedic who ran the race in a time of 39:27 and finished 445th of the record 484 runners.
It’s worth mentioning that Camp ran the race in full firefighter gear.
“I have been taking a medic class since April and haven’t had a chance to work out as much as I would have liked,” Camp said. “I ran the race this way last year too, but this year was a little harder.”
Camp, who plans to do an Ultra Marathon in Chicago in the fall, said he runs in the full equipment to help inform everyone about how important it is to stay in shape.
“I realize everyone can’t get out and run every day, but just taking a walk for a half-hour rather than watching television helps,” Camp said. “Even if you’re doing push-ups during commercials, it is a good thing.”
As usual, the race featured runners in costume — everything from Captain America, to the Incredibles, a zombie, Batman, a bride and groom and the senior girls from the Goshen cross country team in prom dresses.
A family from Elkhart County also stood out, as Dana Mehl (grandmother), Andy Mehl (son) and Kevin Mehl (grandson) each took to the course on Sunday.
Andy Mehl, who plans to run the New York Marathon on Nov. 2 to honor another of his sons who suffers from cystic fibrosis, finished fourth in the men’s 30-34 age group, while his mother Dana was fourth in the female 50-54 group.
Meanwhile, 7-year-old Kevin, who was very interested in the cooling mist shower after the race, ran his first 5K and posted a time of 44:52 while running much of the race with his grandmother.
“I thought Kevin really did great,” Dana Mehl said after the race. “He kept running the distance and one of the firefighters in his full equipment kept him going by telling him he was not going to let Kevin beat him. I was really proud of him since he’s never run more than a 3K before.”
“I thought the best part was the people cheering for me,” Kevin Mehl said. “It was fun to hear.”
When Dana Mehl made her final kick to the finish line, Kevin’s father, Andy, came back onto the track after finishing his race 25 minutes before and slowly jogged with his son to the finish line — much to the delight of the huge crowd in the grandstand.
The top finisher in the 12-and-under group was another runner with deep family ties in running.
Levi Streeval, a 10-year-old from Tallahassee, Fla., is visiting family in Shipshewana and he and his mother joined his uncle in the race.
Not only did Levi win his age group, but his mother, Heather Streeval, won the women’s 40-44 competition, while his uncle, Nate Jones, won the men’s 35-39 age group.
“I didn’t run my best time, but I’m happy with it,” Levi said matter-of-factly. “It was fun to run the race and really great to circle the track and then run past the grandstand to the finish line.’’
The overall race winners each repeated from last year, as Elias Rojas of Syracuse (15.28) won the men’s competition, while Goshen’s Laura Gillette of Goshen (18:45) was the first woman across the finish line.
Joan Gary of Goshen, who at age 77 was the oldest woman participating in the race, was honored with the Dick Shank Lifetime Fitness Award for 2014.
Parade 5,000 Road Run
Top 20: Elias Rojas (Syracuse) 15:28, Dillon Hinen (West Lafayette) 15:36, Steven Stoot (Colorado Springs, Colo.) 15:37, Andy Williams (Wolcottville.) 15:41, Tyler Wynn (Goshen) 15:48, Kevin Handshoe (Wawaka) 16:11, Nathan Jones (Shipshewana) 16:18, Landon Miller (Millersburg) 17:00, James Doney (West Lafayette) 17:01, Peter Casaletto (Goshen) 17:02, Atlee Lambright (Topeka) 17:18, Shawn Graves (Goshen) 17:37, Nolan Rhodes (Goshen) 17:53, Lane Graves (Goshen) 17:56.38, Nate Miller (Millersburg) 17:56.73, Mark Davidhizar (Elkhart) 18:09, Lathan Fritz (Middlebury) 18:14, Blake O’Dell (Bristol) 18:28, Alexander Oberlin (Millersburg) 18:29, Jason Smoker (Shipshewana) 18:32.
Top women’s finisher: Laura Gillette (Goshen) 18:46.62
Men’s age group winners: 12-and-under: Levi Streeval (Tallahassee, Fla.) 20:34. 13-15: Landon Miller (Millersburg) 17:00. 16-18: Shawn Graves (Goshen) 17:37. 19-24: Dillon Hinen (West Lafayette) 15:36. 25-29: Andy Williams (Wolcottville) 15:41.42. 30-34: Atlee Lambright (Topeka) 17:18. 35-39: Nate Jones (Shipshewana) 16:18. 40-44: Peter Casaletto (Goshen) 17:02. 45-49: Todd Hoffer (Etna Green) 18:38. 50-54: Alberto Jimenez (Goshen) 20:21. 55-59: Mark Furkis (Ligonier) 18:45. 60-above: Winford Jones (LaGrange) 21.43.
Women’s age group winners: 12-under: Hannah Fenwick (Three Rivers, Mich.) 29:06. 13-15: Hannah Fisher (Mishawaka) 22:03. 16-18: Kayla Casaletto (Goshen) 19:18.93. 19-24: Kayla Madrigal (Elkhart) 20:35. 25-29: Bekah Shank (Elkhart) 20:08. 30-34: Erica Nelson (Shipshewana) 26:42. 35-39: Keri Eby (Wakarusa) 21:58. 40-44: Heather Streeval (Tallahassee, Fla.) 21:34. 45-49: Yuko Baumann (Goshen) 23:47. 50-54: Deb Miller (Goshen) 27:57. 55-59: Cindy Nicely (Elkhart) 27:26. 60-above: Karlynn Grise (St. George) 41:18.