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David Freeze: Shiloh Missions 5K breaks long Rowan race drought

Usually spring and early summer in Rowan County are filled with weekend running events. Faith is always busy during the week leading to the Fourth of July with the town’s long running festival.

While most of the festival was cancelled, the Shiloh Missions 5K broke a four-month dry period for local road racing on Saturday with pleasantly cool conditions and the always challenging but rewarding course. 

Craige Farmer, 53, of Salisbury, ran his fastest 5K yet as the overall winner at 18 minutes and 19 seconds. Meredith Bonner, 16, of Rockwell, ran a sizzling time of 21 minutes and seven seconds to pace the women. Bonner has taken three minutes off her time from last year’s Rowan County High School Cross Country Meet. 

Race director Luann Fesperman was ecstatic with the support from the town of Faith as 64 runners crossed the finish line of the two loop course.

“I was happy to have so many from the running community come out and support our Mission 5K with all proceeds going to our mission teams at Shiloh Reformed Church of Faith,” Fesperman said. “I had many of the runners say that they were so glad just to have a race to attend. We couldn’t do this without the town of Faith and the police department.”

Fesperman heads up the church’s high school and adult mission teams.

Dual race starts, one for men and another for women, were used to separate the crowd, and plenty of room was available for social distancing. Though runners said they simply enjoyed being back in their environment.

Steve Staley, of Charlotte, said after over 1,400 races total, Saturday’s was one of his top five.

“What a fun morning I had in the small town of Faith, N.C. Make no mistake about it, my address may be in Charlotte, but my heart and soul were in Faith this morning,” Staley said. “These hard-working, true Americans shined a light on me today. I was amazed at the number of American flags I saw while leaving your great town.  Lots to be proud of there.”

Top sponsors included Salcoa Contracting, Inc., Teresa Courtney, F&M Bank and McCombs and Company. The Salisbury Rowan Runners timed the event. Complete results can be found at salisburyrowanrunners.org.

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