NEW TROY — The cool fall morning of Oct. 26 proved perfect for a Halloween-themed Run to the Center of the World.

Many of the runners and walkers participating in the Run to the Center of the World competed in costume — including Phil and Virginia Lunsford wearing Star Wars garb while their dog, “Cooper,” was Chewbacca for a day.

Joel Chandler, 16, of St. Joseph, was the overall 5K run winner in a time of 18:48. It was his first time participating in the run through New Troy and the surrounding countryside.

“It was really good, not too many hills and not a whole lot of traffic,” he said. “It was well marked.”

Second place went to last year’s winner, Jim Kavlock of Three Oaks, who said he lost track of Chandler not long after the start.

The next two crossing the finish line were Renee Borah of St. Joseph and 12-year-old Emily Howell (a member of the Reed Middle School cross country team in Bridgman).

Howell said she prefers running in cooler weather.

The first walker in was Jeff Borah (Renee’s husband) who is rehabbing from hip resurfacing in April.

“We ride our bikes out here a lot. I love it, it’s the Center of the World,” Renee said.

The first Run to the Center of the World half marathon was won by Michael Tsai (in a time of 1:28) with Kate Arnold finishing second.

Among the entries in the Oct. 26 half marathon were three members of Team Triumph — Brian Hanna, Douglas Babcock and Johanna Hernandez.

Hanna said Team Triumph is “an athletic ride-along organization where we take individuals with disabilities and held them participate in event such as the half marathon today.”

He said the team does 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, marathons, triathlons and even the 140.6-mile Ironman distance.

Hanna and Babcock took turns wheeling Hernandez along the course.

Hanna noted that she’s experienced many other races including three triathlons, a marathon and eight half marathons.

Terry Hanover of the Friends of New Troy thanked Weesaw Township firefighters, volunteers from River Valley High School and the Friends group, and the event’s sponsors for making the event possible.

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