NEW TROY — Jody Brown was the first female finisher in the Oct. 23 Run to the Center of the World 5K race in New Troy, but she didn’t compete alone.

The Marshall County (Indiana) Running Club member was accompanied by Italian greyhound “Flash” and “Dilly” the Dalmation.

“He’s not tired,” Brown said of Flash after crossing the finish line at the New Troy Community Center in their best time of the year so far. “She’s a little tired (in reference to Dilly), I’m really tired.”

Brown noted that Flash helped her train for a marathon three years ago.

“He ran 20 miles with me,” she said, adding running in races “is his most favorite thing in the world.”

Dilly also loves the sport, and Brown said the Dalmation did a half-marathon trail race with her a couple of years ago.

Runners and walkers of all ages took part in the 10th Annual Run to the Center of the World. Lorraine Hanover of the non-profit Friends of New Troy group which holds the event as a fund-raiser for the Community Center, said a total of 68 people participated.

In addition to the 5K run there was a 5K walk, a 10K run and a half-marathon race.

Jay Fast of Bridgman won the Run to the Center of the World half-marathon, saying he decided to do “one more run before I slow it down” after participating in the Oct. 10 Chicago Marathon.

“It’s fun to run in your neighborhood … the route’s really nice,” he said.

Placing second in the longest run of the day (roughly 13.1 miles) was Madi Keegan, a student at Michigan State University. She got plenty of both vocal and written support from her mom, Jen Keegan of Putnam County, Ill., and college roommate, Annie Heeder, who cheered her on while waving posters filled with positive messages such as “Go Madi” and “Stronger Than Yesterday.”

“It’s her first half-marathon,” Jen said, adding that her daughter found the Run to the Center of the World online and signed up.

Madi said she is in Army ROTC at MSU and has gotten into running over the past year.

“We did a 10-miler last year, and that kind of prompted my love for running. And then this year I decided I was like I might as well try and go for a half. I had time so I figured I’d train for it.”

First to finish in the 5K run (in a strong time of 16:44.4) was Boden Genovese, a Coloma High School sophomore who said it was a fun race during an off weekend before cross country regionals.

Comet teammate Jake Ickes was the second-place finisher in the 5K while Boden’s sister, Ava Genovese, was fourth overall (and a close second in the women’s standings).

“We had our Homecoming dance last night, so I was up kind of late,” she said.

John Cordogan of nearby Sawyer placed sixth overlain the 5K run.

“We love the Community Center here in New Troy,” he said (Carmen Cordogan finished 10th overall). “We come here for yoga and other events, and it’s an awesome place with lots of great people.”

Eleven-year-old Ezra Farmer of Chelasa, Michigan (13th in the 5K run), said his journey was helped along by first-place 5K walker Pam Behm, who “put up really good speed for a walker.”

“He helped me too,” noted Behm, who arrived at the Community Center in a big yellow school bus after dropping the Brandywine High School volleyball team off at Bridgman for the BCS Red Division tournament.

The 10K race was won by Jeff Barchett, a former victor in the Run to the Center of the World 5K who recently retired as a UPS driver with a route that included New Troy.

The order of finish for the 2021 Run to the Center of the World follows:

5K RUN – 1. Boden Genovese (16:44.4); 2. Jake Ickes (18:35.7); 3. Jody Brown (running with Flash and Dilly – 19:41.4); 4. Ava Genovese (19:55.5); 5. Jon Phillips; 6 John Cordogan; 7.Jim Vickers; 8. Megan Sukich; 9. Jacqueline Bloom; 10. Carmen Cordogan; 11. Julie Marton; 12. Sabrina Bellaire; 13. Ezra Farmer; 14. Julie Digirolamo; 15. Arlo Anderson; 16. Cameron Hanover; 17. Jessica Smith.

5K WALK – 1. Pam Behm (40:35.5); 2. Lisa Kehoe (47:53.9); 3. Andrew Hanover; 4. Flora Oosterhouse; 5. David Oosterhouse; 6. Diana Post; 7. Deborah Rieth; 8. Cheryl Clark; 9. Elowen Hanover; 10. Terry Hanover; 11. Gavin Hanover; 12. Scott Schutze; 13. Olivia Schutze; 14. Angela Backus; 15. Nancy Wineapple; 16. Alyson Payne; 17. Daniel McDonough.

10K RUN – 1. Jeff Barchett; 2. Mandy Frye; 3. John Stimley; 4. Whitewolf Kelly; 5. Abby Shetler; 6. Chris Manley; 7. Morningsun Kelly.

HALF MARATHON – 1. Jay Fast (1:32.15.5); 2. Madi Keegan (1:45.58.5); 3. Steven Ledesma; 4. Brian Bigelow; 5. Johnny Stimley; 6. Peggy Digirolamo; 7. Kari Housrer; 8. Afton Roach; 9. Jacque Wertz; 10. William Laramie; 11. Amanda King; 12. Tim Clark; 13. Lorna Valine; 14. Theresa Chimenti; 15. Kelly Skaar-Hoffman; 16. Keanine Larson.

Participants received a carved wooden medal and a free grab and go breakfast (with items from Bridgman Harding’s, Red Coach Donuts, Meijer Stevensville and Martin’s Stevensville). Winners will have their names engraved on a brick in the Community Center garden.

Sponsors for the 2021 Run to the Center of the World include: Vickers Engineering; Center of the World Woodshop Showroom; Combined Insurance Agencies; Hurst Tree Service; Granor Farm; Corvette Central; Oldenburg and Sons Excavating; Meijer Stevensville; Burkholder Excavating; Big C Lumber; ELH Detailing; VC Petroff; Sawyer Antique Mall; G.L. Wasko & Sons; Greenbush Brewing; Bridges2Beauty, Baroda City Mills; State Fam Tom Rossman; Chad’s Paint Supply; Dent Crafters; Bryan’s Automotive; Advantage Business Services; Beltone Hearing Care Center; Chikaming Dental; Harbor Country Insurance; Hildebrandt Painting; and Soft Touch Car Wash.

Those providing gift cards for runners/walkers included: American Legion Post 518, Campbell Ford, Hummingbird Fashions, A&J Hardware, Cameron’s, The Peasant’s Pantry, The Getaway, Galley Grill, Sawyer Garden Center, Skip’s, Coach’s, Navajo, Brewster’s, The Featherbone, Baroda Tap, Full Circle Cafe, Drier’s Meat Market, Nelson’s Saloon, Feather’s Florist, New Troy Legion, Pebblewood Country Club, and Lydia’s Down Home Cooking.

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