BRIDGMAN — The 24th Bridgman 5K Run/Walk and 10K Run got a raft of new winners on Saturday, July 13, while a shorter-distance Fun Run introduced a new generation to the thrill of road racing.

Riley Van Pelt of Chicago (a 2015 New Buffalo High School graduate) was tops in the 5K Run, ending the five-year reign of Cameron Bredice (he placed fourth in a strong field that included current Bridgman High School junior Luke Blesy claiming the runner-up spot and New Buffalo High School runner Liam Driscoll coming in third).

Van Pelt said he was president of the Michigan State Running Club (he recently graduated from MSU) and is currently training for the Detroit Marathon.

“I haven’t stopped running since high school,” he said, adding that he was visiting his parents for the week and decided to enter the Bridgman race.

Blesy noted that his work over the summer paid off in a strong showing as the fall cross country season approaches.

New Buffalo HIgh School cross country coach Vance Price said four of his runners finished the 5K — Liam and Patrick Driscoll, Harrison Bourne and Evan Messinger — along with some middle school runners.

Bredice, a 2014 Bridgman High School graduate, said he ran against Van Pelt many times in the past.

“It’s always cool to come back to the hometown to see all these guys, and I knew he was going to be running today — so I knew I had my work cut out for me.”

Bredice (who still owns the course record) noted before the race that he was not in as good as shape as he would like to be due to working two jobs and coaching cross country and track at Grand Rapids Christian.

The first female finisher, Carey Tump of Wisconsin, said she was running in memory of her dad, Brian Tump, who passed away recently.

Second place went to local runner Clara Fast, 12, of Bridgman.

“This like maybe my fifth” time running in the Bridgman summer race Fast noted.

Rob Walters of Chicago and Lakeside, first to cross the finish line in the 10K competition, said he was running by himself after clearing the 5K traffic jam at the beginning.

“Beautiful day, beautiful course ... good race.”

Rebecca Smith of Chicago  (the first female finisher in the 10K) said it was a great race.

She added that Bridgman is “home away from home for me” because her parents (Dan and Cathy Smith) live there.

The first walker in was Jordan Berndt, who moved to Bridgman from Kentucky and said it was her second time ever waking competitively.

The day began at 8 a.m. with the 1.1 mile Fun Run for 20 kids ages 3-12.

Eleven-year-old William Pilon of St. Joseph, first to cross the finish line, said it was his first competitive run, but certainly not his last since he plans to run cross country in middle school.

Vinny Fenech of Bridgman (who took second) said he enjoyed seeing all the different houses along the route.

Caroline Conklin, 7, was the first girl to finish (her reaction? “It was awesome!”), and like many of the competitors she was finishing up a week-long FASTER Track & Field Camp.

Rowan Carr, 6, was the second girl to finish, and she also wore the orange FASTER Camp T-shirt.

“She likes to run, she keeps telling me we need to do more summer races,” said her dad, Spencer Carr (Bridgman’s cross country coach who oversaw both Saturday’s events and the FASTER Track & Field Camp for first- through sixth-graders).

Nearly 200 people were signed up for the 5K and 10K races, with a large contingent (28 people) representing Clinton, Mich., High School, which was finishing up a summer training session at Tower Hill Camp in Sawyer.

“This is our fourth different 5K,” noted coach Kurt Hillegonds (who also ran).

The annual Bridgman run/walk benefits the Bridgman High School Student Senate and the local high school cross country program.

Grace Sanderson (president) and Kelsey Mulick (vice president) said the 5K/10K is the only fund-raiser for Student Senate activities such as Homecoming, Winterfest, and teacher appreciation.

Race results follow:

Top 10 5K Run

• Men - 1. Riley Van Pelt (16:42); 2. Luke Blesy (17:50); 3. Liam Driscoll (18:07); 4. Cameron Bredice (18:13); 5. Gabe Nelson (18:16); 6. Matt DeVitto (19:40); 7. Matt Urbanczyk (19:42); 8. Eric Briggs (19:59); 9. Todd King (20:01); 10. Connor Blesy (20:02).

• Women - 1. Carey Tump (21:55); 2. Clara Fast (21:56); 3. Emily Spiewak (22:48); Summer Fast (22:53); 5. Makayla Fletcher (23:07); 6. Alissa King (23:28); 7. Allison Beck (25L06); 8. Susanna Farrar (25:29); 9. Emma Hampel (25:39); 10. Amy Bourne (26:04).

Age Group Winners in the 5K: Male 14 & Under - Matt Urbanczyk; Female 14 & Under - Clara Fast; Male 15-19 - Luke Blesy; Female 15-19 - Makayla Fletcher; Male 20-24 - Riley Van Pelt; Male 25-29 - Zia Hanssen; Female 25-29 - Emily Spiewak; Male 30-34 - Jacob Zars; Female 30-34 - Susanna Farrar; Male 35-39 - Joshua Johnson; Female 35-39 - Carey Tump; Male 40-44 - Kurt Hillegonds; Female 40-44 - Tammie Romeo; Male 45-49 - Bradley Mohler; Female 45-49 - Amy Bourne; Male 50-54 - Tom Driscoll; Female 50-54 - Michelle Bobos; Male 55-59 - Brian Burton; Female 55-59 - Janet Summins; Male 60-64 - Joe Smeltzer; Female 60-64 - Linda Davis; Male 65-69 - Don Ashley; Female 65-69 - Kathy Hilbrich; Male 70 & Over - Tom Tollefson.

• 5K Walk Top 10: 1. Jordan Berndt; 2. Bob Fenech; 3. David Steinbrook; 4. Madilyyn Rindfield; 5. Kirstin Howell; 6. Amy Nichols; 7. Sydney Hansen; 8. Kathy Smeltzer; 9. Kay Nevil; 10. Stacy Berndt.

• 10 K Run: 1. Rob Walters (38.22). 2. Rebecca Smith (first female finisher, 45:17); 3. Dave Wintek; 4. Spencer Carr; 5. Rick Dyer; 6. Ken Schmaltz; 7. Chad Henry; 8. John Berndt.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.