A perfect Saturday spring morning almost seemed to be ordered up to greet runners participating in the Fluvanna SPCA’s 5K Race. Early on the morning of April 13, more than eighty entrants of all ages prepared to race the many hills and dales that make up the Lake Monticello Golf Course. Not only was the large crowd of runners ready to compete against each other and the clock, but they were primarily there to raise money for the county animal shelter—money that will help care for the many dogs and cats that come through the animal shelter’s doors on their way to new and happy homes.
The Fluvanna SPCA 5K is an annual fundraising event. This was the third year of the race, which is almost of rite of spring in the county. All of the money raised by the registration of runners and walkers will go to caring for the animals housed at the shelter, including the required and sometimes very expensive veterinary needs such as spay and neuter. Many local businesses participated as sponsors of the event, including Fluvanna’s own Fork Union Animal Clinic, as well as several Charlottesville-based businesses including Sir Speedy Printing, Ragged Mountain Running Shop, and Charlottesville Veterinary Hospital. Officials from the Fluvanna SPCA were on hand to help with the race along with a small army of volunteers who served as timekeepers, statisticians and event photographers. Many people simply came by to watch and cheer on the runners, a group that ranged from serious athletes that enjoy the challenge of a race to weekend warriors just itching to get some exercise and enjoy the warm weather, which is finally making its presence known after the seemingly endless cold snowy March that kept an icy grip on the county this year.
Jennie Shuklis, Executive Director of the Fluvanna SPCA, said she was very pleased with the turnout of participants. Pre-registered runners that entered on the race’s website numbered more than 75 and many more showed up to register on race day. The expected net funds raised by the event were more than $3,000, according to Shuklis.
The race began promptly at 7:32 a.m. The crowd ran up Bunker Boulevard and rounded their way to the cart paths on the golf course about a mile up the road and finished up the race around the many curves of the back nine of the golf course. Runners turned in some impressive times when they finished, as many of the more experienced participants clocked in at just over twenty-four minutes at the finish line located at the Eighteenth Hole near the Lake Monticello Golf Center. The overall winner of the event for the Men’s Division was William Taaffe, and the overall winner for the Women’s Division was Erin West. For the racers that were aged 19 and under, the winner was Ava Dorovey. According to Shuklis, Ava also volunteers at the shelter along with her father and enjoys engaging and socializing with the shelter’s cats and kittens, a routine Saturday morning ritual for the young girl. By participating in the race, she missed her volunteer time with the cats, but is happy to return to her normal weekend work with the shelter’s cats next weekend.
Age group winners were as follows: Cierra Biel and Sam Goldmann (20-29), Tony Borash and Tara Smialek (30-39), Richard Bednar and Kimberly Kidd (40-49), Robyn Lane and Sidney Pugh (50-59), and Diane Moore and Richard O’Hare (60+). After the race, there was a brief ceremony where all of the winners were given their prizes. However, it could be said that the real winners in this annual race are the dogs and cats that these runners represent from the Fluvanna SPCA.