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Men’s Four Miler sets new standards at Foxfield

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Owen Shifflett competes in the Charlottesville Men’s Four Miler on Saturday at Foxfield. Shifflett finished third overall.

Saturday’s special edition of the Charlottesville Men’s Four Miler drew a sold-out crowd, as close to 250 guys, in reserved staggered time slots, ran over the beautiful lush and wet grass paths of Foxfield.

The top five finishers were a good representation of the growing diversity of this popular community fundraiser. A pair of high schoolers, two dads and one 25-year-old led the large field across the finish line.Reece McKee, a senior at Charlottesville High School, set a new course record with a blistering 21:35, narrowly edging 37-year-old Matt Barresi (21:44), a father of four, and Western Albemarle sophomore Owen Shifflett (21:56).

Bob Thiele, a 42-year-old father of three who won two state cross country titles while competing at CHS in the 90s, was one of many runners who had an amazing performance on Saturday, averaging 5:37/mile over the slick paths. Stewart Sackson rounded out the super competitive top five with a 22:47 clock stopper. Thiele was all smiles afterwards, calling the new course “world class.”

As in the past, the all-male foot race was run in memory of Dr. Bill Steers, who co-founded the event 17 years ago as a way to help motivate out-of-shape males to get exercising on foot. And, like clockwork, Bill’s sons Ryan and Colin ran the race but this year they were joined by Bill’s six-year-old grandson Rex, who averaged an amazing 10:38/mile.

The Charlottesville Track Club, who once again hosted this popular community race, passed the proceeds from the event to prostate cancer research programs at the University of Virginia Department of Urology and were bolstered by over three dozen race day volunteers.

And the event would not have been able to have been held in such a safe and beautiful setting if it wasn’t for the unprecedented hospitality of the folks at the Foxfield Racing Association.

Many teams participated in the festivities, including Lance and Henry Kimbrough, who took the blue ribbon in the father/son division and Bob Johnson, Harry Landers and Bill Petri, appropriately named “Go Time,” who took first in the 60 & over team category. Even UVa President Jim Ryan and his fellow Madison Hall 40- and 50-somethings came out to support the cause with two “masters” teams. The response to the new men’s course was overwhelmingly positive from the participants.

“It was so rewarding to see so many of the guys having fun at a race again,” Four Miler co-director Audrey Lorenzoni said. “They really seemed to appreciate the experience of running at Foxfield. It almost felt normal again.”


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