Well before the downtown streets of Riverbank became clogged with revelers at the weekend’s Cheese and Wine Expo, several hundred hardy souls, both men, women and children of all ages lined up to race in the Run for the Cheese.
The 15th annual race began just after 8 a.m. last Saturday, hours before the official opening of the Cheese and Wine festival, in its 42nd year itself. Those who competed had plenty of time to visit the Expo later in the day.
The races were broken down into several categories and age groups.
The 5k, 10k and one-mile were all begun from the starting line on Jackson Street, next to the Galaxy Theatres parking lot, with the Kids Fun Run a little later. The finish line, with its timing clock displayed above, concluded the home stretch that ran down the back alley of the theatre complex, ending near where it started.
Runners had from 6:15 a.m. to 7:50 a.m. to pick up their race packets and complete race day registration.
At 8 a.m. the race starter’s gun misfired, so an electronic megaphone was used instead to get the 5k walk/run and 10k run underway. At 9:30 a.m. the one-mile youth run, for ages 17 and under, began, and at 9:45 a.m., there was a free kids 300-meter fun run for ages 7 and under.
For the 5k and 10k races, a trophy and cheese went to the first place finisher overall and medals to the top three places in each age division, both male and female. In the one-mile, medals went to the top three placers in each age division: 7 and under, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 14, 15, and 16-17. In the kids fun run, complimentary medals went to all finishers.
Organizers changed how the trophies were awarded this year. Instead of asking everyone to wait until the end for an awards ceremony, as they finished running, racers were funneled by tables where ribbons were handed to racers by volunteers.
Former Riverbank High cross country coach Bruce Edwards served as Race Director. Proceeds from the event were to benefit RHS athletic programs and youth running programs in Stanislaus County.
ShadowChase Running Club, from Modesto, put on the race, part of their year-long schedule of events, and results were posted on their website, found at www.shadowchase.org.