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Festival Kicks Off With Early Morning Runs
Pushing the stroller between them and reacting to cheers from the crowd, runners Alfredo Rivera, left, and Audra Arauza get ready to cross the finish line of the 5K. Arauza came in just ahead of Rivera, according to the race results posted by the ShadowChase Running Club.

With 150 runners in the 10K and 319 hitting the pavement for the 5K, the annual Cheese and Wine Run in Riverbank was one of the largest in recent years. Members of the ShadowChase Running Club of Modesto put on the event, with the start and finish line at Galaxy Theatres in Riverbank.

Runners toed the line at 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 12 with brisk morning air and a bright sun to greet them. From the competitive runners to the joggers with babies in strollers they pushed along the route with them, the runners covered the Riverbank community a few hours before the gates to the annual downtown expo officially opened.

Top finisher in the 10K was Francisco Garcia, with a pace of 5:33 per mile for a total overall time of 34:22.87. The 32-year-old was first overall and first in his 30- to 39 age group. Second place went to Levi Crawford, 29, in 37:32.34 and coming in third was 14-year-old Ramon Bravo, 39:42.34. First female finisher in the 10K was Betty Topping, 10th overall and first in her 40- to 49 age group in a time of 45:06.34. Second place female was Anne Kelley, 47:07.34, first in her 50- to 59 age group and third went to Ddee Vargas, 49:03.34, second in the 40- to 49 age group.

For the 5K competition, the top overall finisher was Javier Maciel, with a pace of 2:25 per mile and an overall time of 16:49.44, good for first place and tops in his 40- to 49 age group. Second place went to Eduardo Valdez, first in the 13- to 19 group with a time of 17:18.73. Raymond Rodriguez was third in 17:45.32, first in his 50- to 59 age group. Janice Kesterson led the way for the women, first in her 60- to 69 age group and the top woman finisher, 15th overall in 21:06.34, running at a 6:48 pace. Second went to Amy Stoffel, first in the 30- to 39 group and running a time of 22:40.34, followed closely by the third place woman, Leigh Beaman, 22:42.34, taking first in the 20- to 29 age group.

Youngest competitor on the day was Isabella McRitchie, 6, who ran the 5K in under half an hour, turning in a time of 29:59.42 for first place honors in the 1 to 12 category for the girls.

Oldest runner registered was Joe Lobianco, the 85-year-old completing the 5K in 44:05.34 and finishing first in the 80- to 98 category, with a pace time of 14:13 per mile.