By Michele Dotson
The annual Mint Hill Lions Club 5K was held Saturday before the start of the Mint Hill Madness parade.
Long associated with Mint Hill Madness, the competitive run returned this year on a new schedule to coincide with the festival which had traditionally been held in the fall.
More than 250 runners participated.
Mike Mitchell of Mint Hill placed first overall in the men’s division with a time of 16:31.
Jessica Alley from New Castle came in first overall in the women’s division with a time of 18:51.
Community support was visible with many area residents, teachers, local students, and public servants participating.
Fire Chief John Philips, Bain Elementary Principal (and soon to be principal of Butler High School) John LeGrand and his wife, Beth; and Bain Elementary teacher Kelly Ann Brock were in attendance. Independence High students fared well in the race.
Anna McElrath (17), placed second overall and first in her age division with a time of 20:34.
Gabe Barriger’s (17) time of 20:01 placed him just behind fellow classmate Jason Lux who came in first with a time of 19:32.
Lux’s brother Nicholas (15) also placed first in his age group with an impressive 21:38 time.
Siblings Brady and Ryan McLaughlin ran together in honor of Ryan’s first 5K.
Two teams ran to honor loved ones and wore memorial t-shirts. Stephanie and Robert Campbell remembered daughter Kayla who died in 2012. The Campbell’s honored their daughter who was on the cross-country track team, and also ran indoor and outdoor track at Independence High School. Kayla was a member of the 2014 graduating class. Stephanie Campbell’s time was 23:00, earning her a first place medal in her age group.
Jennifer Damm and son Gavin ran to honor her cousin Brian Bowman, a US Army Medic who was killed in action in January, 2010. Jennifer Damm came in second place in her age division with a time of 24:05.
Awards were presented by the Mint Hill Lions Club on the steps of the Mint Hill Town Hall with the Independence Leo Club assisting. First, second and third place medals were presented for best overall times, as well as various age groups.
This year’s runners ranged in age from 7 to 69.
For more information on the winning times, visit www.queencitytiming.com.