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March 15, 2014

Shuffle speed: First-ever Shamrock 5K raises money for 3 charities

Race proceeds benefit B&G Club, CHO, library

ARDMORE — The first-ever Ardmore Shamrock Shuffle today drew more than 150 runners that participated in the 5K or 1-mile fun run, raising money for local charities and celebrating ahead of Monday’s St. Patrick’s Day.

The races, which both started at First Baptist Church on Fifth Street, featured a challenging course loaded with gradual inclines on a slightly chilly morning and a live hard rock band playing in a nearby field.

The pack of runners ranged from young children and training buddies to mothers pushing strollers and an elderly man who drew some of the morning’s biggest cheers as he cheerfully crossed the finish line with his walker in tow.

Many came decked out in Irish-themed accessories or sporting the shamrock-emblazoned official race T-shirts, receiving boisterous support from a crowd of more than 100 people as they blew air horns, rang cowbells, held up homemade signs and shouted words of encouragement along the route.

Brewer Widner, a firefighter from Ardmore, ran both races at steady pace despite wearing a pack weighing at least 55 pounds.

“I’m just doing this for fun,” he said after other runners asked him if he was training for the military or an extreme-survival endeavor.

A mother and daughter from Decatur, Jessica Members, 29, and Martha Anders, 57, are avid local racers who took full advantage of being able to dress up. They made the drive north after their friends and Ardmore residents, Jackie and Taylor Brown, told them about the inaugural event.

“I celebrate all the holidays,” said Members, whose ensemble included a lime-green tutu, shiny green four-leaf clover beads and a bedazzled top.

Adam McMahan, 18, was the 5K overall winner at 19:17, while Emily Spry, 27, clocked in at 19:49 to claim the women’s title.

Jamie Crouch, 43, won the male master’s division with a time of 22:29. Roxanne Hoppie, 47, was the female master’s winner at 26:20.

Proceeds from today’s race will go toward the Ardmore Boys & Girls Club, Christian Helping Others and the Ardmore Public Library.

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