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5-Mile runners enjoy Oregon Trail
July 15, 2016 Jerry Purvis   

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Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen The Don Childs Memorial Five Mile Run attracted 168 competitors to one of the long-standing features of Oregon Trail Days.

Oregon Trail Days got into full swing with 168 runners who entered the Don Childs Jr. Memorial Five-Mile Run in downtown Gering on a cool and sunny Friday (July 8) morning.

According to organizer and Gering High teacher and coach Randy Plummer, Don Childs Sr. was the band director at Gering High School for many years. When his son, Don Jr., was killed in a plane crash in the late 1970s, the coaches, along with Activities Director Terry Miller, decided to name the summer event in his memory.

The five-mile run goes back even farther. The first year of the run in 1973, it was called the Oregon Trail Days Five-Mile Run. The original course sent runners north on 10th Street, west on U Street past the high school, then south along the canal to Westlawn Cemetery and back into town. Today, the route is from 10th Street, west on M Street/Old Oregon Trail to Scotts Bluff National Monument, then a U-turn back to downtown.

Dan Wilder, a second-place finisher in 1973, was a 1971 Gering High School graduate. During his senior year, he was the Class B State Champion in both cross country and track’s 3200m.

“I came back one summer from the University of Wyoming and it seemed there was nothing going on,” Wilder said. “So, we organized a five-mile run event for Oregon Trail Days,” he said.

Although these days he lives in Connecticut, Wilder has made it back to Gering and run the race 15 times.

For Stacy Totherow of Denver, she entered the Don Childs race for the first time this year. She also ran in the Monument Marathon in September. “I’m thinking about moving here (to Gering) because I love the people and the place,” she said. “The area is so beautiful and open. I haven’t seen wide open spaces in a long time. Even the drive up here was beautiful.”

The overall men’s winner was Nick Kizzire, who broke the tape at 30:09. Originally from Bayard, he now calls Alliance home.

“This is a really well-organized event, so I enjoy running here. Plus, it’s close to home,” Kizzire said. “I’ve been attending chiropractic school the past four years in Minnesota; so this is my first time back.”

Aubree Worden of Scottsbluff was the overall winner among the women, posting a time of 32:10. “I’m usually at college in Arkansas, so it’s be a while since I’ve run this event,” she said. “I’m home for summer, so I decided to do all the runs in the area.”

Worden said she likes the course because of the beauty of the Monument and the first part of the course is uphill. She called it “distracting. The way back is all downhill, which is nice.”

Top Finishers

Men’s Division

16 and under: Logan Moravec (33:33), Alex Araujo (34:06), Peyton Seiler (36:52).

17 – 29: Nick Kizzire (30:09), Shane Burkey (30:40), Joshua Hergenreder (31:01).

30 – 39: Ed Whetham (36:54), Stephen Salazar (37:01), Russ McHenry 37:25).

40 – 49: Joe Valdez (38:06), Rocky Snyder (42:05), Shawn Seiler (42:39).

50 – 59: Jim Kapen (39:04), David Nagel (43:09), John Martinez (43:11).

60 and over: Roberto Gonzales (41:22), BJ Peters (45:36), Monte Feather (46:11).

Women’s Division

16 and under: Kaylee Bentley (37:34), Morgan Mickey (37:35), Nicole Patton (40:24).

17 – 29: Aubree Worden (32:10), Whitney Riesen 35:56), Damaris Martinez (37:36).

30 – 39: Brittany Hubbard (39:49), Tina Cheek (43:33), Britni Schmaltz (43:42).

40 – 49: Sarah Bell (37:10), Stacy Totherow (42:13), Janal Green (45:44).

50 – 59: Deanna Stricker (46:40), Susan Olson (49:03), Val Rexus (49:56).

60 and over: Kathy Rose (47:09), Sharon Lease (49:18), Pam Vargason (69:35).

Keeping registration running smoothly, from left, Judy Land, Deb Plummer and Faith Hixon help with registration and tabulating final results.
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