GENEVA – After last year’s edition of the Summer Sunset 5K was canceled because of extreme heat, many runners had a long wait before they could race in the event again.
But for others – including the eventual champion – the wait was even longer.
Andy Enright, a 30-year-old from Wheaton, turned in the best time during Wednesday’s race in Geneva, crossing the finish line on the Geneva track 16 minutes and 19 seconds after he’d started.
Enright was back in the race for the first time since 2004, when he participated as a college student and finished third. Nine years later, with his wife and two children watching from the stands, he won the race.
“I haven’t been back in a while,” Enright said, “but I’m glad to be back. ... I turned 30 and I wanted to get in shape, so I kind of eyed this race. I’m happy with it.
“This is my third race this summer. The last few years I haven’t raced much at all, but this year I kind of got back in shape and decided to hit the road-race circuit.”
It had been a while away from running for the night’s second-place finisher, Geneva native Andrew Nelson, as well.
“It was awesome. It’s been a while,” Nelson said. “I’ve had a four-, five-month hiatus from running, so I’m just kind of getting back into it. I’m so thankful for this opportunity to run in the hometown and get that feeling again.”
Nelson finished just seven seconds behind Enright with a time of 16:26, but he was happy with his finish and even more excited to be running on the track he ran on throughout his years in high school.
“A little bit nostalgic here,” Nelson said. “A nice trip down memory lane.
“I think I even surprised myself a little bit with how good I felt. It was great to have that competition up front, someone to push you along the way. I’m just very blessed for the opportunity to get back at what I love to do.”
The first woman to cross the finish line was Oswego’s Ashley Golembeski, 18, who said she didn’t see a fellow female while she was busy running with the guys. Daphne Kolody, a 12-year-old from Batavia, was the highest area female finisher, ranking fourth among the women with a time of 19:52.
In the earlier Youth Mile race, Jaden Ahern, 10, of Geneva turned in the best time at 7:03. Jaycie Simon, 12, of Oswego was the top female finisher in that race.