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Sunday Fun Run Draws Dozens To Starting Line
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Toeing the line, runners in both the mile and 5k as part of the Panther Fun Run on Sunday get ready to take off while the timer, at left, covers his ears waiting for the pop of the starting gun, fired off by Escalon High teacher and coach Rick Heflin. Marg Jackson/The Times


On a chilly Sunday morning – well before settling in for some Super Bowl viewing and snacking – dozens gathered at El Portal Middle School for the annual Panther Fun Run, lacing up the running shoes for either the one-mile or 5k event. Both took off at the same time from the First Street school campus, the one-mile going out and back on First Street and the 5k veering out into the country for a bit before coming back along the main route to end at the school.

With results provided by Red Cap Timing out of Roseville and proceeds benefiting the El Portal Parent Club, organizers were pleased with the turnout and said they hope to continue the run in the years to come.

Leading the way in the one-mile were Makayla Blakeley, 11, and Fabricio Gallo, 17, virtually crossing the finish line together with a time of 8:07. Only a handful of participants chose to run the mile, with third place going to Emily McPherrin, followed by Bryce McPherrin, fourth; Michael Megenney, fifth; Morgan Blakeley, sixth; Clare McPherrin, seventh; and 8-year-old Daniel Thompson rounding out the one mile runners, eighth place overall, with a time of 11:21.

First place overall finisher in the 5k was Chris Harp of Escalon with a time of 20:39 and first place female was Carol Schryver of Riverbank, 20:51, second overall. Top five in the 5k also included 13-year-old Max Teague, Escalon, third place, 23:15; Andres Carnejo, 13, Riverbank, fourth in 23:27 and Ty Snow, 12, of Escalon, fifth place in 24:00 flat.

Eight-year-old Nathaniel Millard of Escalon was eighth overall, first in in his age division, at 26:35, even beating out his dad Nicholas, who was 18th overall in 29:30.

Bud Fischer was the oldest 5k participant, at 74 years old, finishing 58th overall in a time of 54:23 and the youngest competitor was Brooklyn Dugo, the 6-year-old completing the 5k course in 1:04.02, good for 66th place overall and first in her age group.

With nearly 80 participants between the events, the runs were a good way to start the day, with many attendees heading from there over to the Rotary Club’s omelet breakfast at the high school, another community fundraiser.

Sponsors for the 2016 Panther Fun Run included West Coast Grape Farming, Thompson Ranch, Built By Kennedy/General Contractor, 1st Class Blinds and Shutters, Optimal Hospice Care and Dairy Works.