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Runners Hit The Streets For Annual Park Fete Competition
Displaying a burst of speed as he nears the finish line, Grayson Jefferson, 5, was among the youngest competitors in Saturday’s Park Fete two-mile run. Marg Jackson/The Times

Though the numbers were much lower than in past years, those that took to the course for Saturday’s Park Fete runs had near perfect conditions for the early morning event.

Coordinator Michael Bower, who teaches at Escalon High School and is also a cross country coach, said he wanted to keep it low key this year, but plans to have a wider outreach and a return to a larger competition in 2023.

The 10k event was the first to take off, runners leaving the starting line at 7:15 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 6. The participants in the two-mile then toed the line and took off at 7:30 a.m.

Providing some brief pre-race instructions was Rick Heflin, now retired, who served as a teacher and coach at Escalon High School for several years. He also fired the starter’s pistol to start the races.

In the 10k, the top three male finishers were: Nate Millard, first, 45:02; Miguel Aceves, 45:04; Mario Rosales, 50:33. The top three female finishers were: Destiny Reyes, first, 56:39; Kacey Cheary, 58:41; Eki Kakuno, 1:06.21.

For the two-mile race, top three male finishers were: Andrew Morales, first, 12:47; Ben Millard, 13:33; Theo Harp, 13:34. Top three female finishers were: Kaity French, first, 16:10; Lisa McDonald, 19:01; Kristie Brown, 19:05.

Some family members and friends turned out along the route, which started and ended at El Portal Middle School on First Street, cheering on the runners.

Modesto resident Steve Gokey, who is visually impaired, ran the route with the assistance of a lead runner.

“She did a great job,” Gokey said of Sonia Lachapelle, who helped him keep pace on the route. “It’s all about the guide.”

Also taking part was Grayson Jefferson, a five-year-old, who crossed the two-mile finish line in 23:19.

“I’m good at it,” the youngster said of why he enjoys running. “I like it, it gives me good exercise.”

Twin sisters Destiny and Faith Reyes – students at EHS – competed in the 10k and Destiny was the first female to cross the finish line; Faith finished fourth overall and their mother, Tonia, was close behind in fifth place to complete the family effort.

Volunteer Erika Olsen, right, hands a medal to 10k runner Patrick Wolak at the finish line of Saturday’s Park Fete run, which featured both a two-mile and a 10k. Every runner received a medal, T-shirt and post-race refreshments. Marg Jackson/The Times
10 k push
Checking back over his shoulder, 10k winner Nate Millard crossed the line just a couple of seconds before competitor Miguel Aceves at Saturday morning’s Park Fete run. Marg Jackson/The Times
destiny reyes
The first female 10k runner to cross the line for the annual Park Fete run on Saturday was Destiny Reyes, coming in a couple of minutes ahead of the second place female runner. Marg Jackson/The Times