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Runners Lace Up For Pair Of Park Fete Competitions
Winner of the women’s division, the first two-mile female runner across the line, was eight-year-old Gisela Hernandez, coming in to the finish with a time of 15:07.

The 10k and two-mile events hosted on Saturday morning, July 13 in Escalon saw a huge crowd of runners toe the line and head off on the marked routes for the races.

Bright sunshine greeted competitors in both events, with the 10k runners and one wheelchair racer taking off about 7:15 a.m. and the two-mile walkers and runners starting at 7:30 a.m.

Shadowchase Running Club once again was the event organizer and Park Fete is part of a series of club runs for the local organization.

Taking home the top honor for the men’s division in the 10k was Anthony Cortes, 25, touring the course in 34:54 for an average pace of 5:37 per mile. First female finisher in the 10k was 16-year-old Kayden Legan of Oakdale, running a 43:34 for a pace of 7:01 minutes per mile.

The two-mile first overall male finisher was 19-year-old Moises Benavides, 10:25, for a pace of 5:12 minutes per mile and young Gisela Hernandez, 8, earned the top overall place for female runners in the two-mile with a time of 15:07, keeping up a pace of 7:33 minutes per mile.

The wheelchair competitor, A.J. Mitchell, 34, completed the 10k course in 43:27, a pace of 7:00 per mile.

“I’ve done this one for three or four years now,” Mitchell said of competing in Escalon. “I do the Modesto Marathon, the Peace Officers Memorial, the Riverbank Cheese and Wine, pretty much every race they have around here.”

Also running the 10k was Sean Dodge, a Modesto Police Department officer who carried the ‘blue line’ flag and ran the race in full police gear.

“I did Boston in full gear,” he said of competing previously in the famed Boston Marathon. “I’ve done five marathons now, a lot of half-marathons.”

Part of his mission, he noted, is raising awareness for the ‘10k with a Cop’ program that sees officers working with elementary students on running, starting with a one mile event and working their way up, providing a good give and take with officers in a relaxed, friendly and healthy atmosphere.

Dodge said he hopes to bring the 10k with a Cop to San Joaquin County next, as it is already established in Stanislaus County.

While the runners were on the route Saturday, there were plenty of onlookers to cheer them on, snapping photos and encouraging them as they neared the finish line.

Runners in the two-mile take off from the starting line about 7:30 a.m. Saturday, July 13 in the annual Park Fete run.
Dubbing themselves the ‘super seniors’ this trio of runners includes, from left, David C. Bailey, 72; John Utne, 81; and Bob Tennent, 73. They all took part in the two-mile Park Fete run.