33rd annual Hub Run goes off like ‘well-oiled machine’
By ANTHONY D. ALONZO Post-Tribune correspondent May 5, 2013 10:02PM
Runners participate in the 33rd Annual YMCA Hub Run in Crown Point on Sunday, May 5, 2013. | Jim Karczewski~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 7, 2013 6:29AM
CROWN POINT — Sunday’s 33rd running of the Southlake YMCA Hub Run was an event that race coordinators believe proceeded like a “well-oiled machine,” offering participants an interesting course and favorable spring conditions.
Named to recall Crown Point’s early title as the Hub of Lake County, both a competitive 5K run and a 2K walk-run kicked off just east of the city’s Old Courthouse square with about 2,000 area residents taking part in the local tradition.
Southlake YMCA director Chris Mallers introduced mayor David Uran at the starting line. The hometown crowd offered its loudest cheer for former CP Bulldogs standout and University of Michigan basketball player Spike Albrecht. The off-the-bench contributor to the Wolverines’ NCAA national championship runner-up team thanked the crowd for their support and sounded the air horn to begin the event.
Mallers said he was proud to see the young hoops star kick off an event that has matured into a one of the area’s most lauded runs.
“This worked out perfectly,” Maller said, with event volunteers Amy Lucka, Cheryl Louttit and Jennifer Goodwin nearby. “The amount of volunteers we had helping was unreal. This is the smoothest year we’ve ever had.”
Teen runners maintained the lead on a course that meandered through the Ellendale Subdivision southeast of the courthouse. At the high point of an incline in the neighborhood, participants were showered with cheers and music from front-lawn fan zones.
The mid-day sun warmed temperatures into the high 60s as runners began striding past the finish line. Eighteen-year-old Alex Ray was first to finish the 5K clocking in at 17:04.5.
“I had missed (cross country) practice (Saturday) and they had a hard workout,” said Ray, a senior on the Bulldogs. “And so today I thought I’d just go out and try to do a workout on my own.”
Ray said that despite a good start, the Hub Run wouldn’t be a stroll through the park; he kept an eye on friend and challenger Tyler Gray, 17, a fellow cross country team member who battled him for the lead spot.
“He’s going to be a great runner,” Ray said of Gray, who notched a fourth place finish.
Noting his first mile was run in 5:20 and his second, five seconds faster, Ray realized he may have been too fleet of foot during the flat part of the course. He said neighborhood hills made his pace seem “super slow.”
Times were running behind last year’s results. Ray was about 55 seconds slower than the previous winner and trailed his own second-place 2012 finish by 35 seconds.
From 15-year-old St. John resident Tyler Kramer-Stephen’s second place overall finish to 14-year-old Zachary Hoover’s No. 23 showing, the race was a youth movement. Eighteen of the top-25 finishers were 18 or younger. Overall winners in longer races, especially half and full-marathons, tend to be males in their 30s to 40s.
Crown Point sophomore runner Luke Voss, 16, said he noticed an increased security presence at the Hub Run. He recalled the bombings and apprehension of terror suspects at last month’s Boston Marathon expressing surprise that anyone would target such an event.
As far as his own preparation for the 5K, Voss said it’s his teammates who are his motivators.
“We all work together; it helps a lot and keeps us going,” Voss said about their runs at the break of dawn.
Top-10 finishers included No. 6 Richard Gutierrez, 35, and female winner Lindsay Hattendorf, 29, who ran a 17:56.7, good for eighth place.
Bill Banham, 69, of Crown Point shared his story of recovery before Sunday’s race. He had suffered a cardiac arrest two years ago to the date. He credits the quick-thinking actions of his family to administer CPR and get him to nearby St. Anthony Hospital with his ongoing recovery.
He’s trained much on treadmill and was happy to return to running races after many years’ absence.
“I used to run a lot — since 1981,” Banham, who is a quadruple bypass survivor. “Now it’s more of a walk-run. ... I’m kind of doing it for the people I do (cardiac) rehab with.”
Another Crown Point resident, Denise Govert sat with her family on the grassy knoll in front of the courthouse. She said two of her kids had been preparing to run the race: 12-year-old Keegan and 10-year-old Allison were relaxed before the event. Their sister, 7-year-old Peyton said she might consider running it in the future.
Jacob Kasadra, 8, was also preparing to run his first 5K race. His parents, Kelsey and Renee Summa of Crown Point, said the father and son would probably keep pace together, while Mom might move ahead among the crowd.