Picture a perfect Saturday afternoon, add nearly 300 enthusiastic runners, walkers, karaoke singers and spectators, many dressed in over-the-top 1970s and ’80s styles, and it adds up to the first-ever Richmond Hill Retro Run 5K.
It was party like it’s 1979, ’89 and ’99, before, during and after the 3.1 mile race April 28 around J.F. Gregory Park. Runners from as far away as Vidalia and Hilton Head Island, endured the 80-plus degree temperatures.
All entrants who started finished the five kilometer loop. The race, spearheaded by Richmond Hill resident and owner of Endurance Race Services, Dan Pavlin, seemed to be a blockbuster hit for all who attended. He was assisted by Michael Littlefield, also of Richmond Hill. Georgia Game Changers’ Ron Elliott, served as master of ceremonies and provided the inflatable race arch.
"It’s all about having fun, sweating, praying, saluting the flag and raising money for deserving charities," Pavlin said. "The bottom line is we like to have fun!"
Waterfront Church’s youth group, led by Pastor Adam Ricker and Sam Pemberton, will receive proceeds.
"We arrived two hours before the start of the event, not really knowing what our teenage group was going to do," Pemberton said. "Our youth volunteer team set-up water stations, which involved a two mile round-trip trek, marked the course, distributed medals at the finish line, set-up the food, and took charge of the clean-up afterward."
The overall winner was Hilton Head Island’s John Duberley, 30, who blistered the course to win in just over 17 minutes. It was his second race of the day. The personal trainer won the Palmetto Purple Heart 5k earlier in the day.
"My motto is, ‘health is wealth,’" he said. "I try to help set a good personal fitness example for others to follow."
Top female finisher Laurie Householder, 42, of Pooler, finished in just under 21 minutes. She also topped the March 2018 Palmetto Bluff Marathon.
"I prefer to race the longer distances," Householder said. "Oh lawdy, I forget how much the short distances (5Ks) hurt. I was happy to win, but would like to improve my leg turnover for future races in July."
South Guyton resident, Naomi Hathaway sang Pat Benatar’s "Shadows of the Night" to a rousing first place karaoke finish. The former high school choir member and church worship team singer said, "I am humbled to have been chosen, but truly everyone who stepped up to sing was worthy of an award."
The costume contest, led by chief judge and local running legend, Bill Briggs, 88, of Savannah said it was a challenge to pick a winner. Richmond Hill residents Danny and Mia Schaffer, were crowd favorites and won.
Results can be viewed at Savannahraces.com.