Love was in the air for a number of Richmond Hill residents in February, and it didn’t revolve solely around Valentine’s Day.
They displayed their love for running earlier this month, braving cold and breezy weather to compete in the Tybee Island Marathon, Half-Marathon and 5K races. Nearly 2,200 runners competed in the annual races, held Feb. 3.
Christi Shineflew, a 46-year-old Richmond Hill resident and realtor, is one of 35 area residents who ran the 5K.
She finished the 3.1-mile course in 28:34, her fastest time in that distance. While others may have craved some more sultry ocean breezes, Shineflew, an asthma sufferer, welcomed the cooler temperatures.
"It was just right for me," Shineflew said. "I don’t like it when it’s warm and humid. I had a great time. I thoroughly enjoyed it."
Shineflew took up running four years ago for health reasons. She began walking with a friend and graduated to running because she was bored with the slower pace.
Shineflew built up to runs of six to seven miles and signed up for her first race, the Tybee 5K, which has become an annual tradition.
"It’s exciting to see the 5K runners and marathon and half-marathon runners going in opposite directions at the start," Shineflew said. "I enjoy starting with the 5K every year and seeing how I’ve progressed."
Shineflew’s inaugural 5K on Tybee proved to be inspiration for her husband, David, who resumed running the following year; he last ran in high school as a member of the track team. This year, David ran the 5K race in 24:22.
Describing the conditions as cold and windy, David said it was nevertheless a good experience. "I warmed up once the race started," said David, who works as a welder. "Because of the cold and wind, there wasn’t as much dilly-dallying around on the part of the runners. Still, it seemed like a full boat there."
David said he likes the race because it’s local and he doesn’t have to travel too far.
Furthermore, he enjoys getting together with his family and friends, including daughter Brandi, 23, who ran with a friend and finished in 45:01. Said David: "It’s a fun, family thing."
Running a race gives him something to look forward to, David explained, adding that he is not competing to win but against himself.
David and Christi train together at the same pace, but the togetherness does not carry over into races. "He does what he can do," Christi said.
The Shineflews plan to run next month’s 15K Gate River Run in Jacksonville, Fla. Christi, who ran the Disney Half-Marathon in January, is encouraging her husband to join her in the half-marathon ranks, just as she did with the 5K. "She may talk me into running that distance," David said.
Running, Christi noted, has helped her in other areas of her life. "It helps me achieve things I didn’t think I could do," she said. Christi added that she’s inspired by the older runners she sees at races. Not only do they look young and healthy, she remarked, but they seem to take better care of themselves and have higher morals. "We hope to run when we’re in our 70s and 80s," Christi said.
David echoes those sentiments. "We hope to continue running for a long, long time."
Relative to the 5K participants, Brian Dugan ran for a long time. The 35-year-old Army infantry major and resident of Richmond Hill finished the 13.1-mile course in 145:05.
It was his first half-marathon on Tybee. Having missed some training time due to a cold, Dugan was anxious to resume running as he prepares for a half-Ironman.
"For the amount of training I’ve done, I was happy with my performance," said Dugan, who runs four to five times a week with his men and/or staff at Fort Stewart. "It was a chilly day, but the conditions didn’t bother me. After running a hilly half-marathon in Germany, I’ll never complain about a course being flat. I liked the way they took us around the island and into the residential areas."