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A rainy day 5K

A rainy Saturday morning didn’t deter almost 80 dedicated runners who turned out for the annual Comet 5K Run/Walk at Tuck Dillard Memorial Stadium.

It truly didn’t deter Daniel McDonald, who started fast and finished with a time of 21:15.97 to come home first overall in the event, nor did it deter Senecca Kirkhart, who finished first overall among women with a time of 25:40.20.

Nine-year-old Will Van Opstal, as did several others, did double duty at the event, winning the one-mile fun run for youth and finishing second overall in the 5K run with a time of 23:48.77.

McDonald, who won the most recent YMCA South Boston-Halifax County 5K, admitted he finished a little off the pace from that effort.

“I pulled up a little bit in the last mile and didn’t run the pace I wanted to,” admitted McDonald.

“I ran it about 30 seconds faster in the spring.  I was running with somebody there, and that made the pace a little faster.

“I jumped out real fast in the beginning (Saturday), probably a little faster than I should have, and that took a little bit out of me.”

Running in the rain is entirely different than on dry pavement, according to McDonald.

“Your shoes get heavy, it’s harder to breathe, and it was a little colder than what I thought it would be,” he explained.

“I prefer at least milder weather to run in, but altogether it was not too bad a day.”

Kirkhart previously won a 15K in Danville, and she admitted she has run more distance events than 5Ks.

The sister of Halifax County High School cross country runners Emma and Hailey Worsley, Kirkhart spend the better part of the race trying to catch Van Opstal.

“You had to be careful, it was slick,” said Kirkhart of the wet race conditions.

“I was trying to catch up with him, he’s super fast,” admitted Kirkhart.

Comet 5K organizer Melanie Saunders said she had hoped the rain would hold off, but she was still pleased with the turnout for the event.

“We still had a great turnout,” Saunders said.

“I’m very excited about the one-mile fun run, we started out the first year with 3-4 runners, and this year we had about 18 or 19.

“It’s really encouraging seeing the younger kids involved.  You try to teach them life lessons, and it’s not all about who wins.

“It’s about sportsmanship and having a good time.”

Saunders, who finished fourth overall among female runners, said the rain proved to be only a minor inconvenience.

“Once you got going, the rain kind of helped keep you cool,” she said.

Saunders was pleased not only with the numbers of runners at the Comet 5K, but with where they came from

“I’m so happy people in the county and outside the county came and supported us,” she pointed out.

“That’s what it takes to keep our programs going at the high school, and this kind of support even in the weather speaks volumes about the community.

“We’ll have another one in the spring, usually April, and we’ll keep pushing to get the kids here and encourage them to come out and have a good time.”


start stop bwd fwd




Daniel McDonald 21:15.97

Will Van Opstal 23:48.77

Amar Parikh 23:58.48

Ryland Clark 24:03.78

Alan Briley 24:21.35

David Conner 24:51.31

David Riddle 24:56.63

Billy Mitchell 28:02.62

Joel Worsley 29:28.04

Hunter Powell 30:06.95

Charles Via 31:05.95

Tony Guthrie 31:37.17

Chris Owen 33:15.33

Kenny Carr 35:02.87

Joe Talbott 35:26.75

Mike Reeves 38:08.62

Jake Carr 44:33.86

Doug Smith 50:36.11

George Brown52:21.01



Senecca Kirkhart 25:40.20

Teaka Cole 27:03.91

Libby Austin 27:04.99

Melanie Saunders 27:41.82

Angela Allred 27:45.85

Kathryn Roberts 28:15.38

Beth Tingen 29:41.46

Audra Webb 31:20.10

Tanya Powell 31:20.57

Ann Seamster 31:44.69

Mitzi Riddle 32:09.77

Karen Fisher 32:23.89

Suzanne Shotwell 34:19.78

Katrina Talbott 35:39.34

Lori Meadows 36:07.73

Allison Pop 37:17.67

Sherri Reichel 37:44.56

Hannah Bush 37:49.31

Marya Dunning37:49.49

Beth Bush 38:04.22

Deborah Reebals 38:30.49

Tara Wilborn 43:41.53

Scotty Felton 43:42.76

Amanda Everett 44:59.23

Bevin Lovelace 45:11.07

Heather Whitlow 47:47.82

Sandi Francis 47:48.15

K.K. Pulliam 49:16.21

Grace Abdi 49:16.46

Candice Slayton 49:54.68

Michelle Pickett 50:58.87

Janet Gravitt 51:16.31


Fun Run (One Mile-No Times)

Will Van Opstal

Jonathan Goerlich

Olivia Godard

Tyler Van Opstal

Preston Riddle

Zoe Godard

Mason Powell

Sarah Bush

Lucas Talbott

Andrew Goerlich

Trevor Riddle

Jake Carr

Zane Godard

Abigail Howell

Nina Dunning

Tyler Wilborn

Jadyn Lester

Samantha Van Opstal

Destiny Talbott 

Alice Goerlich