SEBRING - Participants in a 5K understand that they occasionally might have to deal with inclement weather, a sprained ankle, or a mild sunburn.
But wild hogs? That's a new one.
And when Renee Marin came in at 17 minutes and 43 seconds to capture first place in the inaugural EDGE Cheer 5K at Highlands Hammock State Park on Saturday, he lost a few valuable seconds due to an encounter with a family of porkers.
"It was actually the second time it's happened to me," Marin said. "I was just running and I saw them, and I thought, 'I don't want to get hit by one of these guys,' so I stopped for a little bit. And when they saw me they finally moved."
"They were big, too - up to my knee at least," he added.
While Marin said that he primarily participates to stay in shape and improve his time, he was also present on Saturday to help benefit the EDGE Cheer Center, which organized the race in hopes of raising money to get new competition uniforms for the center's all-stars.
"A bunch of us moms got together, and we started looking into ideas for fundraisers, and we came up with this idea," said race coordinator Mindy Pugh. "I'm really pleased with the turnout, especially since it was the first one and on the same days as the Firemen's golf tournament. We had over 130 runners pre-registered representing 18 different age groups and I'm really happy with that."
Pugh said that she hopes the event continues to grow and added that there are tentative plans to hold a 5K glow run in the near future.
Following Marin on the men's side was Tom Lucas, who won the 60 and over age group with a time of 22:16. Peter Lewia followed him with a time of 29:31 and Ron Sevigny placed third in 41:48.
Nelson Pachecho was the sole runner in the 50-59 age group, finishing with a time of 39:52.
Bart Kovens placed first in the 40-49 age group in 30:24. John Komasa finished second with a time of 32:08 while John Caputo rounded out the group with a third place time of 40:10.
In one of the more competitive age groups, Jayson Bass captured first place in the 30-39 division with a time of 18:46. Grant Rowe came in second at 21:43 and Brian Vanfleet placed third in 24:53.
Out of two runners in the 20-29 age group, Fabian Gems placed first in 23:30 while Ryan Janovitz came in second with a time of 27:29.
Joey Piccione finished first in the 13-19 age group in 24:14 to edge Patrick Clinton's 25:29. Rhett Williams placed third with a time of 26:51.
Just 23 seconds separated Matthew Andrews and Billy Carol in the 9-12 age group, as Andrews finished in first with a time of 26:13 while Carol came in second in 26:36. Drew Morris was third with a time of 28:48.
Austin Ulm placed first in the 6-8 age group in 36:08. Bud Cox finished behind him in 37:09 while Brooker Revell was third with a time of 44:59.
Dylan Lanier was the only participant of the 4-5 age group, finishing with a time of 55:22.
Meanwhile, Emily Bible was the overall female winner with a time of 27:29.
In the female 60-69 age group, Diane Griffin took first place in 51:12 and Betty Williams finished second with a time of 58:14. They were the only two to compete.
Helen Bingenheimer won the 50-59 age group with a time of 28:06. Marian Gilde was next in 28:37 and Debbie Webber rounded out the group in a third place finish in 32:14.
Coming in at 30:26, Grace Kovans won the 40-49 age group. Liz Carol followed her with a time of 35:08 and Helen Burton placed third in 40:52.
In the largest group of the race for either gender, Laura Vanfleet edged Cari Byrd, finishing in 27:36 to Byrd's 27:54. Gabie Birnie finished third with a time of 31:22.
Destiny Baker captured first place in the 20-29 age group with a time of 41:31. Janet Barber placed second with a time of 44:33 and Allison Giloe finished third in 48:38.
Another Vanfleet, this time Julia, took home the 13-19 age group, as she cruised into first with a time of 28:20. Katrina Scholl-Lanier finished next in 33:12, followed by Sydney Donovan who finished in 39:19.
Maci Leaphart placed first in the 9-12 age group in 30:16. Torri Morris came in second with a time of 36:55 and Ashley Bible placed third in 36:55.
Coming in first at 36:44 in the 6-8 age group was Riley Sevigny. Second place belonged to Corin Smith with a time of 39:48 while Baxley Hines finished third in 40:08.
There were only three runners in the 4-5 age group. Annslee Gose captured first place with a time of 43:34. Baylee Sevigny finished second in 47:14 and Katelyn Rowe placed third in 50:52.