SEBRING - Florida Hospital Heartland wrapped up a weekend of fundraising activities with a 5K/10K Sunday morning. Close to 300 runners showed up at the branch at Sun 'n Lake for the annual race, which is an extension of the hospital's yearly fundraising gala.
"This is our 19th annual gala," said Foundation Executive Director Jamie Bateman. "The money we raised this weekend goes to renovating the pediatric center in Sebring. We're also adding a mammography unit in Hardee County. We're very proud of that, because it's the first center of its kind in Hardee."
The race, which comes on the heels of an auction dinner and golf tournament held on Friday and Saturday, has been very successful for the hospital. This was the second straight year the project was able to include a 10K course with the race.
"This takes a huge team effort," Bateman said. "We're very proud of all the board members and the community who helped out. All of our sponsors were great as well. It's been a great achievement."
In the 5K race, husband and wife team Matt and Krista Schult were the male and female open winners. Matt was also the event's overall winner, finishing with a sizzling time of 17:12.7. He was the only runner to finish in under 18 minutes. Krista, who serves as the girls cross country coach at Sebring High School, set the bar high for her runners, finishing with a stellar time of 21:01.
Both the men's and women's brackets included a handful of impressive finishes.
Youngster Zoe Wortinger captured the female 7 to 10 age group, coming in at 21:12.5. Savannah Oldfield (24:21.9) was top in the 11-14 class; Dominique Juliano (30:50.4) was first in the 15-18 class; Ranae Ewing (24:05.5) won the 19-24 group in 24:05.5; Hilary Fiocca (24:42.4) was champion of the 25-29 group; Trisha Johnson (29:23.9) won the 30-34 class; Marlene Brantley (26:18.7) was first in the 35-39 class; Jennifer Gonzalez (28:26.9) won the 40-44 group; Heather Harshman (29:09.6) was first in the 45-49 class; Lisa Foster (26:41.6) was tops in the 50-54 class; Debbie Webber (30:50.1) won the 55-59 class.
There were three classes of women who ran that were over 60. Rosa Gonzaelz first in the 60-64 class with a time of 28:26.6, while Mary Carol Plott won the 65-69 age group in 35:54.4. Two groups of runners over 70 ran. Nelda Walriven was first in the 70-74 class with an impressive time of 38:32.3. Betty Howard captured the 75-79 class in 48:43.5.
Meanwhile, on the 10K course, Sebring High School's Eric Foster was the race's overall winner, as well as the male open champion, coming in at 36:21.1. Regan Davenport was the female open winner, finishing with a blistering time of 45:44.5.
A handful of Blue Streaks competed in the 10K race alongside Foster. His brother, Damian, was first in the 12-18 age group, finishing in 38:12.8. Lukas High followed him in second at 41:54.6, while boys cross country coach Jayson Bass won the 35-39 class in 38:49.6.
Other notable finishes came from Sean Brown, who won the 40-44 class in 42:30.3. Michael Quigley finished in 38:16.8 to capture the 45-49 group, and Patrick High led the way in the 50-54 class with a time of 37:14.9.
On the women's side, Allie Mann followed Davenport with the second best time, coming in at 50:50.1 to win the 12-18 age group. Jennifer Glassburn won the 45-49 class in 51:06.1, while Trudy Benton finished in 52:58.7 to win the 40-44 group.