Nearly 100 runners brave chill for first 5K holiday race in Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 November 2013 at 12:00 am

Outfits included tutus, Santa hats and other holiday spirit

Photos by Tom Rivers – Mercedes Houseman of Oakfield, left, and Debbie Tompkins of Medina are in the home stretch of the first Home for the Holidays 5K this morning. The race ended on Main Street by the American Legion.

Patty Hastreiter of Lancaster sprints to the finish line in the 5K. She also ran the Turkey Trot in Buffalo on Thursday. Her sister-in-law, Cindy Robinson, organized today’s race with her husband Jim Robinson.

MEDINA – The first Home for the Holidays 5k attracted 85 runners this morning in Medina. Many of the participants ran in Santa hats, jingle bells and other outrageous outfits, including tutus.

Race organizer Cindy Robinson was pleased with the turnout for the first race. She wants it to become an annual tradition, a kickoff to Medina’s Old Tyme Christmas celebration that continues until 11 p.m. today.

Robinson has seen how a holiday-themed race can become a major draw. Seneca Falls started the “It’s A Wonderful Life 5K” in 2009. Last year it attracted 2,000 participants to the small village that was used for the classic film starring Jimmy Stewart.

“For the first race I’m thrilled,” Robinson said. “We can build on this and make it better.”

Many of the runners in this morning’s 5-kilometer race were dressed for the holidays. This group includes, from left: Stephanie Hill of Medina, John Ritter Jr. of Pembroke, Jennifer Pritchett of Basom, Katy Owczarczak of Medina and Sharon Koszuta of Akron.

The fastest runners were awarded prizes for completing the 5K course. Robinson wants to add prizes in the future for best costumes.

The race attracted many participants from outside Medina. Robinson is hopeful that the race will bring people to the community who will stick around for more events as part of Medina’s Old Tyme Christmas. (Click here for the schedule.)

I heard people exclaim about the beautiful course along the canal. The only complaint: It was a little slippery for some of the runners. But everyone seemed in good spirits.

“It was fun and we wanted to do it for the first year,” said Sharon Koszuta of Akron. “We want to support running events.”

Gary Lantinen, 58, of Gasport is all alone and ahead of the pack while running along the towpath next to a frozen Erie Canal. He won today’s race with a time of 20:36.

Stephanie Schmidt of Sanborn finishes in 21:19, the fastest time for all of the women runners.