This year’s ‘Strawberry’ will give runners 10-minute head start in 5K

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 June 2019 at 8:06 am

Dan Heil of Medina has won the race 3 times

Photos by Tom Rivers: Dan Heil is shown in May 2018 running track as a senior at Medina. He just finished his freshman year at Brockport State College, running cross country and track.

ALBION – This year’s “Strawberry” will be fast in Saturday’s 5k/8k race at the Strawberry Festival in Albion.

Dan Heil of Medina won the race three times, each year from 2015 to 2017. He ran the course in about 18 minutes. He took last year’s race off because of the Medina prom.

Heil, 19, is ready to lace up his shoes for Saturday’s race. He will be wearing the strawberry costume for the 29thannual Strawberry Festival 5k/8k. (Click here for more information on the race.)

The race in the past decade has featured a runner dressed as a strawberry. People who finish ahead of “The Strawberry” win a prize. This year it will be ice cream from Lugia’s Ice Cream on Wheels, one of the food vendors at the festival.

Race organizers try to get “The Strawberry” to run middle of the pack, about 29-30 minutes.

Heil will probably still finish in the 29-30 minute range, but only because he is giving everyone a 10-minute head start.

He might even be well ahead of 29 minutes because Heil said he has boosted his pace in the past year at Brockport.

The race is at 8 a.m. and starts in front of the Orleans County Courthouse on East State Street and heads east. Part of the course includes the Erie Canal Towpath which was recently upgraded with a new surface in some sections.

The Strawberry Festival parade follows at 10 a.m. The festival is Friday and Saturday. Click here for more information about the festival.

Ryan Lubba dressed as “The Strawberry” for the June 2013 race. Lubba, a 2008 Albion grad, ran the 5k course in about 29:30. That race had nearly 300 runners.

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