Family affair: Race brings people together

For one area family, the Run to the Moon races Saturday morning proved to be a family affair.

The four-member family raced together in the 5K race. Others could race in a 10K race and youngsters and their parent could race in a special 1-mile race. All the races started and ended at the Armstrong Air & Space Museum.

Amy and Jim Morrisey, of Lima, who ran the race with their two daughters, Jocelyn and Emily, praised race organizer, Amy Kentner, for a well-planned event.

“Amy Kentner, who is a training partner of ours, did an outstanding job with this race and you can’t deny she did a nice job with a great local event such as this,” Jim Morrisey said. “We do travel around as a family running races in several different states, but it is great to run local races and give back to the community.”

Each family members chimed in with different reasons for this race being one of their favorites from it being flat and well organized to simply being just fun.

For Amy and Jim Morrisey, they appreciated shuttle astronaut Greg Johnson being such an integral part of the event. He signed t-shirts and the awards for the runners. He was present at the start of each race and often spent time talking to runners when they finished their event.

For 10-year-old Jocelyn, she liked an addition to the race’s route.

“I really liked the space facts you could read like it was at 10:56 p.m. July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong took his first step on the moon and the first fruit on the moon was a peach,” Jocelyn said. “Having signs like that does help you forget the grind of the race.”

Jim Morrisey has been running since he was in high school. He convinced his wife, Amy, to participate after they were married 12 years ago. Jocelyn has been running since she was six and now her sister, Emily, who is 6, is running. The Run to the Moon was her first race.

Jocelyn said she and Emily liked the fire hydrants being opened to help cool the runners as they passed.

For Stone Schnarre, 14, of Wapakoneta, he took to the streets of Wapakoneta for the second time this month for a more practical reason. Schnarre, who also ran the Firecracker 5K on July 4, is working to get time in to help with earn high school credit through a program called credit flex. Students must participate a minimum number of hours in at least five different athletic areas to earn credit for physical education.

Schnarre still had his favorite aspects of the race.

“I really liked going around Veterans Memorial Park,” said Schnarre, who participated in the 5K event. “I liked the sign but I only read about two signs because I was paying too much attention to the race. I also liked the sayings, or the tape recordings of news events about the Apollo launch and landing.”

The race on Saturday morning was the first time Wapakoneta native and Wapakoneta High School teacher Aaron Stiger had raced in a some time. He raced with his wife, Carli.

“It was enjoyable is the best way to put it because this is my first race I have run since I was running competitively,” said Stiger, who finished in first place as he stood next to Brad Johns, of Wapakoneta, who finished in second place in the 25-39 age division. “This is my wife’s first race and she was planning to run it in under 28 minutes and she completed it with a time of 25:35.

“I was going to run it with her and I did for about a mile but then the competitiveness took over and off I went,” said Stiger, who coaches the cross country team and freshmen basketball. “I really enjoyed this race because I didn’t have to concentrate on winning and running as hard as I can — I could run and look around and just enjoy myself.”

Stiger and Johns agreed the race was well organized and the atmosphere was fantastic with Johnson present.

Stiger also liked the inflatables for the children and the 1-mile fun run.

Stiger’s wife said she liked the treatment the runners received, with each having access to fruit and Gatorade at the end of the race.

Stiger also was encouraged to see many of students participating in the event.

Kentner called the morning’s races a “stellar event” with 578 registered runners in the 5K and 10K races and an additional 70 racers for the 1-mile fun run aimed for the children, which included many of their parents running with their kids.

“I have heard the runners really liked the signs along the course, they like it because it was nice and flat and the part that went over really big was they liked having astronaut Greg Johnson here and a part of the event,” Kentner said. “Having that connection with the space theme and having the astronaut here really gives the area and the runners a strong connection to an important aspect to Ohio — we have very good runners and athletes and we have played and continue to play an important part in the space program.”

Kentner said Johnson with his personal and humorous personality fit in nicely with the race atmosphere. She noted she has made contact with NASA officials about another astronaut appearing at the race in 2013.

“I think overall we had a great turnout and the feedback we have received has been stellar,” Kentner said. “I think the race went well and the runners and families attending were pleased.”