HOLMES BEACH – Two hundred and fifty three runners of all ages registered for the fifth annual Anna Maria Elementary School Dolphin Dash Saturday morning, a significantly higher turnout than last year's 175 as this once-small event continues to grow in popularity.
"We had 212 pre-registrations this year with 70 of them at Holy Cow Ice Cream Friday night," Dolphin Dash organizer Becky Walter said. "It was the best weather we could have and the kids in the runners club made their 1,000 miles – it was the best race ever."
The runners club, which Walter formed to get students at the school into running, practices on Wednesday mornings and it was the goal of the kids to run 1,000 miles collectively. In addition to students, parents, and members of the Bradenton Runners Club, teachers Becky Demo and Lauren Waite and coach Eric Boso ran. The Dolphin Dash consists of 5K and one-mile races. The runners compete for position in the 5K race while the one-mile runners all get medals when they finish.
Kristen Zarrella (22:38) and Jonathan Huffy (17:13) posted the best times overall in the men's and women's divisions in the 5K race. Dominique Kohlenberpcr and Erik Jones were first in the Master's category, Lynda Botzenhard and Jim Christenson were first in the Grand Masters, Arlene Zarazb and Tom Conlin were first in the Senior Grand Masters group and Gerry Repple was first in the Veteran Grand Masters grouping. Ellen Jones, who is writing stories in The Sun about taking up running, came in first in the women's 55 to 59 age group.
Twins Tori and Anni Walter, daughters of organizer Becky Walter, came in first and second in the girl's nine and under age group while Ryan and Tyler Katchen came in first and second in the boy's nine and under group. In the 80 and over class, Walter White was the sole participant and he, of course, took the gold with a time of 38.03, which was not the slowest mark.
Walter thanked the door prize sponsors: the Chiles Group offering $25 certificates, On a Shoestring for merchandise, the Bradenton Runners Club for merchandise and Jodene Moneuse for jewelry.
Full results are posted at http://runnergirl.com/races/dolphindash/dolphindash.html, and more pictures and results are also posted at www.amisun.com.
Some of the student runners came from as far as Lakewood Ranch and Walter was impressed, but she said she also wants the AME students to keep running Wednesdays before school and during the summer.