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Photos by Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Eighty-nine runners head for the wooded trail Sunday at the start of the annual Father’s Day 4K trail run at Metea County Park.

Families run together, celebrate Father’s Day

Benjamin Fowls, 4, cheers on his father, mother and uncle with enthusiasm at the trail’s finish line.
Pat Hennessey completed the run with daughters Colleen, right, and Erin, middle left, and his wife, Pam. Many participants ran with family members.

As families gathered Sunday for the annual Father’s Day Trail Run at Metea County Park, one father-and-son team celebrated together for the first time in two years.

Fort Wayne native Jim Anderson, 48, traveled more than 5,000 miles from Guinea West Africa to visit his father, Gary, 70.

On Sunday, the two put on their running gear and signed up for the annual run.

“About every two years I get to come back and spend time with Mom and Dad,” said Jim Anderson. “ … What’s better than a trail run together?”

The race began at the edge of a pond near the Gloria Goeglein Nature Center, then continued into a wooded area before turning back toward the pavilion where family and friends waited with hugs and water bottles for the finishers.

Before the race began, Pat Hennessey, and his two daughters Erin, 24, and Colleen, 22, stretched their muscles and talked strategy with their mom, Pam.

“We all run at a different pace,” said Colleen. “We’ll probably come in at different times.”

As event organizers signaled the start of the race, all four runners pushed earbud headphones into their ears and stretched a final time before settling into a jog alongside the 89 runners who participated Sunday.

Nearby, Patricia Nash helped her daughter Christina, 14, and son Victor, 10, attach their running bibs to their T-shirts as dad, Steve, pinned on his number.

Donning a shirt with a race from 1988, Steve smiled at his two children as they lined up for the race.

“This shirt is older than both of them,” he said with a laugh.

Christina said she enjoys running for fun and for competition. And her enthusiasm showed Sunday as she was the first female to finish and the eighth runner to cross the line.

Ryan Kienzie, 27, of Canton, Ohio, was the first to finish the race, followed by Chris Meyer, 15, of Fort Wayne. In third place was Jim Stockman, 47, of Angola.

After about 20 minutes, Colleen Hennessey crossed the finish line, nearly three minutes before her family, and stood to wait for them to arrive. Erin came in next and behind her, Pam and Pat.

“Let’s see if Dad slows down and lets Mom win,” Colleen said, with a laugh.

Seconds later, Pat sped past her, taking third place for the family of four.

“Nope,” Colleen added. “Well, good thing it’s Father’s Day.”