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The Journal Gazette

  • Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette About 800 runners and walkers cross Superior Street at the start of the Runners on Parade 5K race Saturday.

  • Moldovan

  • Rauch

Sunday, July 09, 2017 1:00 am

TRF race draws 800 of all ages

Men's, women's winners use event for training

Austin Candor | The Journal Gazette

It didn't matter if you were a high school runner, marathoner or 6-year old husky-shepherd mix. All were welcome for the 23rd annual Runners on Parade in downtown Fort Wayne on Saturday morning .

More than 800 runners and a handful of dogs partook in the Fort Wayne Running Club's 5K race that's traditionally a prelude to the Three Rivers Festival Parade.

“It was an event that we organized to support running in the community,” Fort Wayne Running Club board member Jonathon Gottschalk said. “We have a great opportunity to get some really talented, fast runners. So it's both competitive and well visible to the community.”

Andrea Sherva and her husky-shepherd mix, Koda, stole the show, the two easily spotted by spectators sitting on the sidewalks of Calhoun Street. The pair was participating for the second time.

“(Koda) usually likes to pull the first mile, she's getting better at not doing that. She's got a lot of energy,” said Sherva, 31, who always takes Koda with her on runs unless it's too hot. “They always say that a tired dog is a happy dog, which I know with huskies, is true.”

The men's and women's champions were Fort Wayne natives Bobby Moldovan and Tiffany Rauch, who both came to win.

Moldovan ran the 3.1-mile race in 15 minutes, 3.3 seconds for the first-place finish, while Rauch placed 44th with a 17:36.9.

“As a distance runner, you don't get to race very often. So these races, you get excited for,” said Moldovan, who used the race as part of his training for a half-marathon later this summer. “You run seven days a week, get up really early in the morning to run in this hot, nasty weather, and these races are what you get to look forward to.”

Moldovan hadn't run the 5K since the summer following his senior year at Northrop. Now living in Ohio, the 28-year old returned to his hometown with his family for the weekend to give the race another shot.

“When I was in high school, I always looked at this race as, 'Oh, it'd be fun to win it' because you always had these guys that were a little better than I was,” Moldovan said. “To be able to actually accomplish that is pretty cool.”

Rauch, last year's runner-up for the women, had similar incentive for running Saturday's race. The 23-year old Indiana Tech graduate is training for an ultramarathon, with the bulk of her workouts being on the track.

While Rauch's training plans have varied over the months, she was able to find consistency in Runners on Parade, a race she has done since her days at North Side.

“It's a pretty competitive race. … I like competing and I like having that extra little bit of challenge, so this race is perfect every year,” said Rauch, whose dream is to qualify for the 2020 Olympic trials in the steeplechase.

Other notable winners included Matthew Folk, who won the men's Master division (40 and up) with a 15:49.4, and Kimberly Judd's 20:11 finish won her the women's Master division.

But among the notable competition and races to the finish down Calhoun Street, Runners on Parade's mission focused on a greater cause.

Besides providing runners with a scenic route around downtown, the race also gives back to the community.

For every registered runner, $1 is donated to Riley Children's Hospital. In past years the race has raised $1,000 for the hospital.

After partnering with nearly 12 organizations that included Fort Wayne Orthopedics and Momper Insulation for Saturday's Runners on Parade, the Fort Wayne Running Club is already looking toward its next race with the Run for Riley, scheduled for Oct. 15.

acandor@jg.net