After an early morning rain shower, the heavens opened up just in time for runners, walkers and dogs to enjoy the camaraderie and community that all the Hospice Run and Fun Walk event brings.
After Erin Hansen sang the National Anthem, there was a time of reflection and a time of thanksgiving shared with all of the local hospice volunteers and staff that work tirelessly to provide the best possible palliative care for loved ones in the last stages of life.
Many sponsors stepped up as always to support the event with SMX, formally named Smartronix as the presenting sponsor, now in its 16th year of sponsoring the Hospice Run. Coordinator Jim Dicus wrapped up his 26th year of organizing the event.
“We’re proud to be the presenting sponsor for this year’s event,” spokesperson Doug Belvin, Vice President of Growth Operations stated. “It’s part of our commitment to the local community. We have a new name, but same people, same services.”
SMX is located on Smartronix Way in Hollywood. You can visit their website at smxtech.com.
“This event is important in many ways,” Dicus said. “It facilitates dialogue on a difficult topic to discuss, death and dying. People know and are aware of hospice and that hospice provides compassionate care to those facing an end of life illness and also bereavement support and counseling to families.”
“Sheriff Hall called it an amazing event, one of the best year’s yet,” Dicus said. “The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s office and state highway patrol were awesome. They kept everyone safe. The Town of Leonardtown was a wonderful host. Art Shepherd, Rec & Parks and the College of Southern Maryland provided solutions.
“This event cannot be fathomed unless witnessed. The joy, emotion, appreciation and love here are profound. The strongest of men shedding tears of gratitude is something you never forget.”
Greg and Kelly Imhof are the owners of 5-1 Race Timing and graciously scored the event.
“5-1 Race Timing loves supporting the Hospice 10k/5k race each year,” Kelly Imhof said. “The organization has helped us personally, but also does so much for our community. Yesterday was a beautiful event with 309 runners finishing along with hundreds of walkers. We hope to see everyone back next year.”
The team that took home the Defender’s Cup trophy was SMAC Vets 2.0 reunited, in honor of St. Mary’s County Veteran, Albert Eugene Hayden, who’s service spanned two World Wars.
The winner of the 10K run was Robert Young, who finished in 39 minutes 25.23 seconds. Lusby’s David Walser took second in 40:29.11 and La Plata’s Wesley Harris captured third in 40:57.64.
The male 70-and up winner of the 10K was Leonardtown’s Lawrence Ludwig with a time of 58:39.45. The male overall winner was David Walser of Lusby (40:29.29). He was also a member of the SMAC Vets 2.0 reunited team. The 13-and under male 10k winner was Leonardtown’s Ian Moore, who finished in 53:31.42.
The winner of the 5K run was from Melbourne, FL. Kyle Thompson finished in 18:56.42. He said he enjoys participating in the Hospice Run and he traveled with his wife Kaylee and sister.
“I had done this race in 2013 and 2019,” Thompson said. “We had come up to visit. We ran about ¼ mile too far so that was a little frustrating but… we work for Northrop Grumman so, but we came up to take part. I like this atmosphere. I try to support non-profit races when I can. I was going for sub 16:40.”
Leonardtown’s Karl Krasnesky finished second in 19:58.70 and Bowie resident, Raffaele Simpson took third in 20:36.42.
The male 70- and over winner of the 5K was John Patterson of Hollywood, who crossed in 30:37.61. The male 13-and under winner was Great Mills resident, C. Denihan (22:37.23).
The female 60-69 age group winner was local resident, Liza Recto with a time of 29:01.53 Mechanicsville resident, Lilly Gardner captured first place in the female 13-and under group with a time of 26:08.47
The Wiggins family ran as a team in honor of Ashley Wiggins.
Lawrence Chase has been instrumental in the event for over 10 years now, promoting the event, shooting promotional video’s and encouraging the public to come out and support the event. He said each year his involvement grew.
“My family became more supportive,” Chase said. “My parent had eight of us and we all know the importance of Hospice from having them help us with so many of our relatives. The hospice run has become our ‘thing’. Some of us run, some walk. Sean Chase, Antionette Chase Mulholland, Gwen Chase and Nyomi Chase [all involved]. This was the first year we decided to have a team name. My sister Gwen came up with ‘Chase The Finish’, so I got shirts made for the event.”
Lawrence Chase said he felt it was only right to dedicate this year’s event to their big brother, John Linwood Chase whom they lost nine years ago.
“His birthday is April 22nd. And out of all the years we’ve been doing this event, none of us have ever placed in the top three and this year my niece did. This was only her second year running but she’s been practicing and was focused, and I couldn’t be more proud of her.”
Lawrence said something really brought tears to his eyes.
“She was running with the bib number 22,” he said, “as if it’s like her uncle was running right there with her.”