Mahomet Half-Marathon: Grandparents hit the pavement in MAYC benefit

MAHOMET — Lexie Dorsey was uncertain how to react to her milestone achievement.

For the eighth time (and third locally), she ran a half-marathon with her grandfather, Randy Lipking.

They start together and — in the past — Grandpa would finish first.

In the 22nd annual Mahomet Half-Marathon, held last Saturday, Dorsey outkicked her running companion and crossed the finish line on the M-S track about 2 minutes in front of Lipking.

Asked how it felt, the 17-year-old M-S senior-to-be said, "I don't know exactly."

Lipking knew.

"I feel really good about it," he said. "I couldn't keep her pace and was holding her back. I told her to 'Go.' "

It wasn't a case of Grandpa holding back. Dorsey's improvement was reflected in the numbers.

"She beat her time here from last year by 10 minutes," Lipking said.

For Dorsey, the best part of the day wasn't her time.

"I got to spend time with my grandpa," she said.

Of the runners in the half-marathon, Dorsey placed 63rd with a time of 1 hour, 50 minutes. Among women, she was 15th overall, and in her age division (15-to-19-year-olds), she was first.

Lipking was 71st overall with a time of 1 hour, 52 minutes.

He had plenty of motivation not to fade when his granddaughter surged ahead.

"I wanted to see her finish," said Lipking, 62, who began his running career 10 years ago.

"I run for God's glory," he said. "I run for those who can't."

* * *

Mahomet's Margaret White had to be creative when asked to help look after her two twin grandsons (1 year, 2 weeks old) on Saturday while their dad (her son, Mike) ran in the 10-kilometer race in the Mahomet Half-Marathon event.

"I was here (at the race site) at 5 a.m., doing registration with Jeanne Campion," Margaret White said.

By the time the race started at 7 o'clock, White was positioned near the grandtwins (Charlie and Dean White). With help from her future daughter-in-law, Alyssa Shroyer (who is engaged to White's other son, Andrew), they pushed the double stroller — with "about 60 pounds of weight," she said — the duration of the 5-kilometer race.

"Speed walking the whole way," Margaret White said.

The annual event is one of the prime fundraisers for the Mahomet Area Youth Club and the women didn't want to miss it.

"We want to support MAYC," said Margaret White, who along with Shroyer (a first-grade teacher at Sangamon School), teach after-school BLAST classes, which are sponsored by MAYC.

They showed their teamwork throughout the time they were on the course.

When one of the twins would drop a bottle or pacifier, Margaret White said, "we took turns picking it up."

She wasn't the only family member who volunteered.

Her husband, Ron, and son, Andrew, were among those who arrived at 4 a.m. to assist with race setup.

Among the helpers at packet pickup were Andrew White and Shroyer, along with Margaret White's sister, Mary Young, and her niece, Kimberly Young.

Andrew, an area dentist who was also a race sponsor, ran the 5K and placed 56th overall.

His brother, Mike, who lives in Peoria Heights with his wife Jana and the twins, participated in the 10K and finished 39th.

As for Margaret White and Shroyer, they wound up in 206th and 207th place, respectively, in the 5K.

* * *

By the time this is read, Karli Waldrep's status will have changed.

As of last Saturday, when she ran the 10K in the annual Mahomet Half-Marathon event (and took first in her age group for females 15 to 19), the junior-to-be at Mahomet-Seymour had run at least a mile for 1,167 consecutive days.

She's not in training for the upcoming high school cross-country season.

She's not a member of the team.

"I like running more on my own," Waldrep said.

Her streak started in the summer of 2014.

"A neighbor challenged me to run every day between Memorial Day and Labor Day," Waldrep said. "I kept running and haven't stopped.

"It's like a stress-reliever. I put the headphones in and don't worry about anything else."

She can't always judge how she's doing during a race.

As she ran last Saturday, Waldrep said, "I didn't feel I was running my best."

Then she crossed the finish line to see that her time of 57 minutes, 33 seconds was her personal best by nearly two minutes.

* * *

The top Mahomet finishers in the half-marathon came from differing backgrounds.

Brothers John and Brian Butcher ran fifth and sixth, respectively, in the half marathon. They hail from a running family and are former M-S athletes.

Placing 20th overall was 19-year-old Benjamin Williams. He graduated from M-S in 2016.

If his name doesn't sound familiar to Bulldog cross-country fans, there's a reason.

"I played soccer in high school," Williams said.

He is now a nursing student at Parkland College and works nights at Carle Foundation Hospital.

His time was 1:29.47.1, just under the 1:27 he clocked for the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon in May.

"I'm happy with what I got," Williams said. "A lot of people think you go to a race to run the competition.

"I really push myself as far as I can go. I challenge my body not to run out of energy. My motto is, 'Finish on empty.'"

He is building endurance while working toward his first full marathon, which will be in next May's Christie Clinic event in Champaign-Urbana.

"I want to be under 3 hours in my debut," Williams said. "I still have a long ways ahead of me."

The Butchers were represented by their entire family. The brothers were joined on the course by their sister, Jessica, who was 31st overall (and 15th among females) in the 10K.

Mom (Debbie Butcher) ran the half-marathon, placing 42nd overall and eighth among women. Dad (Jeff) placed 20th in the 5K.

"My family has been running the MAYC races since we moved here, probably close to 20 years," said Debbie Butcher, who is preparing for a half-marathon in Indianapolis next month. "We always come home with hardware and enjoy running in our hometown with fellow runners.

"I enjoy this distance (13.1 miles) as it's different from my usual marathon training."

* * *

The quickest person at the Mahomet Half-Marathon might not have been any of the runners.

The designation would be appropriate for Bloomington's John Kastigar.

He was responsible for the starting line, which featured three inter-connected mats on the ground. Runners pass over them and a chip they are wearing is read, which accounts for their official starting time.

Shortly before the half-marathon, Kastigar discovered that the middle mat was not reading the chips.

As runners lined up to start both the half-marathon and the 10K races, Kastigar was frantically working.

"These are older mats," he said. "That's why we carry an extra set."

The replacement was made — and tested — and without delay, the starting gun was fired at 7 a.m.

For Saturday's three timed races, there were 570 registered participants. There were nearly half that many volunteers, 275 total.

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