For Angie Corray and 13-year-old daughter Marissa Corray, Saturday was more than just another race day.
"Preparing for the race gave us a chance to talk and work on training and just talk about school," Angie Corray said. "She's in cross-country, and this teaches how to get through the hard parts and run a little stress out."
Angie Corray and her daughter also inspired her husband, Stacy Corray, and son, Jeff Corray, 15, to pin on bibs for the 5K race.
Weather conditions were humid for the 23rd annual Run Mahomet 5K, 10K and half-marathon, a fundraising event for the Mahomet Area Youth Club. But that didn't stop Angie Corray and her family from enjoying the festivities.
"Our kids go to school here, and we know a lot of people in town," Angie Corray said of the race-day atmosphere. "Stacy was raised here. You're running around, there's always somebody standing around that you know."
The event drew 535 participants from over 18 states and even one runner from Kenya, but Mahomet resident Shannon Farmer is convinced the friendly atmosphere from the community is what keeps drawing people back year after year.
"The neighbors come out and cheer us on," Farmer said. "Some of 'em have music. They're out there with their cowbells making noise, and that's always inspiring," she added. "You look around and you become very grateful for the community that you live in."
Farmer earned a personal record in the 5K and even secured a second-place finish in the female 35-39 category with a time of 26:34.
"I'm totally excited, and it's a moment to be proud of yourself," she said.
In her third appearance at the race, Farmer said she keeps coming back as a way to give back to the MAYC.
"This is a great race," she said. "Being in the community and seeing what MAYC's done for the kids ... it's incredible. It's an awesome opportunity to raise money for MAYC."
Kari Waisath, of Mahomet, also found the event to be an asset to the community.
"People come out and sit on every corner in their front yards just to cheer you on — both young and old," she said.
Waisath ran the 5K race and finished with a time of 22:31 to finish first in the overall female masters category.
"It's my quiet time," Waisath said. "I have five kids so I get up early and that's my thinking time."
"It's also so I can eat my ice cream," she joked.
Michael Milligan of Minier, who participated in the 5K, also enjoyed the friendly atmosphere along the race route, which started on North State Street and ended at the Mahomet-Seymour High School track.
"I was telling my friend (Garyn Walters of Hopedale, who also participated in the 5K) on the way out there I've run several of them. Obviously not because I'm a great runner, but just because doing this I can never get over the atmosphere at these things with just how encouraging everybody is and how everybody treats you like a star athlete," Milligan said. "This one in particular is always really good. Everybody just seems so nice."
Overall female 5K winner Carina Collet, 19, of Verona, finished with a time of 18:05. The upcoming Wartburg College sophomore competed in the event as part of her cross-country summer training, but Run Mahomet also is a special occasion for her family.
Each year, Collet's mother and her two uncles use the event as a way to not only keep in shape but also schedule a set date to see one another.
"One of her brothers is from the area, and the other is from Omaha," she said. "They said, 'Let's meet up and sign up for this half-marathon and we're going to run it no matter what.' They did that one year. They did it another year. This is the third or fourth year they've been doing that."
So when Collet's mother invited her to tag along and compete in the event, she couldn't resist the bonding time.
"I love running alongside my mom," she said. "That's how I started running. At this point, I've maybe gotten a little bit faster than her general pace. She's going this way and I'm going that way, but it's still really nice to run with her when I can."
Jeremy Johnson, 24, of Austin, Ind., also uses running as a way to get exercise. Johnson was the overall male half-marathon winner, clocking in at 1:13:31.
He started running when he was 10 and went on to compete at Berea College.
Johnson used the half-marathon as a "tuneup" for his training for the Chicago Marathon. He puts in 110 miles per week in addition to a great deal of core-strength training.
"It's tough," he said. "I'm trying to hit the Olympic trial standard, which is 2:19. The marathon I ran was 2:21, so that's two minutes off; it's a realistic goal."
Champaign resident Rachael Brewer, 27, won the overall female half-marathon category for the second year in a row with her 1:23:09 finish.
"It's always fun," she said. "It was fun being able to do it again, but it didn't go as well this year as it did last year, so I wasn't very sure at the end if I was going to be able to hold onto it but thankfully I was."
Her favorite part?
"When you see the finish line," Brewer said.
"You're just like, 'Finally! Yes! I can be done,'" she joked.
The former walk-on Illinois State University cross-country runner is also training for a marathon, but she hasn't made any decisions about which one she'll choose.
"It's just a way to challenge yourself in a different light," she said. "It's not only mentally challenging, but also physically. You get both and you just feel really tough. There are very few runs that feel great but the feeling when you finish, when you're done, you just feel awesome — even if it was a 4-mile run."
Race director Marla Dewhirst, who has assisted with the run for four years, said the committee still had to make final configurations but was confident Run Mahomet made its $30,000 goal.
"The runners bring in half of the profits," she said. "When I was a runner for this race, I did not know MAYC supported the race or what MAYC was. I just came out and ran. My voice said people don't know MAYC. We need to let people know what MAYC is and why they're running.
"I feel like we're making great headway and people are understanding this is a non-for-profit. This community is supporting their youth, and this organization helps provide opportunities for all kids in our community."
Run Mahomet required the efforts of more than 250 volunteers to help with everything from packet pickup to manning water stations.
"There's a comradery that mixes people," Dewhirst said. "The water stations had churches and cheerleaders. At the packet pickup, we go to the Rotary and the Lion's (Club) and we say, 'Hey we need help.' I think that's very positive in our community."
As for the future of the event, Dewhirst hopes to put a picture of a MAYC youth with a fact about MAYC at every mile so runners will know more about who they support.
"There's a vision that we can do more to make the community aware of the Mahomet Area Youth Club," she said. "They help that football player buy the uniform. They'll pay the registration fee for that kid that can't afford Tae Kwon Do. They bring in a whole lot of people."