The crowd of more than 10,000 people at the Fort4Fitness Festival included a lot of new faces, but one familiar one stood out at the finish line.
Crystina Ridenour, 25, won her third Fort4Fitness half-marathon in the fifth annual event, which also included a 4-mile and 10K run.
“You have to have good discipline,” Ridenour said. “You want a good base."
Her goal was to beat her personal record, but she ended up a two minutes short of that at 1 hour, 21 minutes. In the end, though, she met her ultimate goal, which was simply winning.
Another runner who pushed to meet his goal was Thomas Crum, 25, the winner of the four-mile run, with a time of 21:21. A run last week in support of Lane Middle School mentally prepared him for Fort4Fitness, he said. Crum, a Bishop Dwenger cross country coach, called on his student athletes to help him train.
“Those guys have been pushing me to the max every day, and we have a conference meet today; that's why I couldn't run the half-marathon,” Crum said.
The win for the men in the half-marathon went to first-time participant Kyle Carey, 27, who used this as a way to get into shape.
“I ran one 5K in July,” Carey said. “I signed up to get my butt in gear and start training. I didn't know what to expect.”
Carey finished the race with a time of 1:12.
Nathan Hebel, 38, winner of the 10K and a finish of 37:35, while excited about his win, saw this race as a unique experience because of the hospitality of the staff and volunteers.
“I came to pick up my race stuff yesterday, and usually, it's a pretty low-key appearance, but people were really excited and really happy,” Hebel said. “I think a lot of people train really hard, especially for the half-marathon.”