EDWARDSVILLE - Keith Burton of O'Fallon was the winner of the Edwardsville/Glen Carbon Habitat for Humanity Home Sweet Home 5K race on Saturday, June 17, at Airplane Park in Edwardsville, coming in way ahead of the pack to win the race.

Keith BurtonThe veteran runner jumped out ahead early on and never looked back in taking the men's division win on a beautiful day for running, with sunny skies, temperatures in the mid-70s and not very warm or humid on the day.

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"I"m feeling pretty good, awesome, actually," Burton said in his post-race interview. "Didn't have to push it too hard and it's just a beautiful morning for a 5K. Beautiful morning."

Burton's strategy going into the race was very simple and executed well. And in the end, he was very pleasantly surprised by his result.

"Take the same, steady pace the whole way, " Burton said, "no matter what. Just run one pace and keep it there. Hold it in. I had no idea I was going to take first overall at all," he said with a big smile and laugh.

It was a very pleasant surprise indeed, as Burton won his first career 5K race and of course, it was a great feeling to win the race.

"This my first overall," Burton said. "First male overall, yes, it was my first race. It's a wonderful feeling, actually."

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The real winner of the race is the local Habitat for Humanity chapter, which assists families in need to construct new homes which they actually assist in building and eventually own. It's one of the nation's best-known and most popular charities and has been championed for many years by former President Jimmy Carter.

"I like the community," Burton said. "It was such a great cause. Habitat for Humanity is such a wonderful organization. It's an awesome organization."

Burton is a veteran runner who took up the sport in 2013 and has benefitted from it in more ways than one.

"I've been running for 10 years," Burton said, "and I've lost 64 pounds and started running and it's been an addiction ever since. I've run 50 miles, I've run more ultra-marathons than I have marathons and I've run over 60 or 70 half-marathons. And I couldn't tell you how many 5K's I've run."

Burton also enjoys running with a very close-knit and friendly community of runners, which helps immensely.

"It really is," Burton said. "Awesome running community. Here, O'Fallon, (Scott) Air Force Base, just all that. It's an awesome organization for running. Wonderful area to run in. All the trails we have in here, I'm blessed to have all these trails in here."

Burton's future plans include running the Belleville Marathon along Main Street in downtown Belleville on September 30. It's an event he's done well in in the past.

"I want to go under four hours. That's my next goal," Burton said. "I love a marathon. I've placed in that one a couple of times. It's just an awesome feeling to do a marathon, to place in your age group. Being 58 years old, it's just awesome to be active like this and still be able to run as I do."

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