EDWARDSVILLE – A seasonably cool morning, along with over 700 runners participating, added up to a very successful Run for Bonifest 5K race Saturday morning at St. Boniface Catholic Church in downtown Edwardsville. The race was run as a part of the church's annual picnic, and attracted runners from around the area, in all age groups and experience.

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Keith Meyer of Edwardsville, running for the Run Well Racing Team, won the men's division with a time of 14:13, while his teammate, Lindsay Hustedde, also of Edwardsville, took the women's division with a time of 17:38.

It was the biggest turnout in the event's history, and it helped contribute to the race's success.

“We had the biggest turnout yet,” said race director Emily Tobin. “All these people coming to support St. Boniface, this is great. We even had firefighters coming out to run; it's awesome. We had our top; we reached over 700 runners.”

The purpose of the race is a very simple one: To get the community together and get the summer season off to a big start.

“To get the community together, to kick off summer,” Tobin said, “just to have a good time, get local people to come out and support our community.”

Tobin, a three-year member of the race committee and in her second year as director, likes the mix between competitive and recreational runners who participate in the event.

“Some people are just out here to run and to feel good and to support us," Tobin said. "And other ones, I think everybody is, but I think all the other ones too. You know, they're true runners; they come out here and they want to win, and they want to do the best, have the best race.”

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Meyer won by 2:59 over Joe Byrne of Glen Carbon, who covered the street course in 17:12. Another Glen Carbon resident, Jon Yoch, finished third with the same time as Byrne, with Justin Wieduwilt of Collinsville finished fourth with a time of 17:20. Glen Carbon's Matthew Shearer rounded out the top five with a time of 17:32.

On the women's side, Hustedde finished 1:07 ahead of Crystal Harriss of Edwardsville, who had a time of 18:45. Edwardsville's Hannah Stuart finished third with a time of 19:56, while Jennifer Oyler of St. Louis was fourth, coming in at 19:57. Abby Schrobilgen of Edwardsville finished fifth, also with a time of 19:57.

In the male individual groups, Colin Luitjohan of Edwardsville took the under-10 race with a time of 24:25, while Ryan Luitjohan won the 10-14 group in 19:29. Xander Valdez of Edwardsville took the 15-19 win with a time of 19:38, while Michael Romann, also of Edwardsville, won the 20-24 group with a time of 19:28. Yoch's time won the 25-29 age group, while Bart Smith of Glen Carbon took the 30-34 group with a time of 18:36.

Byrne won the 35-39 group of the race, while the 40-44 group was won by Caseyville's Colby Garman, who's time was 18:44. Mark Ruesink of Belleville took top honors in the 45-49 group with a time of 20:24, and Glen Carbon's Mike Anderson won the 50-54 group, coming in at 22:12. Mark Bradley of Edwardsville took home the win in the 55-59 group, with a time of 22:59, and the 60-64 group was won by Bill Doerr of Glen Carbon, coming in at 24:14. Larry Wilson of Mattoon won the 65-69 group in 24:07, while Edwardsville's Mike Reinhardt won the 70 and over category in 26:50.

Over on the women's side, Dia Villhard of Glen Carbon took the under-10 group win with a time of 26:41, while Riley Knoyle of Glen Carbon won the 10-14 group in 22:26, Stuart won her 15-19 group, while Amelia Biggs of Edwardsville won the 20-24 group with a time of 20:03. Oyler was the winner of the 25-29 group, with Kendall Matthews of Glen Carbon winning the 30-34 group in 23:27. Harriss was the winner of the 35-39 group, while the 40-44 division was won by Jen Seefeldt, with a time of 22:21.

Danielle Weems of Edwardsville won the 45-49 group with a time of 23:06, and Ann Knoyle of Glen Carbon was the 50-54 winner, coming in at 22:30. Rebecca Bradley of Edwardsville took top honors in the 55-59 group, winning in 21:08, and Janel Angell of O'Fallon won the 60-64 group with a time of 26:08. Edwardsville's Teresa Townsend took the 65-69 group with a time of 31:23, and Beatriz Gueuverian of Edwardsville won the 70-and-up group, her time being 37:47.

Tobin is very optimistic about the event's future and credits the community's support as a big factor.

“I'm just hoping that the race turns out like this every year,” Tobin said. “We keep getting support. I've got to give a shout out to our sponsors, too. We have the most sponsors we've ever had this year, and if we can keep people to support and have a great day, and if God gives us a beautiful day, just as long as we have that.

“We're doing, I think, a great job,” Tobin also said, “and all these people. They all have smiles on their faces, so I think it's great.”Dan Brannan also contributed to this story.

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