BY CAYDEN SANDERS
The annual Wild West Fest 5K took place on Saturday as a part of the weekend’s festivities. Runners from all over the central plains flocked to Hays to compete in this 5K with runners ranging from elementary schoolers to 70-year-olds competing.
The course started between the Hays aquatic park and the Hays larks parking lot, then traveled through the FHSU campus, ran along the dyke then circled back to finish at Larks Park. t
Trever Medina, a runner for the Fort Hays State Cross Country team from Weksan, finished first with a time of 16:22. The next runner to cross the finish line was Eli Gruenbacher (17:36) who will be a freshman at Bethany College this fall. Gruenbacher will run for the Bethany cross country program.
“I thought the course was pretty fair, but it definitely was easier because the sun wasn’t shining and it wasn’t too hot out there,” Gruenbacher said. “ I thought I personally did well, I do wish I kept up with Trever [Medina] a little bit longer but it was a great experience.”
With runners of all ages, the Wild West Festival gave out awards for fastest overall male and female and fastest male and female in the master’s division (40+ athletes). The organizers also gave out medals to the fastest runners in each male and female age division.
“It definitely was great to see everyone running and wanting to be here, we all have different goals while being a part of a race, but seeing runners of all ages competing here today was a great accomplishment of our team,” Dennis Weber of Heartland Timing said.
Weber is also a former track and field coach at Fort Hays State.
Organizers plan to host another Wild West Festival 5K next year to keep the tradition going.