More than 500 race in Mother Earth Ironclad Half-Marathon and 5K
9-year-old Amelia Medlin finished the 3.1 mile race in 21:25, 32 seconds ahead of the previous mark in her age range. All photos by William “Bud Hardy / Neuse News
An annual race of endurance has continued to grow in Kinston.
The fourth annual Mother Earth Ironclad Half-Marathon and 5K took place Saturday morning, leading runners across Kinston and finishing at Grainger Stadium. Ironclad Races Inc. teamed up with Mother Earth Brewing in a way to help produce sporting events in Kinston with all proceeds going to local non-profit organizations and charities.
Race director Amy Albritton said there has been phenomenal progression since the inception in 2015.
“Not only is our community together, but surrounding communities are coming out to be a part of the race in Kinston, helping to raise money,” Albritton said. “We had about 100 from the first one (and this year) we had more than 555 registered.”
Among those runners was Goldsboro resident Michael Quinn, who said his first 5K in Kinston was an enjoyable one.
“I wanted to do this, so it was a self-motivation thing,” Quinn said. “I loved the course.”
Durham resident Analisa Sorrells said she participated because of her friend, who lives in Kinston.
“The course really flat which was awesome, and people cheered along the way,” Sorrells said. “My friend was running the half-marathon, so I said I’d run the 5K and I’ll cheer her on.”
During the 5K race, a 25-year state record was broken, as 9-year-old Amelia Medlin finished the 3.1 mile race in 21:25, 32 seconds ahead of the previous mark in her age range. Medlin, who hails from Wilmington, said she liked the course as well and was excited to make history.
“I really wanted to break the record and I’m happy I was able to,” Medlin said. “I’m a distance runner and the 5K is my favorite.”
The men’s and women’s half-marathon winners both participated in last year’s race and finished second. Joseph Mooneyham of Pikeville ran the 13.1-mile race in 1:20:52 and said he was motivated to take the top spot.
“Last year, I spent my time preparing for this one, but this year I was just trying to see how I would do,” Mooneyham said. “I don’t think I did too bad.”
Local runner Tate Mooring finished fourth in the half-marathon, which he said he’s using to prepare for the California International Marathon in Sacramento on Dec. 2. If Mooring is able to do well in the CIM, he would be eligible for the 2019 Boston Marathon in April.
“It felt good being able to race in my hometown,” Mooring said. “I knew the course and it felt good seeing familiar faces on the way. It was an awesome experience and it shows how great Kinston can be.”
Katie Sanderson of Raleigh finished first in the women’s race with a time of 1:25:42 and said she also appreciated a race with local ties.
“I’m originally from Greenville, so the race for me was great because I’m back home and we got to enjoy Mother Earth afterwards. After last year, I wanted to try to get a win.”
Sanderson’s brother, Tommy Houmard, finished second in the race. Although Houmard runs marathons, he said this was only his second half-marathon.
“With a half-marathon, I’ve got more of a sprint mentality,” Houmard said. “I loved how the course was pretty flat and there were a lot of people pointing you in the right direction, because I didn’t want to get lost.”
Mother Earth co-founder Stephen Hill said it was a great race to start the weekend, one including the ENC Food Brew ‘n Que Fest and the ninth anniversary of the brewery.
“Amy and her group do a great job and it takes a lot of hard work to get 500-plus people out here to Kinston,” Hill said. “It was a great event and everyone has had a lot of fun. Next year is (also) going to be a big year — you have the 10-year anniversary of Mother Earth and the 5-year anniversary of this race. We’ve already started planning for the event and we’ll have some big bands (for entertainment.)”