state indoor track champion in the 3,200-meter run this past winter, finished ahead of runner-up and twin brother Jett, in 17:36. Devon Smith of Waldorf took third in the event in 18:37. There were 154 male and female participants combined in the 5K race.
The brothers’ father, George, last year’s 5K winner finished sixth overall (19:57) in this year’s race to help spearhead the formidable Hall family.
The Hall family has had a strong passion which also features an older set of twins in Jereamy and Joshua, former long-distance standouts at Westlake, now at Loch Raven (Pa.) and Salisbury University, respectively. The father of the Halls is currently at the long-distance running coach at Westlake.
“I felt pretty good going into the race. I just paced myself the first mile to see how everything was,” said Jay Hall, also a 2012 runner-up finisher in the race. “I just wanted to keep the pace throughout the race and it was cool to see me and my brother finish one, two and my dad finish in the top six [as a family in the 5K]. We run together all the time, so we just push each other it is always a competition between us.”
Headlining the women’s 5K was Sarah Farbacher of La Plata, who placed first with a time of 23:34. Megan Gessford of Hughesville finished runner-up in 23:39, while Katherine Gausmann of Reston, Va., came in third in 23:50.
“I had tons of fun at the race [today],” said Farbacher, who ran the 10K last year and took 10th overall. “Last year I ran the 10-miler so this was my first time running the 5K course. It’s also the first time I’ve ever won a race. Running through the banner at the end was one of the coolest feelings ever.”
Farbacher added that as she was coming up on the final mile of the race she had to turn it up to a different gear.
“When we got back to the stadium, I checked my watch and knew we had about [four-tenths] of a mile left,” she said. “There was one girl relatively close behind me, but I knew I had enough in me to sprint those last tenths of a mile.”
The sport of running has also grown on Farbacher the last several years.
“I picked up running in college, so I’ve been running for almost four years,” she said. “I’m actually more of a distance runner with a few half and full marathons under my belt, but I do the 5Ks for fun with my friend.”
The 10-miler, which had a total of 67 finishers, was won by Alfonza Willis of Temecula, Calif., who won the men’s race in a time of 1 hour 4 minutes 47 seconds. Christopher Zabriskie of Port Tobacco came in second in 1:07:09 and Andrew Bonney of La Plata finished third in 1:11:35.
Willis, whose been in the Navy for over 20 years has been stationed in California for three years and is a Lieutenant Commander at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton.
The former football standout at Albany State University started running competitively in marathons in 1998.
“When I was at Mile 3 and we came down a hill there was a guy close to me and I just wanted to keep my 6:25 pace,” said Willis, a former football standout at Albany State University and native of Georgia. “Around Mile 8, I didn’t see anybody so I just started cruising in. But this is not about winning, I just like running and it was a great community event.
In the women’s 10-miler, Emily Mudd-Hendricks of La Plata, who placed runner-up in 2015, claimed the overall top spot with a time of 1:17:40. Stephanie Krex, also of La Plata, finished runner-up in 1:20:16. Lacy Knopik of Pomfret was third overall in 1:22:40.
“This was the craziest weather I have ever seen on race day,” said Mudd-Hendricks. “Freezing cold, to sunny and warm, to hail blowing sideways with complete white out snow ... all in 1 hour and 17 minutes. I couldn’t see two feet in front of me for the last 1.5 miles.”
Mudd-Hendricks added, “This year was the most fun I’ve ever had. I had my Fitlife Running Club buddies with me. Some of them were running their first race or longest distance. We trained together for 11 weeks.”
Craig J. Renner, vice president of marketing and public relations for St. Charles Companies, and one of the sponsors of Saturday’s event felt good about the turnout.
“Very pleased, especially considering the weather conditions,” he said. “We have a great venue, a challenging course, and I think the event is well positioned to attract runners of all levels. A couple of runners from Bowie who remarked to a group of us how beautiful they thought the area was.”
Sarah Farbacher of La Plata, middle, is presented with the first-place medal after winning the women’s 5K race at the St. Charles Running Festival at Waldorf’s Regency Furniture Stadium on Saturday. Standing from left, are Chik-Fil-A representative John Flatley, Sarah Farbacher, vice president of marketing and public relations for St. Charles Companies Craig Renner and Charles County Commissioner Ken Robinson (D).