On Saturday May 29 nearly 400 runners gathered at Victoria National Golf Course for the 6th annual Run Victoria 5K. This year was a return to the traditional Memorial Day weekend time for the event after it was pushed back to the fall last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with the race being held on Sept. 5, 2020. Special Precautions were taken last year to ensure safety during the pandemic including greater distance between runners and masks and sanitization by the staff.

In spite of the many canceled events last year, the Run Victoria 5K was held last fall with a strong attendance of 225. It fell in attendance from the previous race in 2019, but it has returned to form with 375 participants this year. According to Steve Roelle, director of Success Warrick County, most races in the area have drawn closer to 200 participants recently, meaning the attendance at this year’s race was a high achievement.

The race is a run through Victoria National Golf Course and is accompanied by events such as the Kids Dash for younger children and a silent auction.

This year’s silent auction featured a wide array of gift baskets, each of which had a value greater than $100. The basket’s contents ranged from cigars and whiskey to candy and water guns. All proceeds from the event and auction are going towards the maintaining of Warrick County’s parks through the Warrick County Parks Foundation and Warrick Trails. The auction drew very generous bids and plenty of attention before and after the race.

Many of those involved with the race as organizers or participants emphasized how beautiful and unorthodox the course was.

“[It’s] the hilliest course you’ve ever seen. It’s like you’re in a different land,” Warrick County Parks Director Laurel Meny said. “It needs a certain type of runner, it’s a very beautiful race.”

Roelle explained that the course consists of many small hills, elaborating “The hills make you use the front and back of your leg on the hills. It’s the most challenging 5K in the tri-state.”

He went on to state that the course at Victoria is nothing like any other part of the region.

Roelle also spoke on some of the other difficulties that coming back from the COVID-19 pandemic has presented.

The supply chain was interrupted at points which made things harder, but there was never any doubt that this race was going to be a success, Roelle said.

Overall first place finisher Steve Matthews also offered a comment about the event, stating that the course was beautiful and unique, and that he appreciated that this is the only time of year where the course is open for people to see its natural beauty. Matthews is a gym teacher at Oak Hill Elementary in Evansville. It was his first time participating in Run Victoria and finished with a time of 16:37.

Participant Loretta Hasenour, an elementary school teacher, said that she had been training with her 4th grade class by running several miles during school. Of her class of 28 students at John H. Castle Elementary School, 14 participated in the race.

Hasenour said that she was very proud of her class for coming out and participating in the event.

Following the race a kids dash was held for participation of young children. Many children participated in the short sprint to wrap up the running for the day.

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