The 2023 Longest Day Run 5K (organized by local non-profit group Southern Oregon Runners) took place at 7:30 PM tonight at Bear Creek Park in south Medford, creating a spirited atmosphere as dozens of enthusiastic runners gathered to test their mental a physical fortitude. The course, which spanned the scenic locales of Bear Creek Park and Al Densmore Bridge, offered a challenging yet exhilarating route for participants.
The event kicked off under unusually cool weather conditions, with a starting temperature of 80 degrees, providing some relief for the runners in what is typically a warm season run. With adrenaline coursing through their veins, the racers embarked on a journey that led them through the picturesque south end of Bear Creek Park and across the Al Densmore Bridge over the busy E. Barnett Rd corridor. The route then wound its way towards the south, guiding the runners into the north end of Lithia and Driveway Fields before circling back into the park.
Adding to the festive ambiance, Friends of the Animal Shelter (FOTAS) were present at the event, showcasing adorable animals in need of a loving home. Their presence brought attention to the importance of pet adoption, and many participants couldn’t resist stopping by to meet these furry companions, making the evening even more meaningful.
Following the popular run, participants were treated to a well-deserved post-race celebration. Fresh fruit, water, and Gatorade were readily available to quench their thirst and replenish their energy. The aroma of delectable pizza from Talent pizzeria The Grotto wafted through the air, enticing tired runners with a mouthwatering reward for their efforts.
As racers neared the finish line, exhaustion turned into elation, and the atmosphere buzzed with excitement. Smiles adorned the faces of participants as they crossed the finish line, where they were met with an outpouring of support in the form of high fives and cheers from fellow racers and spectators alike.
Tayvon Kitchen was the overall winner, clocking in a speedy time of 16:35. The woman’s winner was Saundra Parsons who had an impressive 5K time of 19:45.
The 2023 Longest Day Run 5K not only provided an opportunity for runners to challenge themselves physically but also brought the running community together in support of a good cause. With memorable moments and an overwhelming display of camaraderie, this event left a lasting impression on all who participated.