The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Labor Day Walk-Run Benefits Fair

Labor Day 2009 started a new tradition in Henderson County. The 1st annual Henderson County Fair Fun Run took place on a beautiful, cool, sunny, morning.

Volunteers started arriving at the fairgrounds at 6:30 a.m. to tie orange and pink streamers on street posts marking the track for the 5K and the 1 mile race.

Duties were given to the 16 volunteers and check-in for the many participants began at 9:00 a.m.

The first participant to register was, Alton Torgler, from Raritan who ran in the 5K. Following Alton were 130 participants; 83 in the 5K and 48 in the 1 mile.

The 5K went off with a bang, with Matthew Butler leading the pack most of the way, breaking through the finish line with a time of 19 minutes and 44 seconds.

Kyle Olsen, grandson of Ruth and Orlin Olsen of Raritan, was a close second at 21 minutes and 52 seconds and Sarah Heller with a time of 21 minutes and 54 seconds.

David Joens from Springfield, finished a respectable 17th place with a time of 27 minutes and 55 seconds. The Fair Fun Run was his 38th county race in the State of Illinois.

He is the Director of the Illinois State Archives and has a goal to visit each county in Illinois by participating in a race.

After meeting Art Kane at the Illinois State Fair, he was happy to find out about the Fair Fun Run and got his registration in quickly.

The 1 mile started at 10:30 a.m. and Brent Nichols, a fifth grader at West Central finished in first place, with Curtis Nichols a very close second.

The runners and walkers were happy to see the Brent Family Pharmacy providing water at 3 water stations along the routes.

The winner of the 5K and the 1 mile each received a $50 savings bond.

The 1 mile route took the racers by the Lutheran Church, past the West Central Junior High, to the nursing home to Main Street east and down Broadway to the finish line.

The 5K route started at the grandstand entrance of the fairgrounds heading south around the livestock barn.

Barry Dowell mowed a perfect track in the grass around the fair buildings and the racers were off into town back through the gate at Mary Street.

They followed Mary Street north to Main Street, west to Logan Street south to Dixson Street east, back to Mary Street. The track was ran or walked two times and was completed down Broadway to the finish line.

The FFA members served porkburgers, hamburgers, and lamb sausage to the participants and family members.

The students with their adviser Darrell and Lynn Gittings, and Barry Bigger did quite a job serving the large crowd a great meal.

Folks lined up along the streets of Stronghurst cheering people along. As the finish line grew closer, so did the applause as people crossed.

"It was great to start a worthwhile tradition; supporting our local fair!," said organizers Jennifer Baxter, and Chris Cook," as they reminded, "Same time, same place; next year!"

Matthew Butler (right) and Kyle Olsen (left) led runners ending first and second in the 5K run.

Sarah Heller - 3rd Place