with gallery: Firefighter finishes, birthday and banana outfits and more from the Dexter-Ann Arbor Run
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The cheer for Dan Gamble as he crossed the finish line at the 39th annual Dexter-Ann Arbor Run seemed undeservingly loud.
Gamble’s time of 31 minutes, 57 seconds in the 5-kilometer run was far from Sunday’s fastest.
And the 69-year-old Gamble is still a spring chicken compared to Mildred Meredith of Portage and Ann Arbor's Stuart Baggaley, the race’s oldest competitors at 86. So the cheers weren’t for his age.
Gamble received the ovation because he was the first runner to cross the finish line for the 39th time. He’s also the only one to ever do so.
“And I’m looking forward to next year,” said Gamble, the only person to participate in every Dexter-Ann Arbor Run.
Gamble even competed in 2005 and 2008, when he had hip replacement surgeries.
“The 40th will be a blast,” Gamble said.
While Gamble was looking forward to the next race, most stayed busy enjoying this year’s, with 5,428 participants competing in 5K, 10K, and half marathon portions of the race, each ending in downtown Ann Arbor.
Spectators lined the home stretch down Main Street, from Summit Street to the finish line outside of the Washtenaw County Administrative Building, cheering on friends and family in a variety of ways up the painful, final uphill stretch.
One woman sat outside her Main Street home banging a wooden spoon against a pan and screaming to runners. Across the street, another woman rang a cowbell.
Six-year-old Emily Douglas of Brighton held a sign urging her dad, half-marathon participant Steve Douglas, to “Go dad, Go.”
“I told him that while he was out, he should run some errands,” joked Beth Douglas, Steve’s wife.
Two years removed his University of Michigan running career, former Dexter High School runner Lex Williams, 25, won the men’s 5K portion of the race in a time of 14:34.
Williams said the brutal home stretch was canceled out by an opening mile that was mostly downhill. He and a training partner each ran the first mile in about 4:08.
“My friend looked at me and was like ‘Holy (crap), I just had a mile (personal record) by like eight seconds’,” Williams said.
Williams, who hoped to compete at this year’s Olympic Trials before an inconsistent training schedule halted those plans, decided to run in Sunday’s race to get tuned up for a competitive race next week.
“I want to run a 1,500 (meter race) next weekend in Indianapolis and wanted to get some sort of a hard effort in before that,” said Williams.
The 60-degree overcast weather was a nice break for runners compared to last year’s blazing heat. But a bit of wind resulted in similar times.
“I don’t think the weather affected (the race) either way,” said Clint Verran, 37, of Lake Orion, who won the men’s half marathon in one hour, seven minutes, 19 seconds.
“The course was really nice,” said Chris Kimbrough, 42 of Austin, Texas, who won the USATF Master’s 10K race with a time of 35:33.
The mother of five has only been running competitively for five years, though she played college basketball once upon a time for Rocky Mountain College in Montana.
“I can run hills pretty good, so was able to pass some guys there at the end with that finish. The end was tough, but the end is tough in any race,” Kimbrough said.
Rich Lamb's name won’t be at the top of any race result sheets for his time of 49:26 in Sunday’s 10K, but he was a top finisher. Lamb was the first barefoot runner to cross the finish line.
Lamb started running with the increasingly popular Vibram FiveFingers (a.k.a., toe shoes) last January and switched to barefoot this year.
Lamb said socks and shoes aren’t the only accessories he ditched since going barefoot. He no longer listens to music when he’s running.
“When I feel the ground, it really gets my juices flowing,” Lamb said. “I’m much more in tune with my surrounding since going barefoot.”
Kathy Liu of Salem turned 48 on Sunday, and she let everyone know. She ran the entire 10K (1:05:21) with a cardboard “Happy Birthday” party hat on her head.
Despite being attached by nothing but a thin rubber band, the cardboard cone stayed put for the entire race. Even more surprising to Kathy, it didn’t bother her in the slightest.
“It didn’t bother me at all and I thought it would. ... I hate having anything extra on,” Kathy said. “Any extra weight, I don’t need.”
Jeffrey Smith | AnnArbor.com
Dexter resident John Loudermilk was a fireman in Taylor before being laid off. The 40-year-old has been looking for a new job, but has been rejected by several departments because he is "too old," he said.
To prove them wrong, Loudermilk ran the 13.1-mile half marathon on Sunday in 2:29:33 in full fireman’s gear. That included oxygen tanks.
"I did this as a sort of statement, but also to raise money for the fallen firefighters foundation," Loudermilk said.
Former Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr was on hand at Sunday’s race. Carr said he used to participate regularly in the Dexter-Ann Arbor Run during his days as an assistant coach and a couple times when he was head coach.
Carr was merely a spectator this year. His son, Jason Carr, participated in the 10K, finishing in 58:15.
Carr ran alongside longtime friend and former Michigan basketball player Neal Morton, who finished in 58:13.
A runner dressed as a banana won the costume contest prior to the race, much to the dismay of Lululemon employee Katie Wilke. Wilke, who helped pass out post-race fruit to runners, did so while wearing a yellow lemon outfit.
Wilke said she didn’t know about the costume contest until it was too late.
“I totally could have won that,” she said.
-- AnnArbor.com photo intern Jeffrey Smith contributed to this report.