Sixty-six minutes after racers dashed from the starting line, the last racer crossed the finish line at Venetian Gardens in Leesburg, Fla. closing the book on the inaugural Beacon College Navigators 5K Run/Walk, a fun and fast-paced affair slowed only by Hurricane Matthew.
Originally, scheduled for October 2016 in conjunction with Beacon’s Parents Weekend, Hurricane Matthew and its aftermath put a damper on those plans.
School officials staged the race to raise funds both for the college’s intramural sports program and also to help fund the Mitchell Pospyhalla Memorial Scholarship. Jim and Beth Pospyhalla established the scholarship to honor their son and former Beacon College student who died nine weeks before graduation in a motorcycle accident in September 2015.
In all, 126 racers signed up for the 5K, but only 81 participants — including many parents and relatives of Beacon students — actually competed.
Steven McDaniels, race manager and director of fitness at Beacon College, the first college or university accredited to award bachelor’s degrees to students who learn differently, called the event “fantastic. I still can get over how beautiful the course was.”
Over the 3.1-mile course, runners and walkers trod over sidewalks, slalomed around Lake Harris, huffed past scenic historic homes, and slogged up Florida molehills that a couple of miles into the race seemed mountains.
In the end, Ortelio Bosch enshrined his name in the record book as the overall winner of the college’s inaugural middle-distance race. Bosch, 48, from Savannah, Ga. finished in 21:50.17.
Brienne Sharff, 34, of Eustis, Fla., earned the top female finish (sixth-best overall). She clocked in at 25:39.42.
“It felt great to be the first female through the finish line,” says Sharff, a personal trainer in Mount Dora, who started running five years ago. “One of the best things about the Beacon College 5K was seeing so many inspiring people of all ages crossing the finish line.”
Rad Arner, 51, of Golden, Colo. (21:58.84), Robert Koleski, 53, Paisley, Fla. (22:38.34), Constandinos “Dean” Logus, 22, Altamonte Springs, Fla. (23:53.38), and Tom Dutton, 71, Altoona, Fla. (24:57.96) rounded out the top five. Logus, a Beacon junior, ranks third in the state in the Florida Collegiate Triathlon Conference — and singlehandedly has Beacon College also ranked third statewide.
Thanks largely to race sponsors — Champions Powersports, Pisces Rising, Saint Paul Catholic Community, KeyWest Resort on Lake Dora, Cutrale, White Aluminum & Windows, Advanced
Imaging Centers, Amvets Post 2006, Leesburg Regional Medical Center, Adventure Outdoor Paddle, Citizens First Bank, Deans Services, and WCA of Lake County and Orlando — the college raised more than $5,600.
The second annual Beacon College Navigators 5K Run/Walk will return to its regular schedule in October in conjunction with Parents Weekend.