Oxford Run 2014
By Steven Hoffman
After a series of top-five finishes, Oxford resident Gavin Coates took first place in the 12th annual Oxford Run on Saturday, Sept. 27. He completed the 5K course in 18:59.
The 5K run, walk, and dash attracted several hundred participants and the event was held under gloriously sunny skies.
“That always helps to encourage more families to come out on the day of the race,” said Sue Cole, the executive director of Oxford Mainstreet, Inc.
Coates, a resident of Oxford, said that he suffered a knee injury about a month before the event and thought that he wasn’t even going to be able to compete this year. He started feeling better a week before so he decided to give it a try. His time of 18:59 was just six seconds off the pace he set last year.
Coates is a teacher and track coach at McKean High School in Delaware. He often runs cross country with the team that he coaches, but the only 5K that he runs is the Oxford Run.
The second-place finisher was Gavin Fitzgerald. He had plenty of reason to be proud, too, finishing with a time of 19:04.
“I just wanted to beat my time of 20:02,” he said.
What makes that time more impressive is the fact that Fitzgerald is only 11 years old.
The Hopewell Elementary School sixth-grader said that he usually runs about 42 miles per week. He said that likes running because it allows him to think clearly.
The top female finisher was Michelle McLoughlin, a Rising Sun resident who posted a time of 22:26.
Many of the Oxford Run participants were interested in improving their personal best times, but others simply wanted to enjoy a run with family and friends, and the event was an excellent opportunity for that.
Cole said that some groups, the Cuda’s Swim Team and Tastykake among them, had dozens of participants in the run and walk.
As soon as the walkers had completed the course, the awards to the top-three finishers in each age category were handed out. At shortly after 10 a.m. another Oxford Run was in the books.
“We are just excited to kick off this day in Oxford with so many things going on,” said Cole, alluding to Oxford Feed & Lumber’s Whisker Walk, the Oxford Presbyterian Church’s Apple Festival, and the 15th anniversary celebration at the Golden Light Wellness Center.
The Whisker Walk gets more popular each year with participants like Carolyn Waibel, who shared a leisurely walk around town with her four-year-old dog, Abby Oakley.
After the walk, pets and their owners returned to Oxford Feed & Lumber for goodie bags, doggie frozen yogurt, costume classes, a demonstration by a K9 Unit police officer and his arson-detecting dog, Leo.
Many of the participants like Waibel like the fact that the event raises money to support pet rescues in the area.
“I thought it was great. The dogs had a great time,” explained Lauren Coyle, who was outside Oxford Feed & Lumber with Margaret Leardi and Sharon Huddle, and eight Great Pyrenees dogs that they walked. All the dogs were rescued and are now doing extremely well with their new families. Coyle, Leardi, and Huddle are volunteers who were raising awareness about LaMancha Animal Rescue, a no-kill shelter in Unionville.
By the time pet owners were finishing with their walks with their pets, the Oxford Presbyterian Church’s Apple Festival was already attracting a large crowd to the Oxford Memorial Park.
Joe Bauer, the chairman of this year’s event, said that they expanded the hours of the festival to 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and brought in more entertainment than in past years.
Donda Tenextocli, a performance group from Avondale was on the stage early in the morning to demonstrate traditional Mexican dances. Right To Become, a Christian rock band, took the stage in the afternoon.
Arts and crafts vendors and non-profit organizations had tables set up. There was also a large silent auction.
“It looks like the silent auction is a lot bigger year,” Bauer explained. He credited Roy Caudill with assisting in the effort to get local businesses to donate to the auction.
Bauer was delighted to have Right To Become performing at the Apple Festival. The Bucks County, Pa.-based band first started performing as a cover band about nine years ago and has evolved over the years. The band is now recording its owns original Christian rock songs. They recently released a five-song EP.
“We want to encourage people in their faith,” said Courtney Rains Loo, the singer of the group.
The band has performed all over the area, including at a local church, but she said that she likes performing at events like the Apple Festival.
“I love it because we’re out in the community,” she said. “We might reach someone and encourage them in their faith.”
One of the new events at this year’s Apple Festival was a parade of antique John Deere tractors. Larry Herr and his father, Jim Herr, brought their 1952 John Deere tractor. Jim Herr was in the third grade when his father—Larry’s grandfather—purchased the tractor brand new. The family farm was directly across the street from the one-room school house that Jim attended, and he could see the tractor being delivered. He rushed home from school that day and his father allowed him to drive the tractor, with some assistance, that same night.
Eventually, his father sold the tractor to another farmer who lived about a mile outside Oxford.
For more than three decades, Jim Herr tried to buy the tractor back to no avail. Eventually, he was able to buy it at an auction and the Herrs did the necessary restoration work on the tractor. It still has its original engine and runs, well, like a John Deere.
Another notable event that took place on Saturday was the 15th anniversary of the Golden Light Wellness Center on Lincoln Street.
Sisters Carol Yurick and Debra George were welcoming guests to the open house that they were holding to celebrate the milestone.
“We’re really excited about this,” said Yurick. “It’s a way to give back to the people who have been loyal to us.”
The Golden Light Wellness Center offers everything from holistic massage and reiki to belly-dancing or discussion groups.
Yurick said that they have continually changed their offerings over the years so that they are providing what people want.
“We try to offer unique programs in a home-like atmosphere,” said George.
Yurick and George are helped in that endeavor based on the fact that their business is actually housed in what was once the family home. Yurick explained that their grandparents built the house in which the business is located.
To contact Staff Writer Steven Hoffman, email email@example.com.