Ugly Sweater 5K brings the holiday spirit

December 22, 2023

The inaugural Redemption City Ugly Sweater 5K was held Dec. 17 at Cape Henlopen State Park, attracting 112 registered participants. The course took runners from the fishing pier through the youth camp, up to Fort Miles to the 1.55-mile turnaround and back.

First across the finish line was Claymont runner Matthew Klein in a time of 20:31. He was followed by female champion Melissa Wiley of Ocean City, Md., in 20:52. Cape graduate Hadley Rhue, 22, was third to win the 20-29 age group, while Seashore Striders runner Ruby Leps, 9, of Lewes was fourth to win the 9U girls’ division.  

Dustin Parker was fifth overall in 23:46, winning the 30-39 age group, while Madison Shuler of Lewes placed sixth in 24:14. Rehoboth Beach runner Meryl Ludwig, 58, won the female masters title in 24:23 for eighth place, while Stephen Leps, 49, of Lewes won the male masters race in 24:24.

According to the website, the group seeks to help people experiencing homelessness find shelter while providing comprehensive and holistic care. It is rooted in a deep conviction that every human being has incredible value, worth and dignity. It wants to help restore that dignity, and strives to impart skills so people may thrive in life rather than simply housing and turning them back out to repeat the cycle.

The runners enjoyed custom awards by Half Stockley. Each wooden award was made as an individually decorated ugly sweater.  

“The Ugly Sweater 5K Run/Walk was a cheerful and festive family-friendly event,” said Renee Parker, board secretary and fundraising chair. “Competitive runners and families alike showed up in their ugly sweaters in support of Redemption City. It was a heart-warning day, and the weather couldn’t have been better! DJ VO had a great selection of remixed holiday music, which created a fun atmosphere, while also pumping participants up for the run. The photo booth allowed participants to take keepsake ‘ugly’ photos with family and friends before and after the run. Registrants also received an ugly sweater shirt and a holiday-themed swag bag filled with light-up beanies, festive socks, hot hands, a wooden ugly sweater ornament and a snack. As participants crossed the finish line, they were greeted by Mr. and Mrs. Claus, who later also handed out the custom wooden ugly sweater awards. Food was plentiful and was provided by the sponsors of the event. Redemption City was overwhelmed by the community’s love and support shown that day and is already looking forward to working with Seashore Striders on planning 2024’s Ugly Sweater 5K event.

Cape indoor track

The Vikings of Cape Henlopen spent a long afternoon at the Pat Russo Invitational in Snow Hill, Md., competing with 16 teams, four from the Henlopen Conference.

When the dust settled, the Cape boys easily won the team title with 119 points, while Cambridge South Dorchester took second with 69.5 points. Caesar Rodney was third with 66.5.

The Cape girls did not win any individual event, but they spread out enough throughout the meet to score in 12 of 15 events for 69 points and the team win. Parkside was second with 59 points, while Polytech was third with 54.5 points.

Highlighting the Vikings’ performance were three individual event winners: junior Benjamin Cardin ran 4:42.76 to win the 1,600 meters, senior Bailey Fletcher won the pole vault with a nice clearance of 14-6, and senior Merric Mumford jumped 39-11 ¾ to win the triple jump. The Vikings also captured a close 800-meter relay in a time of 1:37.67. Caesar Rodney loaded up in the relays, winning four of the six team races in the meet.  

The Cape girls were led by sophomore hurdler Anejah Grace, who finished second in the 55-meter hurdles in 9.77 seconds. Freshman Kaylyn Clews jumped 4-8 for second in the high jump. Junior Addison Bowman put together another good week of vaulting, as she cleared 10-0 for second in the pole vault.

The Vikings will head back to Snow Hill the first week of 2024 for a regular weekly meet on the circuit.

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