Locals enjoy running in Apple Blossom Valley Health 10K race

Runners start the 6.2 mile Apple Blossom Valley Health 10K race Saturday at Handley High School in Winchester. There were 1,111 runners in the race. Tommy Keeler Jr./Daily


WINCHESTER — The Apple Blossom Valley Health 10K race brings in people from many different states, but it also features plenty of local runners.

Among the 1,111 runners in Saturday’s 10K race, which is 6.2 miles long, was Sherando cross country and track trio Paige Conner, Olivia Couillard and Camryn Ubert.

“It’s fun to be here because people cheer for you that you know,” Conner said. “So you get to see them wave. …This is such a big thing in Winchester and we’re running from here.”

Geoffrey Ngetich won the race in a time of 29:35. The Kenyan, who  resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, said he wasn’t sure how he would do in the race.

“I wasn’t expecting to win,” Ngetich said. “I didn’t know who was coming.”

Geoffrey Ngetich, far left, Cyrus Korir, middle, and Eric Chirchir run during the Apple Blossom Valley Health 10K race Saturday in Winchester. Ngetich won the race in a time of 29:35, followed by Korir and Chirchir. Tommy Keeler Jr./Daily

Ngetich’s toughest competition came from Cyrus Korir, who is one of his teammates on his racing team. Korir finished second with a time of 29:50.

The top women’s finisher was Askale Merachi Wegi, of Floral Park, N.Y. She finished eighth overall in a time of 33:48.

She said she was happy with her performance.

“It was a little bit of wind, so I run good,” Merachi Wegi said.

Conner finished 179th (48:41), Couillard 180th (48:41) and Ubert 181st (48:42).

Millbrook cross country and track and field coach Kevin Shirk finishes the Apple Blossom Valley Health 10K race Saturday in Winchester. Shirk placed sixth in a time of 32:44. Tommy Keeler Jr./Daily

The Sherando trio said they planned to run together the whole way, and were happy with how they did.

“It’s really nice having people you can train with, because we’re all really good friends,” Conner said. “So it’s just really fun to train with them and get to race with them and get to be close friends.”

Millbrook cross country coach Kevin Shirk finished sixth overall in the 10K in a time of 32:44.

He said it wasn’t his best time, but he was glad he ran.

“I knew going into it I wasn’t in perfect shape for it,” Shirk said. “Over the course of the week leading up to it you get asked by 100 people if you’re going to do the race or not so, I get pressured into it every year. And so I just went ahead and did it.”

Ricky Flynn runs during the Apple Blossom Valley Health 10K race Saturday in Winchester. Flynn placed fifth in the race in a time of 31:56. Tommy Keeler Jr./Daily

Shirk said that during the last mile he’s always reminded of why he loves the race.

“It’s like ‘go coach Shirk’ or ‘go Kevin,'” Shirk said. “It kind of makes you fall in love with the race all over again. That aspect of it I really like. I like that it’s a hometown race.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com


Apple Blossom Valley Health 10K results

Top 15 overall:

Eric Chirchir runs during the Apple Blossom Valley Health 10K race Saturday in Winchester. Chirchir finished third in a time of 31:20. Tommy Keeler Jr./Daily

1. Geoffrey Ngetich, 29:35; 2. Cyrus Korir, 29:50; 3. Eric Chirchir, 31:20; 4. Patrick Cheptoek, 31:48; 5. Ricky Flynn, 31:56; 6. Kevin Shirk, 32:44; 7. Wade Miller, 32:59; 8. Askale Merachi Wegi, 33:48; 9. Robert Theimer, 33:56; 10. Matthew Lofton, 34:35; 11. Zipporah Chebet, 35:07; 12. Nolan Compton, 35:36; 13. Mekdes Tadese Bekele, 36:13; 14. Ryan Witt, 36:28, 15. Chris Walizer, 36:34.