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COVID-conscious Reagan Run more than walk in park

Part of the bummer that was the summer of 2020 was the cancellation of the Dixon Petunia Festival and one of its most popular features, the Reagan Run.

In 2021, however, the 5K that has been a hit with runners from all over the country was back, with a twist.

Instead of being contested in the streets of Dixon, it was moved to a more COVID resistant, bucolic setting on Saturday morning.

It began at Lowell Park and ended at the Lowell Parkway Trail on Washington Ave. A total of 410 runners and walkers, ranging in age from 5 to 81, participated in the event. Starting times were staggered to keep the trail from getting too clogged, as well as to aid in social distancing.

Heat B starts their run Saturday at Lowell Park.Heat A fires off the starting line Saturday to start the 2021 Reagan Run. Organizers allowed just over 400 runners this year and started the race in three heats.Runners in heat C, the last of three, start their run Saturday.Heat B starts their run Saturday at Lowell Park.Nicci Wright waves to the camera at the start of her run Saturday morning.The start of each heat took place one minute apart.Anthony Holguín of Dixon crosses the finish line at 15:30 to take the title during the 2021 Reagan Run Saturday morning.Cadyn Grafton of Dixon took second place in the 2021 Reagan Run.Kayla Anderson is the 2021 female winner of the Reagan Run. Anderson of De Forest, Wisconsin too 12th place overall.Jose Garcia kisses his son after the two complete their race Saturday in the 2021 Reagan Run.Patricia Lachat of Franklin Grove celebrates after coming in to finish her race.Jason Howlett crosses the line with his daughter Saturday. The two clocked a time of 33:41.Nancy Peterson raises her arms as she crosses the finish line Saturday during the 2021 Reagan Run.Kylie Stephens (left), Nikki Thomure, Melanie Wyatt and Brenda Van Horn cross the finish line Saturday.Elise Ulferts-Hume zips by a flag after completing the Reagan Run.A young runner completes his run Saturday.A group of runners come in to finish their race Saturday during the Reagan Run. This year's course started at Lowell Park and finished at the Washington Avenue bike path. Organizers hope to have the original course back up and running next year.Megan Ribelin triumphantly crosses the finish line Saturday morning.Flags flank the finish line as Jill Stoker of Dixon completes her race.Isaiah Kuehl, the 2020 Petunia King, took 13th place during the Reagan Run.

Some athletes were competitive, concerned about their time and place, while others treated it like a walk in the park. Afterward, participants munched on donated fruit, cookies and pizza, chugged bottles of water, and basked in the return of a summer staple that has now been held 21 years.

“Having the first time we’ve been on this course, everything went like clockwork,” race director Nancy Varga said. “I say that every year, and that’s because we’ve been on a course we’ve done for 20-some years, but this year was especially great. This committee, they closed the loops with each other. It was kind of neat because we’d be thinking, ‘Hey, we should do this,’ and then the next person would say, ‘But if we do, think about this.’

“Everybody really worked well together. We were so happy with how it turned out. And who wouldn’t be happy with this weather?”

The top overall finisher was Anthony Holguin, who covered the 3.1-mile course in 15 minutes, 30.78 seconds. Recent Dixon High School graduate Cadyn Grafton was second in 16:10.23, while Anthony Wells of Amboy was third in 17:02.83.

A Dixon resident, the 33-year-old Holguin was a member of the cross country team at Wisconsin-Parkside. He was as comfortable as anybody with the new Reagan Run course.

“I love the trail, since I train on here every other day,” Holguin said. “It’s a home-court advantage for me.”

The top female finisher, Kayla Anderson of Madison, Wis., also had a collegiate running background. Anderson, 27, earned All-American honors at Wisconsin-LaCrosse in her junior season. She ran the 800-meter leg of the distance medley relay, and helped her team place second in that event at the Division III national meet.

“This is my first time doing this race, but I loved it,” Anderson said. “There’s not too many turns, and I’m not a huge hill person. I like the flat. I loved the course.”

Anderson finished 12th overall. The next two female finishers were Mary Kate Supplitt of San Francisco, who finished 17th overall in 18:44.72, and Megan Grady of Amboy, who was 18th in 18:52.8.

Complete results can be viewed at or

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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