Four years ago, 12-year-old Will Carlile finished first in the 2K Puppy Dawg Dare, the shortened version of the Big Dawg Dare 5K obstacle mud run at Wolff Farms near Litchfield. On Saturday, July 20, the Litchfield High School junior ran with the big dogs and more than held his own.
The 16-year-old wrestler and cross country runner from Mt. Olive made short work of the eighth annual Big Dawg Dare 5K course, clocking in at 28:28.12 to earn the title of top dog.
Nicole Spencer would be the top female to cross the finish line as she ran a 28:32.08 to take second overall after making the trip from Lincoln for the race.
According to race founder Brian Hollo, 752 runners battled the course and Mother Nature, who dropped 90-plus degree temperatures on the contingent. That includes dozens of younger runners and a group of runners with Parkinson's and their families from Memorial SportsCare's Rock Steady Boxing who all ran the Puppy Dawg Dare.
"Some of the people from Rock Steady weren't able to run due to the heat and I hate that, but we made sure to get them their bags," Hollo said.
While the majority of the racers of the runners came from the area between Springfield and the Metro-East, the event would draw competitors from Missouri and Indiana as well.
"It's one of our favorite races. We love how much water there is on the course," Rebecca Saunders told Hollo before she took off with her sons, eight-year-old Grant and 10-year-old Drake. Saunders' husband Joshua also ran in an earlier flight.
Hollo said that many of the people he talked to on Saturday echoed Saunders' statements.
"We always try to talk to the runners and find out what we can do better next year," Hollo said. "This year, we really haven't had too many complaints."
Talking to the runners was just a formality though. For the most part you could see what they thought of the race on their faces, especially on the water slide portion of the course. Granted the dispositions were slightly less jovial toward the latter stages of the race, but some of the smiles were replaced by looks of determination and accomplishment at finishing the gruelling mud run.
The biggest winner on the day was undoubtedly the programs that will receive assistance through the Big Dawg Dare Board, who has given out more than $60,000 over the last seven years. This year, $5 from every entry will go to the Montgomery County Cancer Association, meaning that the group will have nearly $4,000 more to help those fighting cancer in Litchfield, Hillsboro and the rest of Montgomery County.
And Hollo said that it's all because of the hard work of the volunteers who make the race a reality.
"We have a core group of 12 to 15 people that really make this happen, along with 70 or so volunteers for race day," Hollo said. "Without them, there is no Big Dawg Dare."
July 20, 2019
Big Dawg Dare
Men's Top Ten
1. Will Carlile, 16 - 28:28.12
2. Gregory Wietting, 53 - 28:32.29
3. Chris Short, 32 - 29:27.85
4. Wes Hornback, 32 - 30:34.95
5. Walter Becker, 21 - 31:35.67
6. Jeremy Clover, 33 - 31:38.27
7. Chase Curtis, 16 - 31:43.06
8. Brandon Walker, 32 - 32:06.27
9. Nathan Michael, 16 - 32:18.09
10. Trent Markezich, 15 - 32:21.34
Women's Top Ten
1. Nicole Spencer, 33 - 28:32.08
2. Kathryn Range, 42 - 35:33.08
3. Elizabeth Kershisnik, 50 - 37:21.74
4. Riley Hemken, 17 - 38:56.04
5. Sarah Perkins, 18 - 41:40.96
6. April Bauer, 43 - 41:51.75
7. Elizabeth Bequette, 38 - 41:53.66
8. Ashley Marchello, 29 - 41:59.57
9. Sarah Waggoner, 33 - 42:11.47
10. Robin Przybylowski, 40 - 42:18.13
2K Puppy Dawg Dare Top 5
1. Cruz Lakatos, 9 - 29:44.88
2. Ryder Dettman, 10 - 29:44.90
3. Braxton Kieffer, 11 - 31:39.65
4. Jackson Andre, 10 - 34:28.94
5. Casson Schmidt, 10 - 34:33.34
1. Mia Range, 12 - 36:04.83
2. Kamryn Darabcsek, 12 - 37:23.26
3. Layla Blankenship - 43:58.08
4. Natalie Moomey, 10 - 45:20.87
5. Brooke Keller, 10 - 45:21.22