Woodstock 2013 runners enjoy pleasant weather, new events
by Patrick McCreless
Aug 04, 2013 | 6384 views |  0 comments | 74 74 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Not everyone seemed intent on breaking a record or achieving a personal best at the Woodstock 5K Saturday. Here, Team Peace, Love and Bubbles, evoking the era of a different Woodstock, heads to the starting line. (Anniston Star photo by Shannon Tucker)
Not everyone seemed intent on breaking a record or achieving a personal best at the Woodstock 5K Saturday. Here, Team Peace, Love and Bubbles, evoking the era of a different Woodstock, heads to the starting line. (Anniston Star photo by Shannon Tucker)
Mike Miller cares about how long it takes him to finish running races.

His wife, Kristi Miller, not so much.

"Time matters to him, but as long as I can make it across the finish line, I'm good," Kristi Miller said with a laugh.

Saturday was the first time the Heflin couple had ever run in Anniston’s annual Woodstock 5K. They were just two of the more than 1,000 people to participate in the 33-year-old event. At least another 1,000 people came to watch, cheer and enjoy the festivities after the race.

The race began a few minutes after 7:30 a.m. in front of Anniston High School and unlike the humid weather last year, a clear sky and light breeze made temperatures far more bearable. Still, many racers were drenched in sweat after blazing through the 3.1-mile course. Many participants wore official Woodstock T-shirts, while others wore special shirts as parts of different running teams. Nearby, vendors offered food and other products.

The Millers took refuge under a shady tree in front of the high school with towels and water bottles in hand after finishing the race.

Miller said he and his wife have run several 5Ks over the years, but Woodstock was by far the most impressive.

"It's awesome and very well-organized," Miller said.

His wife agreed.

"I think everyone in the area needs to run it at least once," she said.

John Collins of Anniston was back for the Woodstock after running it a couple of years ago.

"It's a beautiful day today," Collins said as he stretched his legs in preparation for the race. "I just want to get out and run."

Collins said he used to run all the time when he was in the military and simply continued the habit after he got out. However, finishing Woodstock at a certain time was not a concern, he said.

"It's not competitive, it's just for fun ...I just don't want to be last," Collins said with a laugh.

Unlike previous years, Saturday's Woodstock featured new after-race activities, including live music from local bands, such as Jim Parks, The Gypsy Begonias, McPherson Struts, Abby Parks and Doublewide Soul. A kid zone was also on site at the high school, complete with several bouncy houses, a 21-foot water slide and a dunking booth.

Runners and residents were also encouraged to visit the Coldwater Mountain trailhead for the Fat Tire Weekend event, hosted by the Northeast Alabama Bicycle Association. Several biking enthusiasts were there to check out the event, which featured music, demo bikes from local bicycle shop Wig's Wheels, door prizes and beginner rides on the cycling trails.

Carolyn Mills of Ashville and her son came by Saturday simply to ride the trails.

"When I got here I thought they were holding a private party," Mills said with a smile.

Mills said she rode the Coldwater trails once before in January and thought Saturday would be a good day to try them again.

"I think they're great," she said. “They're a little bit of a challenge but not so bad that Joe Blow can't do them.”

At 8:30 a.m. after the Woodstock ended was the 1-mile Kidstock for young children and their parents. Participating in the Kidstock and Woodstock this year was area resident Joe Jankoski and the children in his We All Run group, which he started last year to encourage students and west Anniston kids to live healthier, more active lives.

Jankoski said more kids participated in the eight-week program this year — 18 in all, nine of whom ran in the Woodstock while the rest ran in the Kidstock.

"I was pleased with the turnout and the effort," Jankoski said.

Tobias Bradley, 10, of Oxford ran in the Kidstock Saturday after training with the We All Run group for the first time earlier this year.

"I think I did good ... just as long as I passed that finish line," Bradley said.

Bradley said he joined the We All Run group to get healthier but also show others what they can accomplish with a little effort.

"I wanted to let people know that if I can do it, you can do it too," Bradley said. "I wanted to prove to myself and to others that you can help yourself."

Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.
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