Freedom Run 5K on deck |

Freedom Run 5K on deck

Runners of Nevada County have an opportunity to kick off their Fourth of July holiday early as many will lace up their shoes for the fifth stop on the Gold Country Grand Prix at the Freedom Run.

The Freedom Run features a 5K trail run, which begins on the lower practice field at Nevada Union High School and ends inside Hooper Stadium. Upon departing, the stadium runners will wander through a cross country course near campus before returning back to the football field to complete the home stretch.

“The course does a number of loops and circles through the woods around campus and goes near Sierra College,” said event coordinator Frank Castro-Wehr. “It’s not boring. That’s for sure. Most other runs are all along roads. This is an all-trail run, and it’s enjoyable. It’s a great way to start the day, and afterward, people can go celebrate with barbecues or at the river.”

Each stage of the Gold Country Grand Prix awards points to its participants, 10 points for first place, seven for second, five for third, four for fourth, three for fifth and one for all others. Points accumulate all season long through the 11 running events. Runners are broken up into subcategories in standings where they compete against fellow runners of the same gender and approximate age.

Thus far through four events (Daffodil, Spring, Community, Harmony), 9-year old Riley Madigan leads the girls 10-and-under standings with 30 points, good for a 12-point lead. For the boys 10-and-under group, Joe Bigley leads the charge at 30 points with a 10-point advantage. Girls ages 11-14 are led by Lexie Madigan who sits on top with 35 points, ahead of her closest competitor by 10 points. For boys ages 11-14 Joshua Farchild has racked up 37 points and built a seven-point lead. In the females 15-18 age category, Holly Harrison has run herself up into first place at 30 points with a six-point lead. For guys ages 15-18, Devon Cloud has dominated to run away with a commanding 27-point lead as he enjoys the view at the top of the leader board with 37 points. Females in the 19-20 age bracket are led by Amanda Bratton who has kicked it into high gear, having won all three of her races for 30 points, good for a 12-point cushion. For men ages 19-29 Ryan Meacher has pulled ahead with 30 points as he has also won his three events and his closest threat sits 20 points behind. In the females ages 30-39 group, Alexis LaCentra holds a narrow four point lead with 24 points. For males ages 30-39, Larry DeFeyter has won every race of the season for 40 points and holds a nine-point advantage. Females ages 40-49 are led by Amanda Balser who has won each of the three events she’s competed in for 30 points and currently owns a five-point lead. In the males ages 40-49 category, Rob Taylor has also won his three races for 30 points and a slim two-point lead. For females ages 50-59, Makie Ohler is three for three in her races for 30 points and a three-point lead. Males ages 50-59 are led by Phillip Desjardins who has won all four of this season’s race for 40 points and a 10-point lead. In the females ages 60-69 group Genielle Odom leads the way with 28 points and holds an 11-point advantage. The male 60-69 age category is led by Denis O’Halloran who holds a five-point lead with 37 points. The females 70-and-over group is led by Lynne Hurrell who has won each of her three races for 30 points and a 20-point lead. Finally, in the males 70-and-over group, Ron Gross has shown no sign of fatigue as he has taken first in all four events for 40 points and holds a narrow three point lead.

All races are sponsored by the NU Booster Club with proceeds going to its track and field and cross country teams. Show your love for the red, white and blue this Fourth of July by celebrating with some cardio. The race begins at 8 a.m. Cost to register is $25 for runners and $20 for those who choose to walk. Ages 10 and under are $20. Register online at or on race day between 7 and 7:45 a.m.

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