2017-07-27 / Sports

Ripley takes back Running Bear title

Rockford runner rip-roars through 5K in record time
By Jay Bushen
Sports Editor


RUNNERS TAKE their marks Tuesday in anticipation of the 11th annual Running Bear 5K in Glen Arbor. 
All photos by Don Miller RUNNERS TAKE their marks Tuesday in anticipation of the 11th annual Running Bear 5K in Glen Arbor. All photos by Don Miller Believe it or not, a young runner from Rockford won his fourth career Running Bear 5K title this week.

Zach Ripley, who missed the 2016 race not long after the birth of his first son, trimmed 15 seconds from his first-place 2015 time on Tuesday and crossed the 5K finish line in 15 minutes, 13 seconds. Ripley has now won more than a third of all Running Bear races, which started in 2007.

“We really appreciate the small-town atmosphere here in Glen Arbor and the race’s backing by the community,” Ripley said. “It’s one of our favorites.”

Ripley not only won by 29 seconds, but also eclipsed 2016 winner Nicholas Stanko’s course record by 14 seconds.

The record pace paired nicely with a record turnout at the 11th annual fundraiser, which drew 703 participants this year — 60 more than the 2016 total.


HEIDI HEUERMAN of Columbus, Ohio, finished first on the women’s side in 19 minutes and 4 seconds. HEIDI HEUERMAN of Columbus, Ohio, finished first on the women’s side in 19 minutes and 4 seconds. “This race is so special,” said Heidi Heuerman of Columbus, Ohio, who participates in about 15 races per year. “I just love the positive atmosphere.”

Heuerman captured top honors on the women’s side in dramatic fashion, crossing in 19:04, just three seconds faster than fellow Ohioan Kerry Lee.

Heuerman was among the many runners who stuck around for the post-race awards ceremony at Cherry Republic, where winners of more than 50 raffle prizes were announced.

“We’re so pleased and thankful about how the community gets behind this event,” said Carole Becker, who chairs the race committee for the Glen Arbor Women’s Club. Becker and other members of the club have raised about $11,000 annually in proceeds, which are used for scholarships and community projects. “We probably have over 100 volunteers that help.”


ZACH RIPLEY finished first overall in 15 minutes and 13 seconds. ZACH RIPLEY finished first overall in 15 minutes and 13 seconds. Among the volunteers was Joe Zawacki, who sang the national anthem with an accompaniment from Pat Niemisto. Lynn Becker of the women’s club said Zawacki was one of a whopping 26 family members participating in the 5K, including some from Oregon.

Meanwhile, two runners with Leelanau County hometowns, Hawthorn Sutherland of Glen Arbor and Duane Amato of Suttons Bay, walked away category winners.

Second-place finishers with county addresses were William Batterson, Mimi Ransick and Jocelyn VanSkyock of Glen Arbor; Kelly Slater of Suttons Bay; and Jaiden Thompson of Cedar.

Photos by Don Miller


AMONG THE 703 Running Bear participants were Glen Lake Superintendent Sander Scott and his wife, Shannon Scott. AMONG THE 703 Running Bear participants were Glen Lake Superintendent Sander Scott and his wife, Shannon Scott.

Return to top