GOSHEN — Sunday was nine years in the making for Andy Williams.

The Northridge High School graduate won his third Parade 500 Road Run — his third overall and first since 2010. The 31-year-old has run in the event every year since then, but he finally broke through on a hot, sunny day at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair.

“I’m super thankful that I can train the way I want to,” Williams said. “I’m just really blessed to still be healthy.”

Temperatures were cooler than they were on Friday and Saturday, but it was still over 90 degrees as the runners hit the track.

“You have to have realistic expectations. Even if you’re in really good shape, you’re probably not going to run as fast on a day like this,” Williams said. “I kind of anticipated that the past couple of weeks. I’ve been doing a lot of running in the heat just to make sure I’m prepared for it. Worked out fairly well.”

Williams is an assistant cross-country coach at Northridge. He was on the Raiders’ 2004 IHSAA state championship cross-country team before continuing his career at Manchester University.

Running continues to be a big part of Williams’ life. He said he runs every day, usually running 60-75 miles a week. That number goes up to 100 miles a week while training for marathons. Williams says he’s planning on running a marathon in Sacramento, California, in December.

Williams said he has a love-hate relationship with the Parade 5000 course.

“I absolutely love it just for the spectator course. All the kinds of people come out and watch the parade. They’re along the course, I hear my name a lot. So, it’s kind of like a hometown race in that respect,” Williams said. “I love the spectator aspect of finishing in front of the grandstands, even though coming on to the dirt here is a little more of a challenge.

“That, combined with the 1:20 in the afternoon start time, I know it’s always going to be brutal.”

While Williams is a regular at the Parade 5000, many newcomers participated in the event.

Three of them were John, Sheila and Oakley Miller. John and Sheila have been married almost three years now and had their first child, Oakley, eight months ago. When they saw information about the Parade 5000, John mentioned they should run in it. Sheila agreed.

“I was like, ‘Yes, let’s do it!’ And then he kind of forgot about it. And then I was like, ‘you’ve got tot do it, man,’” Sheila said.

Instead of finding a babysitter for their daughter, they decided one of them would push Oakley in a stroller throughout the run. John wound up being the one who took Oakley through her first 5K run.

“(Oakley) loves being in the stroller. Any time we run, she’s excited and thrilled. She just loves it, so we love taking her running,” John said.

The couple alternates who runs with Oakley. Sheila said she noticed a difference running solo as opposed to pushing a stroller the entire time.

“I didn’t realize how much extra weight she adds until I ran without here,” Sheila said. “I was like, ‘Wow, she does add a lot of weight.’”

John finished with a time of 29:39, while Sheila ran the race in 35:14. Being able to share a moment as a family, however, was the ultimate prize for the young family.

“Just to look back and set a life of example (for Oakley). Just giving it your all, that’s what I want to set for her,” John said. “It’s about having fun, too. It’s something we can do as a family — train, push each other, and stuff like that.”

Austin Hough can be reached at austin.hough@goshennews.com or 574-533-2151, ext. 325. Follow Austin on Twitter @AustinHoughTGN


TOP MALE OVERALL: Andy Williams, 16:07

TOP FEMALE OVERALL: Laura Gillette, 20:22

FEMALE 0-12: Hadley Troyer 27:29, Kiara Jaberg 39:20, Shalom Boomershine 43:31

MALE 0-12: Marc Anthony Hernandez 22:14, Roman Nyce 24:53, Mattias Hernandez 29:08

FEMALE 13-15: Haylee Hile 22:09, Sophia Yordy 24:17, Lindsey Daniels 30:50

MALE 13-15: Tommy Claxton 18:54, Cole Johnston 20:13, Zachariah Miller 20:27

FEMALE 16-18: Regan Landis 22:42, Yadira Sanchez 23:57, Abigail Garcia 25:17

MALE 16-18: Luke Shoemaker 17:14, Marlon Garcia 18:05, Brady Hunsberger 18:23

FEMALE 19-24: Dorcas Wingard 20:36, Ariana Perez Diener 24;13, Jenna Landis 28:22

MALE 19-24: Kevin Kipkemboi 16:30, Landon Miller 16:34, Jordan Annis 16:50

FEMALE 25-29: Alyssa Adam 24:31, Carrie Harris 26:07, R. Zentz 26:17

MALE 25-29: Dan Kibett 17:53, Josh Rangel 21:39, Anthony Bontrager 23:09

FEMALE 30-34: Bekah Shenk 21:00, Aimee Gingerich 27:15, Diana Contreras 28:23

MALE 30-34: Elmer Schlabach 18:30, Drew Brewton 20:09, Luis Rivera 20:21

FEMALE 35-39: Sandra Ochoa 32:46, Lita Sarmiento 33:35, Jamie Stout 33:39

MALE 35-39: FG Garcia 18:29, Rustin Nyce 19:38, Mark Davidhizar 20:31

FEMALE 40-44: Robin Weddell 29:53, Elvia Abad 30:03, Olga Ramirez 30:17

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FEMALE 45-49: Anne Griffith 30:32, Maria Brown 34:02, Liza Arnold 35:29

MALE 45-49: Galen Mast 23:25, Shane Hernley 23:42, Ruben Flores 24:12

FEMALE 50-54: Yuko Baumann 27:31, Dani Moreno 30:20, Tina Sharkey 35:23

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FEMALE OVER 60: Sara Lantzer 40:11

MALE OVER 60: Mark Furkis 19:45, Ivor Miggebrugge 23:07, Jeff Lantzer 30:06

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