Sporadic sprinkles and outright downpours didn’t dampen the determination of 176 runners and walkers during the “Stomp Out Hunger” Clinton Hunger Run 5K Saturday morning.

Racers like George and Vonda Crocker of Clinton, who didn’t seem to mind the rain or the temperature, which hovered around 62 degrees.

George, 74, ran the 5K and finished 96 th. Vonda, 73, walked the route and finished 20 th that group.

“It’s for a good cause and we’re very physically active people,” Vonda explained.

The 3.10 mile-long race supports local food banks like the Choctaw Food Bank and Foods for Life in Clinton, and dozens of local businesses’ sponsorships help make the race happen.

The Crockers earned medals for being among the top finishers in the 70-74 age group. The couple have participated in 5Ks before, but Saturday was the first time they participated in the Clinton Hunger Run 5K.

Rusty Hinges, 79, of Mount Pleasant, was the oldest racer and won a medal for being the top finisher in the 75-80 age group.

As racers eyed the skies and checked in for the race, they were given a numbered racing bib and an orange square plastic badge to attach to their racing shoelaces. The badge has a computer chip in it, so when racers cross over the large blue mats placed across the street at the start and finish line nearby computers record their race statistics.

Of course, each racer’s time was noted with a large time clock, and many racers wore watches or fitness tracker wristbands to time themselves.

There seems to be fractions of a second variations between most of the chip times as compared to the clocked times. While this is probably a point of contention in large marathon events with close finishes, as far as we saw, everyone was fairly satisfied with their race results which were provided by Mac’s Race Timing Service, out of Batesville.

Much like the course itself, which goes up Yellowjacket Lane before looping back to downtown, the race was not easy. Errant cars would occasionally cross the course, dangerous not only for the adult runners but the scores of school-aged children running the course and focused on the finish line just ahead. After finishing the race, one woman experienced some medical problems and was taken to Ozark Health by ambulance.

The large, inflatable, white and blue arch marking the start and finish line on Griggs Street in downtown Clinton was the center of activity for the race. Before the starting volunteers, onlookers, and even a few racers enjoyed doughnuts and coffee while other racers warmed up, either by jogging around downtown or participating in a Zumba aerobic exercise session. After each racer crossed the finish line, they had their orange timing chips removed from their shoes and cooled down by walking around a bit before replenishing with a snack, perhaps fruit or something heartier from the grill.

Trophies were awarded to male and female overall top finishers, Masters, and Grand Masters, in both the walking and running groups. Medals were awarded to the top five male and female runners in 16 age groups. Medals were also awarded to the top five male and female walkers in 11 age groups.

Among the top men overall finishers were: Todd Hink of Clinton, with a clocked time of 18:49:51 and 18:46: 96 chip time; Homer Mason of Witts Springs, with a clocked time of 19:07.5 and 19:05:13 chip time; and Frank Thurman of Cabot, with a clocked time of 21:47:19 and 21:44:85.

The top women overall finishers were: Desiree Lewis, of Clinton with a clocked time of 24:05:99 and 24:03:03 chip time; Lacey Belle McJunkins, with a clocked time of 24:57:56 and 24:54:48; and Lydia Mason of Witts Springs, with a clocked time of 24:43:03 and chip time of 25:39:08.

A list of all the results including:, is available online at: clintonhungerrun.com. Look for the 2017 Race tab.

Keep reading the Van Buren County Democrat for upcoming profiles of local food pantry programs, why there is a need, a look at efforts to bolster these programs, and information on how to get involved.