A typical road race winner has a good idea they’re the champion. Most times it’s a dead giveaway, with a small crowd cheering at the end, letting the runner know they’re the first to cross the finish line.
For 13-year-old Bo Bushnell, discovering he won the Virtual Harbin Clinic Leprechaun-a-thon happened in a different manner.
Bushnell and his family decided to do the virtual race on Saturday morning. They turned in their times and photos and then waited to find out the results. During a phone call Monday, his dad let the whole family know how the race went.
“My dad called us when we were in the car. He said Sarah Beth won her age group. He said he won masters and mom won masters as well. He didn’t say anything about me at first, until my sister asked,” Bo said in a phone interview on Monday. “I thought I had finished third in my age group or something, then my dad said I won the whole thing.”
Bo did indeed, clocking a 21:52 over a 5K course to top a field of a couple of dozen runners and walkers who competed in the virtual event.
“I love the Leprechaun-a-thon, but I never thought I would win it,” he said.
Bo is no stranger to virtual races. He said he and his father have been competing in virtual triathlons — including one that featured a 56-mile bike ride and a half marathon run of 13.1 miles. So the 3.1-mile jaunt on Saturday probably seemed quite easy.
“I like the Leprechaun course, because it’s very flat and fast,” he said. “We (the whole family) got up early and ran on Saturday, and then went to Chick-fil-A.”
The remainder of the Bushnell family also made a big impact on the race, with Brad Bushnell finishing second overall — roughly 20 seconds behind his son — allowing him to capture the Male Masters award. Kim Bushnell finished with a strong 28:23 to win the Female Masters and their daughter, Sarah Beth Bushnell, finished 10 seconds behind her mom with a 28:33 to take first place in the 10 and under age group.
While Bo Bushnell took the overall title, Mary Ann Long nabbed the overall female title with a solid 26:55. Julia Chambers grabbed the Female Grand Masters title with her 34:30, and Hunter Meyers’ time of 35:53 allowed him to win the Male Grandmaster overall.
The virtual race was set up to allow local runners and walkers to get out and get some exercise while also practicing social distancing.
Although the Harbin Clinic Leprechaun-a-thon had to be canceled in March, all registered runners and walkers were encouraged to participate in the virtual event. They are also registered for a new 5K race and walk set for Saturday evening Oct. 10.
“We’d like to thank all of those who participated, and we hope to see them and many more come out to compete in the fall event,” said Todd Wofford, director of Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation.
“Also, don’t forget that our parks have tons of trails that you can run, walk and ride to help get out and get some exercise.”
Winners and age group placers from the virtual Leprechaun-a-thon all earn glass mug awards, which will be handed out in the future once Parks and Recreation facilities are allowed to open to the public. All participants also earned special finisher’s certificates that will be emailed to them.
The list of winners can be found at rfpra.com/leprechaun.
Parks and Recreation will also plan a day or two for those who registered for the Harbin Clinic Leprechaun-a-thon to pick up their shirts if they weren’t able to get them already.