BATAVIA — While throngs of people checked out vintage cars, ate festival treats and listened to live bands on Main Street Saturday, a smaller and more select group of people patiently stood near the Senior Center on Bank Street.
They were waiting to cheer on participants in the Don Carroll 5K race.
It wasn’t too long before the overall winner sprinted to the finish line. And it wasn’t his first for the day. Sixteen-year-old Ty Demmer took first place in 17 minutes six seconds, which was several seconds faster than his first place win earlier that day in Elba.
“At first I thought that Elba would be easier. I thought there’d be less people there,” Ty said, sharing how he trains to be so fast. “Just run.”
His 15-year-old brother Tom placed third. It was a happy event for his folks, Dave and Jenn.
“It’s a good day for the Demmers. I’m so proud,” Mrs. Demmer said. “When he came around the corner ... it’s exhilarating.”
Race host Don Carroll stood in the middle of the street waving everyone in with a red flag. He was determined not to let his battle with serious illness keep him from the yearly fundraiser. All proceeds go to help needy children at Christmastime.
“I don’t want cancer to win. I was afraid I was going to let down the kids,” he said. “With me being here, cancer isn’t going to keep me down. It’s a good sign I’m here.”
There were about 160 participants, which was more than last year, he said. Most of them ran alone. But Dave Bateman opted to increase his workload. He pushed a double stroller carrying 3-year-old Emmeline. Her sister backed out of the deal just before take-off, so Emmeline was the solo passenger.
It was fun, she said. As her 29-year-old dad ran along the course, she even saw “my house.”
Bateman was director for the morning’s race in Elba. He usually runs about seven or eight of them a year and was feeling energetic Saturday.
“I just wanted a little extra workout today,” he said. “It slowed me down a few minutes.”
He figured that with his 30-pound daughter and another 30 pounds for the stroller, that he was pushing a hefty amount of extra weight. He clocked in at 20 minutes, 14 seconds.
Back on Main Street, people seemed oblivious to the sweaty, hard-working runners who were coming in one by one. Event Chairman Jeff Gillard said it was a good showing of people for the day. He got a chance to see much of it — live entertainers, food and craft vendors, children’s activities — through his camera lens as he took photos. He has been chairman for five or six years.
“It’s fun, I enjoy it,” he said. “It has been steady all day. It’s a nice crowd, good food and great weather.”
Fellow organizer and head of the downtown business district Don Burkel estimated that about 4,000 people came in a flow of visitors into and out of the downtown area.
Betty Luperino and a friend were making their way down Main Street to the main stage. Terry Buchwald had already driven up on his motorcycle wearing a flashy red outfit and was on stage singing aka Elvis Presley.
The ladies were enjoying the social outing.
“It’s like a reunion. You run into so many people you haven’t seen in a long time,” Luperino said. “And it seems as though they have something for everybody. This is a perfect summer day.”