Midnight runners: Seymour cross-country teams hold annual 5K event

During the Midnight 5K, there’s a race within the race that treks through downtown Seymour.

Outside of the regular placings, current and former Seymour High School boys cross-country runners have formed a rivalry.

The two groups of runners go head to head, with the winner claiming bragging rights.

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Seymour coach Randy Fife said his runners started the competition years ago, and while the boys want to beat each other, they pull for each other and come together to help raise funds for the program.

“They kind of just did it. It wasn’t something I started,” Fife said. “It has been going for a number of years now. The boys who graduate always want to come back and show they’ve still got it. The younger guys think they’re king now. Each year, it’s a challenge for them. This year, the alumni handed it to them. It’s fun.

“We’ve been really fortunate, we have a lot of really good kids that come through our cross-country program. They kind of adopt the new kids. There’s always that connection they have, whether they graduated four or 10 years ago. They know the runners and encourage them.”

Incoming SHS senior Luke Plummer was the overall winner of the race of 125 runners, finishing in 17 minutes, 25 seconds. Alumni Trent Hohenstreiter (17:37), Daniel Hauersperger (17:39.7) and Ben Franke (17:43.2) followed.

“The guys I was racing with were seniors when I was a freshman,” Plummer said. “There is always a little competitiveness. I always wanted to beat them. I pushed it and stayed with them to try and get the win. It’s always a lot of fun for the current and former varsity guys.

“It’s a fast race in the dark. We had a pack for most of the race until about the last mile. It was fun. I felt like it was pretty competitive.”

Hauersperger, a 2015 graduate, said the cross-country program has given its athletes a lot, and the 5K is a way for alumni to give back. He said the alumni look forward to coming back and running.

“It’s just a tradition. It has been going on every year for at least as long as I’ve been in the program,” he said. “It is kind of a deep-seated rivalry. The current runners had won a few straight, so this one was probably the first we’ve won in about four years.

“We want to show support for the guys. The program made a big impact on our lives. Coming back here, we’re able to help fund raise and give back to the program that helped us out.”

The women’s race was won by incoming SHS senior Makenna Sunbury, who clocked 20:14.9. Kinsley Folsom (21:43.2) was second, and Grace Rennekamp (22:07.5) place third.

Fife said he and girls head coach Spencer Sunbury came up with the idea to host a race at midnight, and the event draws a good crowd each summer.

“No. 1, it’s a good way for our community to run,” Fife said. “Spencer and I years ago were trying to think of ways to get our community more involved with running. At the time, I think, in Seymour, we only had the Oktoberfest 5K regularly. We wanted to do something a little different.

“Years ago, I ran a midnight 5K up at Purdue University. I thought it was really cool. The only reason why I ran it was because it was at midnight. We talked about it and decided to give it a try. Now, it’s our only fundraiser for cross-country.”

All of the money from the event goes back into the boys and girls cross-country teams at SHS. Fife said the team plans on buying a new tent this year and will use the money in various ways over the season.

The 13th annual race started and ended on the SHS campus, with runners finishing on the track at Bulleit Stadium.

Full results from the race can be found online at indianatiming.com.