KUNA — Oct. 8 delivered a crisp, if not downright chilly, morning for the Kuna Cross-County “Everybody Run” race, where cross-country moms, dads, grandparents, brothers, sisters, a school board member and some masters runners gathered to support the team with all funds from the race donated to Kuna High School.
The course winds through the Cloverdale Turf Farm, taking runners over variable terrain including a small orchard, muddy roads, irrigation ditches, piping and, of course, miles of sod. Coach Chuck Tookey and coach Josh Noteboom spent hours the day before the race setting up 800 landscaping flags to mark the course, as well as spraying lines to mark the one, two and three-mile marks.
Nationally-ranked masters runner Sid Sullivan took first place with a time of 19:27. Sullivan enjoyed racing on the sod course
“This is a national caliber cross-country course," Sullivan said "Great race. I loved how (the coaches) set it up.”
Second and third place finishers were cousins Christian Thieme and Hayden Thieme, supporting Kuna cross-country runner Savannah Dotson. Perhaps the best surprise of the day was when sixth-grader Wil Kingsbury, who was supporting his three siblings on the high school team, came in fifth overall with a time of 21:15. It was his first 5K race ever. He went on later in the day to score three touchdowns in his club football game, his sport of choice, but the pressure is on for him to switch sports when he reaches high school. Wil couldn’t understand why he couldn’t walk the next morning, but his big sister helped him roll out his muscles to release the tightness, a method of self-massage that can be performed with a foam roller, rolling pin, or tennis ball to help restore muscle elasticity.
Jeff Wixom, who donated his computer graphic design skills to complete the “Everybody Run” logo for the race, finished eighth, with a time of 21:39, while former crosscountry athlete Abby Dotson, who design-sketched the logo and was back from college to run the race, came in 12th place overall. Abby Dotson was not quite fast enough to beat her 51-year-old uncle, Dr. Dan Thieme of Meridian Family Eyecare, who took 11th. School board chairman Carl Ericson came out to support the team and ran an impressive 26:45, while Savannah Dotson’s grandfather, Bill Thieme, made a great showing for the senior citizens, with an amazing time of 35:33 for an 82-year-old. Natalie Hessing, 28, was the first place women’s finisher, with a time of 21:16.
Cross-country moms Joella Kingsbury, Jennifer Erickson, Athlyn Kellogg, Lisa Dowdle, Janis Dotson, and Emily Richards all ran the race and thought it was a great way to start off the day. It’s difficult for parents to appreciate how hard the cross-country kids run without doing it themselves, and this race provided the perfect opportunity for families to get out and run, with the cross-country team, bundled up in coats and blankets and providing course directional and motivational support throughout the race.
The citizen’s race was followed by the Gib Floyd Invitational, with 12 teams competing. Gib Floyd was the first cross-country coach at Kuna. Floyd set up the initial cross-country team during the time period when cross-country was first recognized as a sanctioned high school sport in 1977. He coached cross-country until the late 1980s, with his women’s varsity team winning a state team title.
Rocky Mountain High School won the men’s varsity race, with Kuna placing fourth. The Kuna women’s varsity also placed fourth, with Eagle High School, Rocky Mountain High School and Melba High School ahead of them. In the men’s race, Jackson Bunnell took 11th place, with a 17:15, with Bryce Hill running an 17:48, for 18th place. A total of 85 men’s varsity runners competed. On the women’s side, Madison Kingsbury of Kuna took 18th place with a 20:48, while Mekenna Manzer—of the great Manzer family runners who used to compete for Kuna before moving to Melba—took 20th with a 21:11.
The cross-country team would like to thank all of the race sponsors. Dr. Kyle Burtenshaw and his Pioneer Sports & Pain Center staff came out to the race site and provided medical attention to athletes for all of the races. Idahosports.com, a Kuna-based business, provided free water bottles and grapes for the runners. Franz Bakeries provided bread and donuts for the concessions, and Albertsons of Kuna donated cheese and butter. Shu’s Idaho Running Co., Advanced Family Medicine, The National Guard, ClarifEye Family Eyecare and Avalon Family Dentistry were also sponsors for the event.
The community support helps shape the futures of these high school athletes. Lessons that high school athletes learn carry over to college and careers include the “Three Ps:" persistence, patience and practice. High school athletes also learn how individuals contribute to a common goal as a member of team, which is an important skill when they eventually become the community leaders of tomorrow.