Winning the Inaugural Phelan Healthy 5k race with a time of 18 minutes and 50 seconds, Gauge Thompson of Serrano High School outpaced the field to establish a course record that will be hard to beat. Sunshine Plaza rose early for the occasion with the Phelan Healthy 5k on Saturday, September 9, 2023, with an early morning road race around Southeast Phelan ending at the Anytime Fitness on Phelan Road.
Gauge won with a winning time (18.50 minutes) that bested the competition by at least 4 minutes, with Second Place going to Joshua Najera with a time of 23.50 minutes. Oscar Hernandez came in Third Place with 24.37 minutes. The inaugural event also included a 911 Memorial Stair Climb on a “Jacob’s Ladder” type exercise machine inside the Anytime Fitness gym, with donations going to Phelan’s First Responders in honor of our 9/11 heroes.
Henry Phan, an incredibly involved 5k race promoter and creator of The Healthy High Desert Initiative, was happy with the excitement the crowd and volunteers showed so early in the morning. “This is what the 5k is all about, people getting up and out early in the morning,” Henry said. The early morning sun sprayed across several dozen runners, officials, vendors, and information booths setting up for the 3.1-mile race staging in front of Anytime Fitness in Phelan. San Bernardino Sherriff Volunteer Search and Rescue was already in place, with their bright safety orange shirts supplying traffic control and parking guidance to an ever-increasing crowd of viewers, well-wishers, and participants.
After a short walk East to the Starting Line on Phelan Road at Phelan Elementary School, the race was off to an exciting 8:00 a.m. start. The mixed group of runners and walkers colorfully thinned out, heading East toward Johnson Road and the first of seven Cub Scout Troop 351 staffed water stations. The athletes proceeded South to the next right turn on Nielson Road, where the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9415 and another Troop 351 water station must have been a welcome sight.
The runners now faced the long straightaway on Nielson Road Westbound towards Sheep Creek Road. With the group spread out thoroughly along the route, the winners would clearly dominate the field down the backstretch on Phelan Road towards Sunshine Plaza and the balloon-arched finish line. Gauge Thompson of Serrano High School Cross Country blazed the trail for the pack, passing through the Boy Scout Troop 351 hand-filled balloon arch with an inaugural winning time of 18 minutes, 50 seconds.
The Tri-Community Kiwanis Opportunity Draw is always one of the highlights of any Wrightwood, Pinon Hills, or Phelan function. The colorful hand-made gift baskets displayed alongside the 5k Trophy and Medal presentation were a visual treat for the Phelan Healthy 5k Race fans. Once again, the Kiwanis staff members went out of their way to present a safe and entertaining community-energized event.
Connecting the community throughout the year with special engagements like “Quartermania,” and a “Derby Days Horse Derby,” the Tri-Community can count on another fun-filled Kiwanis event in the High Desert. Tri-Community Kiwanis President Carol Smith will be turning her successful leadership role over to new Kiwanis President Lety Corrales, who were both tending to the very active Kiwanis booth with their terrific volunteers.
The promoters would like to thank all the volunteers, vendors, sponsors, and organizations that helped to make this event a success. The Healthy High Desert Initiative is a community health organization that promotes healthy lifestyle choices and strives to improve healthcare in the High Desert Community. Visit them on Instagram @healthyhighdesert.org