DIXON – Well after the race had ended, when everything was being taken down and everyone was leaving, Kelsey Hildreth emerged from a white van loaded with video and race equipment.
After a video review in the van, the 17-year-old from Byron, whose timing chip failed, was rightfully declared the female winner of Saturday’s Reagan Run 5K.
That was long after Kimberly Brown of Oregon was announced as the female winner and had left with the winning trophy. Hildreth will be mailed a trophy.
Hildreth’s winning time was 18 minutes, 57 seconds. That’s a time drop of more than 3 minutes from her Reagan Run debut last year, when she had a time of 22:15 in extreme heat and humidity.
“I was mostly doing this race for fun, getting ready for cross country season,” said Hildreth, who became a runner only a year ago. “I had no idea I could win. In the last stretch coming over the bridge, I didn’t see any girls in front of me. That was pretty exciting, and people were cheering, ‘First girl.’”
Hildreth was a state qualifier in her first cross country and track seasons this past school year. She’ll be a senior at Byron High School.
Brown was unaware that Hildreth had finished 25 seconds ahead of her, but was happy with her result – a time of 19:22.
“I used to run a lot faster in high school, but for my age I’m completely satisfied,” said the 25-year-old Brown, who starred at Oregon High School before going on to run at Iowa State University. “To come home and do this well feels pretty good.”
Brittany Schwarz, 17, finished third in 20:20; Clara Thorpe, 15, was fourth at 20:35 and Amie Wiseman, 34, took fifth at 20:39. All three are from Dixon.
Jessica Langford of Rockford, who had won the female race four straight times, did not compete.