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Reagan Run: Dixon's Schwarz wins female division

Published: Sunday, July 6, 2014 11:08 p.m. CST • Updated: Sunday, July 6, 2014 11:12 p.m. CST
(Alex T. Paschal/
Dixon's Brittany Schwarz cross the finish line at the Reagan Run 5K on Saturday in Dixon. Schwarz, who goes to college at the University of Illinois-Chicago, was the first female to cross the finish line.
(Alex T. Paschal/
1500 runners make their way north on Hennepin Avenue Saturday morning during the Reagan Run 5K in Dixon.

DIXON – Wearing a green top and bright yellow shorts, Dixon resident Brittany Schwarz was the first female to cross the finish line during Saturday's Reagan Run 5K.

Schwarz, who ran in the last five Reagan Runs, received her prize at the end of the event and stood with a group of friends and talked about the race.

"For me, running under 20 minutes was huge," she said.

She unwrapped the small trophy, and turned it over in her hands and smiled. The 18-year-old from Dixon placed 41st overall in the Reagan Run 5K with a new personal-best time of 19 minutes, good enough to win the female division for the first time.

"It feels pretty great," Schwarz said. "Winning this is something I've been wanting do for some time now."

Schwarz placed third in last year's run and shaved more than 1 minute off her time this year to win by 15 seconds, edging Dixon's Haley Thorpe, who finished in 19:15. Schwarz is continuing to improve her endurance since high school, and runs cross country at the University of Illinois-Chicago, where she will be a sophomore in the fall.

Her new best time is a testament to her strict training regime as she has been training to get in shape for her upcoming collegiate season. She was encouraged by her new best time on the tough course, and hopes it can carry over into the fall.

"It was beautiful out this morning, not too hot or sunny," Schwarz said, who ran in last year's steamy weather. "It was just a good time. It's always a challenge, and it felt great pulling ahead and being able to finish it out."

Schwarz received a large applause as the race announcer cheered her on, as the first female finisher during the final straight-away.

The finish line, marked by a large purple arch, was crowded with friends and family members of the runners, cheering on the competitors. Dixon's Dave and Sarah Habben drew a large applause from nearly everyone, as the two stood out with an unusual clothing choice.

The two were married July 5, 11 years ago, and to celebrate their anniversary, the couple woke up Saturday morning and put on the same clothes they wore that day.

Dave ran the race in his tuxedo top and shorts with a white flower pinned on the left side of his jacket. His wife Sarah, ran the 3.2 miles in the same wedding dress she was married in 11 years ago.

"People were calling out to us during the run," Dave said. "They thought we got married this morning, so it was a fun time."

Sarah finished in 33:32, while Dave crossed the line in 33:34. The best-dressed couple finished in style, and decided it would be a fun way to celebrate their anniversary by wearing their wedding attire.

The two figured they would get another use out of the clothes that hadn't been worn in 11 years, and weren't worried about dirtying their clothes.

"It's fine if it got dirty or sweaty. It was definitely warm in this dress," said Sarah, standing in her all-white dress. "I was a little worried about tripping on the dress during the part of the race with woodchips, but it turned out to be just fine."

Top 5 women

1. Brittany Schwarz, Dixon 19:00

2. Haley Thorpe, Dixon 19:15

3. Karla Mendoza, Macomb 19:35

4. Anna Nielson, Rockford 19:42

5. Kayla Roth, Dixon 20:14

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