By Leigh Dannhauser
Tom Brickhouse saw the start of one of the earliest Lexington-Buena Vista 10K races when he was a student at Washington and Lee University.
Brickhouse, who graduated from W&L in 1969, saw a small group of faculty from the Virginia Military Institute and W&L running through Lexington.
“I thought, ‘That’s insane, I would never do that,’” said Brickhouse, now a professor of philosophy at Lynchburg College.
Saturday was the 53rd annual running of the 10,000-meter (6.2-mile) race, the longest continuously held road race in Virginia.
And this year, Brickhouse won the 60-to-69 age division with a time of 53:07. Brickhouse says he has run the race about 10 times since the late ’80s.
The Lexington-Buena Vista 10K has been organized by the Rockbridge Area Recreation Organization for the past 13 years, with sponsored help from Domino’s Pizza of Lexington.
Men, women and children from the Rockbridge area and beyond ran, walked or, in two cases, rolled down Route 60 eastward from the Rockbridge Regional Library in Lexington to the finish line across the street from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Buena Vista.
Three 12-year-olds were among the nearly 70 people who took to the course.
Mallory Keeley, Ben Sterling and John Gregg all finished around 50 minutes. Keeley led the way for the young group with a time of 47:43.
The race also attracted three runners older than 70. At 78, William Peel was the oldest. He placed second in the 70 and older age group.
“I plan on running until I’m 80, if I get there,” Peel said.
Tom Johnson, 71, of Roanoke, was not able to run the race after having his hip replaced in August. So he walked it. Johnson left the starting line early with two other walkers. One hour and 28 minutes later, he arrived in Buena Vista.
Cathy Driscoll, of Copper Hill, Va., was one of the two other walkers.
“I think [the race] is awesome,” Driscoll said afterward. “I had my hip fractured last year, and it’s really cool to be able to do it again.”
Joan Manley, 64, and Jesse Frederick, 44, used their motorized wheelchairs to complete the race.
On the men’s side, Peter deHart, 34, won the race in 36:32. Matthew Bond, 24, finished second, nearly three minutes later.
Noelle Quam, 25, finished first for the women in 46:57. Tricia Lillaheart, 44, finished less than a minute later to take second overall.
RARO Executive Director Bill Kramer says the race provides an outlet for area runners.
“We’ve got a really nice course, and we have so many repeat people coming back every year,” he said, “so it’s sort of a reunion every year.”