Annual Reindeer Stampede 5K attracts 261 participants

MILFORD — This year marked the 19th year of the Reindeer Stampede 5K trail run/walk event at Milford Millponds Nature Preserve.

Put on by the Milford cross country team each year around Thanksgiving, the event has enjoyed quite a bit of success the past few years.

This year, however, turned out to be a record-breaking year. In addition to partnering up with TriSports Events to do chip-timing for the first time, the event saw a huge increase in participation from 2016 to 2017.

The morning of Saturday, Nov. 25, about 261 people gathered for the run/walk, setting the event’s participation record.

“It’s awesome, the community has been very supportive of this event every year. This is our 19th year and we’re still going strong,” event organizer and Milford High’s assistant cross country coach Lance Skinner said. “When we partnered up with TriSports Events, it helped increase the numbers significantly and also getting the word out through our sponsors helped as well.”

Bill Bullock, a Milford cross country runner in 1962, was the official starter for this year’s event.

Also in attendance: Czar Bloom, Joe McDonald and Chris Kenton.

Bloom coached the Milford cross country team from 1998-2013. He ran the 5K as well, finishing in 26:14.4.

McDonald was coach from 1984-94.

Kenton coached from 2000-01, and ran for the team from 1984-86.

“It’s good to see the alumni coming out to support this event, with all of our former coaches here today,” Skinner said.

Stephanie Arthurs, president of the Milford cross country boosters, organizes the event with Skinner each year.

“We just have a great group of people who come out and support us every year, and they’re bringing their friends and family and the event is just growing and growing. Our numbers are awesome compared to last year,” she said.

Sean Saxton, a graduate of Dover High and current cross country runner at Delaware Tech, placed first overall in the 5K run, finishing in 17:03.

Bethany Killmon finished the race in 20:14, placing first overall among females.

Saxton had run this course a few times before, while he was a runner at Dover.

“The course record is 16:46 from ’09, so I had that in the back of my mind,” Saxton said. “We came here my sophomore and senior year (at Dover) and I think this is one of the tougher cross country courses in the conference.”

Saturday marked Saxton’s first win at the Reindeer Stampede 5K, but it’s not the first time he’s participated in the race.

“Back in 2012, this was my second-ever 5K,” he said. “I ran like 21:34, I had no idea what I was doing. So this brings back memories of how I fell in love with the sport.”

Skinner and Arthurs hope this year’s record-breaking year leads to even more participation in years to come.

“It’s so neat, because as I was looking around, some of these kids aren’t from Milford,” Arthurs said. “Some are from Cape, some are from CR, so it’s just really nice to see people from different areas coming out to support us.”

For full results of this year’s race, check out trisportsevents.com.

“It’s a blessing to have something like this in central Delaware, because without it we’d have to go up north or far down south near the beach, so it’s nice to have something centrally located,” Saxton said.

Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.