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ARCOLA — Repeat winners finished the 40th annual Arcola Broom Corn Festival race Saturday as Nicholas Heller, a 2009 graduate of Mattoon, now living in Urbana, won his third straight men's 10K (6.2 miles) title, and Arcola native Tony Manna, now living in Zionsville, Ind., won his fourth consecutive men's 5K (3.1 miles) title, his seventh title in the last 10 years. Heller's time was exactly the same as last year's, 35:28.6, while Manna's was 18:05.0.

On the women's side, it was two new winners as Mount Zion's Lynn Merli won the 10K with a time of 49:35.2, becoming the 26th different person to win the event. In the 5K Brittany Arthur, a 2008 Arcola grad and former Eastern Illinois University runner (2012 grad) won with a time of 19:34.1. Arthur now lives in O'Fallon, and she became the 20th different person to win in the 31st year of the 5K. 

Manna beat Arcola's Ben Crane by 30.8 seconds, while Arthur beat last year's winner Shannon Jones of Paris by two seconds. In the 10K Heller won by 3:12.6 over Chicago's Chris Toepfer, while Merli won by 3:44.1 over Champaign's Dana Jones.

A total of 360 registered, and of those, 51 signed up for the 10k, 221 were in the 5k category and 88 were walkers.

Each participant received a choice of a 40th annual Arcola Broom Corn Festival cooler or backpack. Overall winners received a plaque and broom while the top three in each age division received a broom. In addition, there were two $200 drawings for gift certificates to Body N' Sole in Champaign.

Heller repeats in Rat Race 10K

ARTHUR — Sept. 2 Heller won his third-straight Arthur Rat Race 10K with a time of 36:03.03, which was 42.99 seconds faster than his time last year. Heller won the 14th annual race by 7:13.28 over second place Justin Blue. The race was part of the 44th annual Arthur Cheese Festival. 

In the 5K Tuscola's Dawson Dodds repeated as the champion, winning with a time of 18:39.96, which was 29.91 seconds faster than second place DJ BJ Clark.

The overall winner in the women's 5K was Mount Zion's Kelly Fox with a time of 19:13.48, which was 3:55.40 faster than second place Ashleigh Anderson. In the 10K was Crystal Juergens with a time of 46:16.01, whose time was 2:04.69 faster than second place Beth Bennett.

The seventh annual 5K Pat Wood Memorial Recreational Walk also took place with 38 participants. A total of 126 finished the 5K, while 47 in the 10K for a total of 211.

Cash prizes and trophies to the top male and female finishers in the 5K and 10K runs, as well as medals to the top three in each age division, were awarded.


Sports writer

Mike Monahan covers area sports for the JG-TC.

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