College runners top field at annual city 5K run

Two former college running standouts – both competing in Taylor for the first time – were the champions of the recently held Rollie Hopgood Midtown Taylor 5K Run.
Rondell Ruff, a former All-America and national indoor medley relay champion at the University of Michigan, was the overall winner at 15 minutes, 55 seconds in the event, which was held July 11 as part of with city’s annual summer celebration weekend. Andrea Karl, a former standout at the University of Detroit-Mercy, took the women’s title in 19:24.
Ruff, 26, set a pace of 5:08 per mile in a race that started in a heavy rain and ended in sunshine. The effort by the Ann Arbor resident was so impressive that he finished a minute and 19 seconds ahead of second-place John Webb, 15, of Newport.
A 2006 U of M graduate, Ruff said he not only wanted to win in Taylor, he wanted to use the race to “gear up for a tough four-miler in New York” the following week.
Karl, a 24-year-old resident of Casco, near Port Huron, competed as a member of the Allen Park-based Front Line running club. She finished 37 seconds ahead of the second-fastest woman, 2008 winner Emily Masters of Dearborn, and was 17th overall.
Karl, a special education teacher in Yale, is a former Horizon League champion in the indoor mile. She said she was seeking “a good 5K” to prepare for the Great Lakes Relay – and the Taylor 5K fit the bill.
The Hopgood Run drew 338 registered runners – and there could have been even more if not for the weather, according to Race Director Greg Everal of Taylor. The 5K, a children’s race and a “fun run” all started late because of rain.
“The typhoon came through and delayed the start of all three races,” said Everal, who lives in Taylor. “I believe we would have had a record crowd today, but the typhoon caused some runners to stay home.”
The event is held annually during the Taylor Summertime Fun Festival. Runners – and walkers – start on Pardee Road in front of the Taylor Community Library, travel north to Goddard Road, turn east to a side street and then head into Heritage Park. The race concludes around Coan Lake.
Rounding out the top 10 overall males were Webb; Edward Traynor, 28, of Taylor – the fastest Downriver runner (17:22); Nick Albertson, 17, of Brownstown Township (17:56); James Abrams, 18, of Monroe (17:33); Alex Salinas, 20, of Dearborn (17:57); Greg Haapala, 24, of Farmington Hills (18:05); Michael Selke, 39, of Westland (18:26); Ethan McBee, 17, of Monroe (18:42); and Todd Kelly, 48, of Troy (18:44).
Webb moved up from ninth place in 2008 to second place this year. Traynor moved up from seventh a year ago to third in 2009.
Finishing behind Karl and Masters among the females were Elizabeth Webster, 25, of Dearborn (20:01); Winonah Krug, 17, of Monroe (20:32); Tara Haddad, 30, of Dearborn (21:54); Rachel Broser-Scoles, 32, of Sterling Heights (22:22); Sara Gdowski, 23, of Wyandotte – the fastest Downriver female runner in the race (22:26); Kelsey Bartoloni, 19, of Southgate (22:33); Becky Moore, 17, of Allen Park (22:49); and Nancy Cassel, 59, of Northville (23:09).
It was the second straight fourth-place finish for Krug. Nicole Ozimek, 35, was the fastest female runner from Taylor (23:44).
Kelly and Cassel won the overall male and female masters titles, respectively. The overall grand masters winners were John Tarkowski, 56, of Northville (18:59) and Beverly Booth, 50, of Carleton (25:30). Taking the senior grand masters titles were Jim O’Callaghan, 60, of Woodhaven (21:24) and Margaret Stewart, 61, of Collierville, Tennessee (30:14).
For the second straight year, the race recognized the fastest walkers of the 5K course. David Sibrel, 53, of Grosse Ile, was the overall male winner in 25:56. Brittany Best, 16, of Allen Park, was the overall female winner in 38:11.
The overall masters winners were Heather Derringer of Allen Park (38:18) and Howard Klix of Dearborn Heights (41:05).
The race is named for the late Rollie Hopgood, a lifelong Taylor resident, former Taylor councilman, teacher and union leader who founded the event as a member of the Downriver Runners. Hopgood, 62, died suddenly in 2002 while vacationing in Hawaii.
A large share of the proceeds benefits the Rollie Hopgood MFT & SRP Scholarship.
Midtown Taylor – Goddard Road between Telegraph and Allen roads – also sponsors the race to bring attention to the expanding residential and business district.
For more photos from the Rollie Hopgood Midtown Taylor 5K, coming soon, check out the photo galleries on the city of Taylor Web site, For complete results go to