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Churchill, Decker rule the pavement at Corner Brook's Downtown Dash

Lee Churchill makes his way along West Street en route to another win at the Corner Brook BMO Downtown Dash Thursday in Corner Brook.
Lee Churchill makes his way along West Street en route to another win at the Corner Brook BMO Downtown Dash Thursday in Corner Brook.

Sophie Willis looked up with her blue eyes sparkling as she hugged her mom after crossing the finish line.

The seven-year-old daughter of Chad and Amanda Willis had just completed her first five-kilometre run at the 2017 Corner Brook BMO Downtown Dash Thursday night on West Street.

“I think she beat my time from last year,” Amanda Willis said after the race.

Amanda Willis didn’t compete in the Dash this year because she wanted to accompany Sophie in her big race. Sophie had competed in the children’s race last year and felt she was ready to give the big race a whirl.

She was pretty quiet nestled into her mom’s arms after the race, but she opened up when she was asked if there was anything her mom could get her now that the race was over.

“An ice cream,” she said, as she turned back to her mom.

Amanda Willis had no qualms about making sure her daughter got a treat for a job well done, and she was happy to have her other daughter, eight-year-old Eva, run the race with her dad.

“She loves to run, so I’m really happy. She did so good,” the proud mom said.

Heidi Perry, a Steady Brook native, could probably relate to what Sophie was going through, because she was once a youngster lining up on the start line.

Perry is all grown up now and an elite athlete in a number of sports, and she has been a fixture at the Downtown Dash since she was a youngster.

“It was really nice. The atmosphere is really positive with everybody cheering you on,” Perry said.

Perry says the race course is ideal for getting newbies into a comfort zone in the running game.

“It’s a nice course. It’s relatively flat and then coming down to the finish it’s a downhill, so that’s good,” she said.

Lee Churchill, to nobody’s surprise, won the men’s race with an impressive time of 17:13.3, and Roslyn Decker, one of the top female runners on the west coast, won the women’s race with a final clocking of 19:47.8, which was good enough for eighth overall.

Rounding out the Top 3 on the men’s side were Aubrey Sanders (18:30.5) and Joe Barry (18:40.8). Megan Smith (20:16.8) was second among the women, with Perry (21:04.4) placing third.

Amanda Willis accompanies her daughter, Sophie, along the race course at the 2017 Corner Brook BMO Downtown Dash Thursday night on West Street. It was the first five-kilometre race for the youngster. Her dad ran the race alongside of her sister, Ava, to make it a family affair.
Heidi Perry of Steady Brook (Bib No. 2200), a regular participant at the Corner Brook BMO Downtown Dash, makes her way along the race route under sunny skies Thursday in Corner Brook.
A total of 250 runners, male and female of all levels, are seen here at the start line at the 2017 Corner Brook BMO Downtown Dash Thursday in Corner Brook. Lee Churchill and Roslyn Decker, two of the city’s elite runners, won bragging rights in their respective races.

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