by Max Foster
roundup staff reporter
Without the torrential downpours that dampened some previous Monsoon runs, this year's edition of the annual 5K event turned into a tame endeavor for more than 60 entrants.
Over the 3.1-mile course that wound around Green Valley Park and onto Country Club Drive, many of the participants opted to leisurely walk the course and enjoy the warm Friday evening.
Others, like David Hellwies and Whitney Hardt, chose to use the event as a test of their conditioning and endurance.
Hellwies, who was competing in the 30- to 39-year men's age bracket, captured the overall championship, turning in a clocking of 18:06.
His closest competitor, Mike Behrens, finished in 19:17. Behrens was entered in the 40- 49-year age division.
In the women's division, Payson High sophomore Whitney Hardt (13 to 19 years) captured the title in 20:41. The Monsoon turned into a family affair when Whitney's greatest competition came from younger sister Kari.
The diminutive Kari, an eighth-grader at Rim Country Middle School, was timed in 21:13.
Both Hardt siblings are members of their cross country teams.
Some of the more impressive clockings at the Monsoon were recorded by seniors.
In the 70-years-and-over division, National Senior Olympics 10K champion Tom Cooka won the title in 23:13.
Frederick Griffin turned in a 25:12 effort to win the 60- to 69-year crown.