Before Jour de Fete kicked off the weekend with opening ceremonies, several runners met race director Geri Flieg and a few volunteers at Pere Marquette Park for one of the biggest distance races in Ste. Genevieve.

About 50 runners started near the big pavilion and made their way through downtown Ste. Genevieve, and when it was all said and done, Taylor Werner and Josh Pinkley took home the women’s and men’s division titles respectively in the 37th annual Jour de Fete 5K run Saturday morning.

“The race went really well again,” Flieg said. “We had good, spirited runners. We were down a little bit from last year, but just a couple. The weather might have been another factor as always, but to me it was a beautiful day to run, so it was a good crowd.”

Werner, a multiple state champion and record holder from Ste. Genevieve High School, returned home before she went back to continue her athletic career at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. She claimed the women’s title and was the very first runner to finish the event with a time of 17:37.

“It’s glorious,” she said about the race. “I haven’t gotten to run the Jour de Fete because we weren’t allowed to in high school or anything. I got back from vacation a couple of days ago and they were like, ‘Jour de Fete is this weekend.’ I was like, ‘Perfect.’ Again, I heard it was today and I was like, ‘I have to go,’ because I used to work out in this park two to three times a week and nearly every week of every year. Just to be back, to see it and be by my coaches here it’s really nice. I’m just happy to be here.”

Pinkley won the men’s title in previous years, and he claimed the title again when he notched a time of 20:35.

See complete story in the August 14 edition of the Herald.