COLUMBIA — At his second 5K race, 12-year-old Justin Fuchswas not scared as he approached the starting line.
"It gave me a chance to get ready," Fuchs said.
The annual St. Patrick's Day 5K run, at 8 a.m. Saturday, started and ended at Sixth Street and Ash Street and 652 runners participated.
Justin's family drove to Columbia from their hometown of Sullivan on Friday night.
"He could have run any race he wanted, but he wanted to run this one," his mother, Colleen Fuchs, said. "He just started running last year and joined the Cross Country team in the fall. Let's hope he sticks with it."
Justin's parents, Mark and Colleen, cheered as their son ran past them near the start of the race.
Justin didn't run with his peers, who were invited to run the "Mayor's Mile," in which everyone got a ribbon. But while he didn't win the race, he seemed content with his 26:49 finish.
"I only walked once," he said.
As the Mayor's Mile was gearing up, Justin waited for the 5K awards ceremony by playing games on his father's cell phone.
As Justin approached his parents after the race, he wasted no time before he peeled off his gray stocking cap and green fleece.
The winning runner, Kevin Stone, ran a 16:17. The female winner, Katie Hauser, finished in 18:18.
Setup for race central, which was located at Boone County Courthouse Square, began at 5 a.m. Saturday. As is customary with 5K runs, participants were offered water, bananas and apples as they made their way to the Boone County Government Center for the awards ceremony.