Archive for Thursday, May 26, 2011

5K run returning to Basehor Dairy Days, thanks to area runner

A sign in front of Basehor City Hall heralds the coming of the 2011 Basehor Dairy Days festival, which will take place June 3 and 4.

A sign in front of Basehor City Hall heralds the coming of the 2011 Basehor Dairy Days festival, which will take place June 3 and 4.

May 26, 2011

Basehor Dairy Days 5K

• Saturday, June 4; registration at 6:45 a.m., warm-up and stretch at 7, race at 7:30

• Starts and finishes in Basehor-Linwood High School parking lot

• Registration by June 2 is $20 per person or $45 for a family or group; after June 2, it's $25/person or $50/group

• Registration forms available at Basehor City Hall, Basehor Community Library or

• Online registration available at

Coming next week

Pick up next week's Sentinel, and check, for more coverage of the upcoming Basehor Dairy Days festival, scheduled for Saturday, June 4, after a kick-off picnic and concert June 3. Read about this year's musical acts, new attractions and the developing tradition of the festival as it enters its sixth year.

Elizabeth Novo-Gradac couldn't sleep the night before the Basehor Dairy Days 5K run five years ago.

She and several friends had signed up to participate, but she'd never run that far in her life.

“We were so nervous, a bunch of us,” Novo-Gradac said, “thinking, 'How are we going to run 3 miles?'”

But she made it to the end of the race, a feat that inspired her to call her father in tears to tell him she'd done it.

Now, just a few weeks after completing her first marathon, Novo-Gradac is coming full-circle. As the director of the 2011 Dairy Days 5K, she is reviving the race that served as her introduction to long-distance running years ago.

The race was not a part of the Dairy Days festivities the past two years because no one was available to organize it, said Lila White, head of the festival's organizing committee.

“That's been a rough one, because the committee itself can't run the festival and the 5K run,” White said.

Now it's back, thanks to a thought Novo-Gradac had earlier this year.

“Just a few months ago, I thought, you know, a 5K in a little community like Basehor is a great thing,” Novo-Gradac, a Basehor resident, said. “How come we haven't had that in a few years?”

She asked that question to the Dairy Days organizers, and they told her it was because they had no one to put it together. So she decided to step up and do it herself.

As it did in its former incarnation, the run will serve as a fundraiser for the festival, which needs as much support as it can get to keep admission free and the prices of its attractions low, White said.

“One of our main goals for the festival is an affordable day of fun for the whole family,” White said.

The run will take place early on the morning of the festival, Saturday, June, 4, starting and finishing in the Basehor-Linwood High School parking lot. Registration will open at 6:45 a.m., followed by a warm-up and stretch session at 7 and the race at 7:30.

Participants can find registration forms at Basehor City Hall, Basehor Community Library or They can also register online at

If participants register by Thursday, June 2, the cost is $20 per person or $45 for a family or group of friends. After June 2, including on the morning of the race, the cost will increase to $25 per person or $50 per group.

Novo-Gradac said she may be able to help out anyone who can't afford the entry fee, though.

“I don't want anybody to not show up because of money,” she said.

Helping in Novo-Gradac's effort to encourage people to join in the run has been her friend Jen Penegar, who conducts fitness classes at Sarah's Studio of Dance in Basehor. About 40 people attended a six-week workout program run by Penegar to help prepare for the race.

One of those participants was Toni Howard, a para at Glenwood Ridge Elementary, who attended with her husband, Basehor-Linwood superintendent David Howard. She said that when Novo-Gradac asked her about running in the 5K, her response was “No way!” But after completing the workout program, she said, she's looking forward to running in the race with her two children.

“Sometimes I just need a little push to get me out of my comfort zone, and to my surprise, it has been a lot of fun,” Howard said.

Novo-Gradac said the race would have a sophisticated timing system set up for serious runners, but it would also welcome beginners, walkers, strollers or pets. She said no one should fear entering the event — after all, she had never run a race before entering the event five years ago, and now she has finished a marathon.

“Anybody can do this,” Novo-Gradac said. “It can be the start.”

This story has been corrected to reflect that the name of the participant mentioned is Toni Howard.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.