By LARRY VAUGHT
It was really entertaining to see some of the banter and the participants in the UK Virtual 5K the last few days.
The UK 5K has really been popular the last few years because it gave participants a chance to run through and around Kentucky sports facilities on campus. Obviously that was not possible this year so UK got creative with its virtual race and assigned runners to teams led by UK coaches.
The first trash talking for the event came from women’s assistant basketball coach Amber Smith — who was always a bit feisty as a player, too. Baseball coach Nick Mingione had a little trash talking fun too.
Several Kentucky athletes competed, too, just like fans and seem to have had just as much fun.
Kentucky volleyball standout Alli Stumler noted on Twitter Sunday it was “always a great day when you get to run a 5K” after posting on Saturday she was “pumped” to be part of UK assistant football coach Jon Sumrall’s team.
I guessed on Twitter that Stumler probably finished the 3.1 miles in 19 1/2 minutes. That would be a little under a 6:30 per mile pace. She tweeted back it was more like 18 minutes and a 6-minute pace. Needless to say, I was impressed but not stunned considering what a terrific athlete she is.
However, she then confessed it was not 18 minutes but had a good reason for perhaps running a little slower than what I might have anticipated.
“It wasn’t actually 18 minutes. Mom and I just took it slow,” Stumler said.
Even better. What a terrific idea to run the Virtual 5K with her mother.
I also noticed that UK softball player Autumn Humes — who says she is now a second-year senior because of the NCAA waiver due to COVID-19 — ran on Mingione’s team.
“Thanks for letting me rep UK baseball for the morning!Sorry @UKCoachLawson,” Lawson posted on Twitter along with her time of 30 minutes, 4 seconds — a more than respectable 9:41 pace for the pitcher.
It was also pretty cool seeing all the social media posts from fans of all ages who competed in this event. Job well done UK. Lawson was one of those who congratulated a lot of fans who were on our team, including a 69-year-old man who was under 24 minutes for the 3.1 miles. If you are not impressed by that time, you should be.