September 28, 2011 Edition

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5K raises over $2,000 for
NEA Humane Society

Sully Bigger, 17-year-old son of Jim and Dana Bigger of Walnut Ridge, crosses the finish line first as overall winner in Saturday's Cavenaugh Thumperthon 5K held in Walnut Ridge.
TD Photo ~ John Bland

The Cavenaugh Thumperthon 5K not only raised over $2,000 for the Northeast Arkansas Humane Society, but it also was another event to help bring people to Lawrence County.

The 5K, held in and near Walnut Ridge's Stewart Park, honored Donald Cavenaugh of Walnut Ridge for his 60th birthday. Cavenaugh, an area car dealer, is an avid runner, and his former running partner was Thumper, the family dog.

Cavenaugh turned 60 earlier this month, and his family could think of no better way to say happy birthday. "We kept it a secret as long as we could," said Donald's wife, Fran.

Many of the Cavenaugh family members were present for the race to assist and run in the event. "It meant a lot to him that his family thought enough of him and Thumper to put this race on," Fran said.

Donald and his twin brother, Ronald, a Walnut Ridge farmer, were both honored Saturday night with a birthday party, she added.

Some 100 runners and walkers had preregistered for the race, and another 55 registered on the day of the race, she said. Approximately 50 dogs were also present for the event.

"We were quite pleased with it," said Fran. "It was wonderful. For us, the biggest measure of success was the comments from all the participants," said Fran. "We've had nothing but compliments."

She said that having events such as the 5K and Sept. 18 Beatles at the Ridge event help bring people to this area. Organizers plan to make the 5K an annual event, she added.

"I can't say enough to thank the volunteers and sponsors who made the race possible," she said.

One of Donald's sons, Matt Cavenaugh of New York City, greeted runners and walkers before the start of the 5K. Walnut Ridge Mayor Don House also welcomed the runners, and Trey Stafford of The Fox 104.9 FM, broadcast live from the event.

The top five male and female runners in the event are listed below.

Overall male top finishers

Sully Bigger, age 17, 18:04, Walnut Ridge.

Joseph Pearce, age 36, 18:24, Jonesboro.

Jeff Chastain, age 32, 20:14, Jonesboro.

Donny Cavenaugh, age 26, 20:48, Jonesboro.

Barrett Burns, age 43, 21:15, Jonesboro.

Overall female top finishers

Katelin Cavenaugh, age 21, 23:28, Walnut Ridge.

Sara Davis, age 27, 24:13, Jonesboro.

Elizabeth Collins, age 28, 24:19, Walnut Ridge.

Rachelle Davis, age 32, 24:45, Jonesboro.

Kristin Jamby, age 25, 25:09, Melbourne.

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