Lake Monticello celebrates the Fourth with a Spirit Run, a Lake Swim, and golf

By Duncan Nixon

The annual 5k Spirit Run at Lake Monticello has traditionally been dominated on the male side by Matt Barresi. He is a marathon runner who ran in college at American University in Washington D.C. For him, three miles is sort of a walk in the park. Going into the 2024 run Barresi had won the race 19 times. Most years, Barresi has finished with no other runner in sight. This year, it was rumored that he might have some serious competition.

Barresi’s serious competition came from a high school runner. Running in the Spirit Run for the first time, Ethan Thorne, a rising junior, who will be running for Lord Botetourt High in the Roanoke area in the Fall, broke Barresi’s string of victories with a stellar run. Thorne said that for the past two years he has run for Covenant Hill High in the Midlothian area. His finish in the race was impressive as he won by a comfortable margin over Barresi, who was second.

Traditionally, the Spirit Run winner on the women’s side has been a different runner every year. That has now changed. The 2023 winner was Julie Patterson, who said then that although she lives in Richmond, her parents now live at Lake Monticello, so she expected to be a regular competitor. For the second year in a row, the women’s winner in 2024 was Patterson,  who ran for the University of Richmond. Patterson is a Tri-Athlon competitor so, she too, is not intimidated by five kilometers. Close behind Patterson was 13 year old Zia Fadil, she gave Patterson a strong challenge, which did not surprise, as Fadil was prominent in pre-race warm-ups.

The participation in the Spirit Run was comparable to the 2023 edition. Race organizer John Platt, who has performed that task for many years, said that 124 runners signed up in advance and a host of day of the race signees swelled the total of participants. Runners and walkers of all ages take on the approximately three mile course that runs mostly over the cart paths of the Lake Monticello golf course.

Another traditional Fourth of July event at Lake Monticello is the Lake Swim. This year, 115 swimmers signed up in advance, a comparable number to 2023. Same day registration was not allowed. For the second year in a row, the swim was held in the morning instead of mid-afternoon. It was still hot at the 10 a.m. start time, but an early start time appears to make more sense than a 3 p.m. start when it was swelteringly hot. The swim is an open water dash from Beach Three at Lake Monticello to the Main Beach (Beach 1). The winners this year were no surprise. First out of the water on the men’s side was Cooper Dillman of Richmond who won in 2023 as well. First on the women’s side was Carleigh Dillman, Cooper’s sister. The Dillman’s have been at the top of the Lake Swim for the past three years.

The golf course at Lake Monticello holds a youth putting contest on the 4th of July. This year the contest was held on the new practice facility directly behind the Bistro. Three age group competitions were held. In the 5-6 age group the top finishers were, Elliot Ferrell in first, Rylan Schmidt in second and Ethan Milas in third. In the 7-9 competition the winner was Cooper Frick, followed by Iver Horvath and Lucas Dunaway. For the 10-12 age group, it was Brandon Kalinosky first, Luke Ferrell, second and Jackson Ott third. All of these competitors were awarded medals. All competitors were given a souvenir golf ball.

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