Festival of Flowers 5K

Runners take off for Saturday morning’s Festival of Flowers 5K.

After wrapping up his track and field career at the University of South Carolina in May, Carson Strom returned to Greenwood for Saturday morning’s Festival of Flowers 5K.

Strom, who won last year’s race, turned in another first-place finish at Lander’s Jeff May Complex.

“I’ve run this race a couple of years now,” said Strom, a graduate of Greenwood High School. “It’s always been a fun experience to come back home. I know the race director and a lot of the people that help out. It’s just fun to come back home, run, and do well.”

Strom was one of many runners who lined up on the soccer field at the complex for the Festival of Flowers 5K race and Fun Run and Walk.

Joining him in the top five was Anna Kathryn Stoddard, another track and field runner at the University of South Carolina who just completed her junior season. She finished in fifth place and was the first woman to complete the 5K race.

“It felt pretty good,” said Stoddard, another graduate of Greenwood High School. “I was having a little bit of a tough time in the middle of the race, so it felt good to be the first one to cross the line and push through that.”

Foggy skies created humid conditions for the runners.

“It was a little humid, which makes it tougher to breathe, I think,” Stoddard said. “But overall, it was good to not have the sun beaming down on me. It’s always fun to come back home. It’s fun to do this race and see everyone I used to run with in high school.”

Greenwood resident Nolan Capps said he wasn’t bothered by the humid conditions. He recently began a landscaping job and said that helped him push through the race.

“(The weather) actually seemed kind of perfect to me,” Capps said. “The rain held off, so I thought it was perfect.”

Capps finished in third place behind Strom and Greenwood resident Dylan Scott. He ran track and field at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina, and graduated in May. He wants to use this race as a way to motivate himself to keep running in the future.

“I haven’t really been running since then, so this is kind of an opportunity to get back into competition,” Capps said. “Got to run with some fast guys on a good course. Great weather for running, so I really, really enjoyed it. Those were some fast runners, man. I was just trying to keep up.”