When a 17-year-old high school senior was the first to cross the finish line in this year's Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, he was soon followed by his parents, a sister — and his cancer-surviving 73-year-old grandmother.
Conner Masteran, a North Carroll High School senior who plays soccer and runs track, did the 5K course in just under 18 minutes, and said he was running for his grandmother, a two-time breast cancer survivor.
"She a fighter, and she's so sweet," he said minutes after the finish of Sunday's race that attracted thousands of runners, walkers, volunteers and visitors to Hunt Valley.
His grandmother, Ann Jewer, 73, who lives in Hanover, completed the course a while later and said, "I am so proud of Conner. He is such a good kid."
She also said she was also proud of raising $1,501 through her sponsors, friends, neighbors and past co-workers.
"It was a tough race. I forgot about those two hills. I ran at my pace," said Jewer, who was attired in a bright pink running suit. She ran her fingers through her hair and said, "I did lose my hair twice and was bald, but I am here today to celebrate survival."
She said this was her 13th Komen race.
She was surrounded by her grandson, granddaughter, Kyleigh, also a North Carroll student, her son and daughter-in-law, Tony and Jen Masteran, all of whom competed in the race. The Masteran family members, who reside in Hampstead, have run the Komen race for many years as well.
Stephanie Krasnoff, the race's communications manager, said the running and walking portion of the event drew nearly 15,000 participants and raised $1.03 million. Many of the race volunteers arrived at parking lots in Hunt Valley about 4:30 a.m. Sunday.
Also finishing early in the morning was Jacob Mader, a 15-year-old Towson High School student who runs cross country.
"I just thought it would be fun," said Jacob, who lives in Towson.
Lee Harget, Jacob's step-father who accompanied him to the race, looked around at the crowd, nearly all of whom arrived before dawn, and said, "The mood is electric. There's a ton of energy here from all the volunteers, the runners and the race organizers. All ages are really into the day."
Genny Resch, of Finksburg, walked the course and was part of a team, called Jogging for Jude, that raised $18,005 for the cause.
"It was a great day," she said. "The event is well organized. ... I might have tried running, but I also did the leukemia and lymphoma Light the Night event yesterday at Oriole Park."
Zora Edmonds, a Forest Park-area resident, was one of the thousands of cancer survivors at the event. A retired Rosewood Hospital worker, she distributed race souvenirs to runners and walkers at the survivors' tent. "I had a beautiful recovery from my cancer 14 years ago. I was truly blessed," said Edmonds.
Her sister, Ella Wells, of Glen Burnie, who also volunteered at the tent, said, "The survivors are so full of joy and life. It's a beautiful thing to see how they deal with it and how their families come together with them."
Said race volunteer Connie Miller, of Jarrettsville: "The best part of the race is its ability to draw families together for the survivors. It brings tears to my eyes to see spouses, children, aunts, uncles and cousins turn out."
"I love the enthusiasm of the children here," said Shirley Undal, a volunteer from Parkville.
Trudy Edwards, a Maryland Transportation Authority worker who volunteered for the day, handed out cloth stickers to mark participants' number of years' survival.
"I've had those who were 41-year survivors and 39-year survivors," Edwards said. "Every year I hear from people at the race, their numbers seem to be increasing."
Quandra Horton, a Maryland State Board of Nursing employee, looked at the crowd and said, "It's a good cause, and I see benefits and I see results."