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Runners brave cold conditions in Suwanee Sweetheart 5K

SUWANEE -- Piercing winds and sleet couldn't slow down Atlanta Track Club member Peyton Hoyal from notching the overall fastest time at the first ever Suwanee Sweetheart 5K on Saturday morning at Suwanee Town Center.

Hoyal's girlfriend, Taylor Gupton, reeled in the fastest overall time for the female participants.

Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Buford/North Gwinnett, the city of Suwanee held its first 5K sprint, with almost 130 runners, ages ranging from 10 and under all the way to 65 and older, braving the freezing conditions.

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Scott Moretz, the supervisor for public works in Suwanee said, of the chilling weather, "As a runner, I can say these conditions were very challenging -- cold is one thing but wind is a completely different animal."

Hoyal, the overall winner, is a school teacher from Boone, N.C. He raced to the finish line in 16 minutes, and 29 seconds, followed closely behind by his girlfriend, Gupton, whose family lives 10 minutes from Town Center. Gupton finished with a time of 19 minutes, 48 seconds.

"It was a tough course," Hoyal said, "and we are using this race as a test course for longer races coming up."

Hoyal also praised the execution of the fundraising event.

"The race was well run with plenty of volunteers helping out," Hoyal said.

Craig Mitchell of Buford brought home the trophy for the 10 and under age group with a time of 28 minutes, 27 seconds.

"It was really cold, but I had a really good time," Craig said after racing in his first 5K.

Emily Larkin, a mother from Suwanee, brought her husband and daughter, Amilia, to race as a family.

"We ran almost all of the 5K's last year, and we're working our way up to racing in a full marathon," Larkin said.

The Rotary Club has sponsored three other races in different locations in Gwinnett before bringing the event to Suwanee.

"This was definitely our coldest one, but we'd like to make this a tradition," Dawn Pogue, the current Rotary president, said.

The proceeds from the sprint will be used to help multiple causes such as providing scholarships, holding food drives and helping out other organizations such as Rainbow Village and the Gwinnett Children's Club.

For more information, visit northgwinnettrotary.org.