The Chattanooga Track Club

Promoting Running and Fitness in Chattanooga

Thompson, Mason Win FCA 5K Race
By John Hunt
Posted: Monday, September 04, 2017
Dean Thompson was the overall winner of the FCA 5K in 2014, but had finished third in 2015 and second last year for the popular 3.1-mile race that benefits the Chattanooga chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes

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The 15-year-old Run For God executive didn’t run as fast as he did when he won the first time, but he was bound and determined to do better this time than in the previous two years

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His effort paid off as he paced 218 finishers Saturday morning at Chattanooga State as he prevailed once more with a time of 17 minutes, 21 seconds

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He was well ahead of Jonathan Boyd, who finished second for the second straight year with a time of 17:52. Chase Faudi was a step back in third with a time of 17:53 while Ryan McGinnis and Michael Wilson completed the top five with times of 17:55 and 18:05, respectively

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Rachel Mason was the women’s winner as she was 17th overall in 19:17.
Mae Mae Powe, a promising 11-year-old sixth grader at St. Jude, was second for the second-straight year with a time of 20:13 as she was 30th overall

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Lesley Green was next in 20:18 while Kaylee Bandee and Amy Baird were fourth and fifth, respectively, with times of 20:33 and 20:39, respectively

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It’s normally hotter than blue blazes for this race that used to be held on Labor Day, but Saturday’s runners were greeted with cool temperatures and a slight breeze blowing along the Tennessee River

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Thompson will turn 52 on Sept. 11 and he knows what it’s like to race against younger guys. He let his experience pay off on Saturday

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“Today was a good day. I started off with a decent first mile, but my pace fell off as it was hard to keep hammering running by myself,” he said later, admitting that his real job title is Director of Running Enthusiam. He’s also coaching cross country at Coahulla Creek High School

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“I think my time today was about 15 seconds slower than last year, but given the circumstances, I’ll take it. I knew I didn’t want those younger guys to be near me at the end as I found out last year that I can’t match their speed at the finish, but they probably could have beaten me if they wanted to

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“This is my 11th or 12th straight year to run this race and I always enjoy coming to support a good cause. I just praise God as I give thanks for still being able to run like I do,” he added

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Mason is an exercise physiologist who is taking time off from that profession to be a stay-at-home mom to her two young children. She is working a little bit as the cross country coach at St. Jude, so she was happy that she could post a time like she did

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“This is my first race in a while, but Chad Varga talked me into running it and my only goal was to see what I could do,” she began

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“There was some good competition here today and I was hoping to break 19 minutes. I probably went out too fast and learned a valuable lesson, but I love running on the Riverwalk,” she added

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Mason’s win was her third this year as she was the victor at the Chickamauga Chase 15K and also the Market Street Mile. Most recently, she was second at the Chattanooga Chase

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Boyd and Faudi are both home-schooled who run for the Chattanooga Patriots. Both were instructed to use Saturday’s race as a tempo run and not go all out as they might have originally planned

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“It was a pretty good run for me as we stayed in a pack most of the race,” said Boyd, now a 17-year-old senior

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“Dean got way far ahead from the start, so he was never a factor for me, but I never expected to get second today. I really just wanted a good workout and that’s what I got, but I believe this is the third straight year I’ve finished second. Maybe one day, I’ll win it,” he said with a smile

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Faudi is a 15-year-old sophomore who has exceptional talent as a distance runner. It was a leisurely run for the most part, but the hammer came down after they made that final turn back onto the Chattanooga State campus and headed for the finish line next to the tennis courts

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“The weather was almost perfect and we just wanted a steady state run,” he said while relaxing afterward

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“I figured more people would beat me, but we took it easy until the finish. I turned it on at the end, but I could have run a lot faster,” he said with confidence

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McGinnis is a 35-year-old runner who works in a family business that involves towing and recovering automobiles. He was in the group with Boyd and Faudi, but just couldn’t keep pace at the end

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“I was hoping to get under 18 minutes, but missed by a few seconds,” McGinnis expressed.
“I was trying to keep Dean in sight, but we were in a pretty tight group most of the way. All of them started to kick in the final half mile and the two younger guys got me as they were really tough

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“But I’ll take fourth as I had a great race and I’m just happy to be part of it,” McGinnis nodded

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In case you don’t know Miss Powe, she’s quite a competitive young lady. In addition to showing outstanding talent as a runner, she’s also quite accomplished in swimming and soccer. She had a couple of goals in mind when the race started, but was unable to achieve either

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“I tried to get under 20 minutes, but came up a little short, and I was also trying to beat my brother, but I didn’t,” she said about her brother Sam, who is two years older and finished 13th overall in 19:04

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She also had a grin on her face when informed that she finished second behind Mason, her coach at St. Jude

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“I thought I’d do better today, but I’ll just have to beat her next time,” she added

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The next race on the Chattanooga Track Club schedule will be on Sept. 23 with the Raccoon Mountain 10K and 5K

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Jessie Martinez and Kathryn Vradenburgh were defending champs for Saturday’s race, but neither were present to defend their titles.


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