The Chattanooga Track Club

Promoting Running and Fitness in Chattanooga

By John Hunt
Posted: Sunday, August 09, 2015
The winning just continues for John Gilpin.
The former UTC standout won his fifth race of the year on Saturday morning as he beat a pretty good field at the annual Missionary Ridge Road Race by covering the challenging 4.7-mile route in 24 minutes, 38 seconds.

Lucas Cotter, who had won this race in 2013 with a time of 24:43, was the runner-up as he finished with a time of 25:18.

Jack McGinness was third overall in 25:35 while Geno Phillips and Alan Outlaw rounded out the top five with times of 25:59 and 26:31, respectively. Phillips was the runner-up last year in 25:54.

UTC teammates Keeley Stewart and Amanda Cotter dominated the women’s results with Stewart taking the win in 30 minutes, 54 seconds. Cotter was next in 32:13.

Jennifer Curtis was the third female and 27th overall in 32:48 while Andrea May and Lisa Logan completed the top five ladies with times of 34:35 and 34:52.

This race can be brutally hot and humid this time of year, but the runners were greeted by cooler temperatures and lower humidity than normal. It got warmer as the sun continued to rise, but it was a pleasant day for the most part as more than 200 runners gathered for one of Chattanooga’s oldest races.

“I was hoping to be under 25 minutes and I was happy to get there,” said Gilpin, who has already claimed victory at the Chattanooga Chase 8K, Riverbend 10K, Market Street Mile and Scenic City Scorcher two-miler two weeks ago.

“It was a perfect morning for a race. We got off to a good start and I just wanted to keep a steady pace. Lucas and I ran together for the first couple of miles, but we hit that hill right before the turn around and that’s where we separated.

“ I’m not sure if he slowed down or I sped up,” he added, also happy that his parents Jack and Pam Gilpin were in town for the weekend from Nashville to watch him race.

While Gilpin will be entering physical therapy school this fall, Cotter now works in the accounting department at TVA after graduating from UTC and earning his MBA. His time on Saturday was somewhat slower than his winning effort two years ago, but he was still happy with the results.

“It hurt, but I’m pretty happy,” he expressed afterwards.

“I haven’t been running as much as I normally do, but I was hoping to finish second today. I just wanted to hang with John as long as I could, but he started to pull away just past the two mile mark. I’m pleased to finish second,” he added.

McGinness ran another strong race. He had run this race one other time in 2007 when he was an eighth grader at McCallie and was working for a starting spot on the varsity cross country team. His time then was 31:43 as he finished 31st overall, so the results on this latest effort were much better.

“It went well as I felt strong going up the hills,” he said after a post-race warm-down run with Phillips.

“This is definitely not an easy course and Lucas has those long legs. My goal today was to win some prize money, but I think I about paid my entry fee with my 25 bucks.

“Those guys were ahead of me after the first 30 seconds, but I closed the gap toward the end. I just ran out of real estate. I love running up here as we used to do an eight-miler up here when I was at McCallie. There are no flat spots on this course,” he concluded.

Stewart is a 22-year-old senior at UTC who is out of eligibility in cross country, but has one track season remaining. She and Cotter have been teammates and good friends for several years and they were hoping to run together on Saturday.

“We went out pretty hard and tried to settle in, but I pulled away just before we got to the four-mile mark,” the Winchester resident remarked.

“I don’t think I’ve ever run a 4.7-mile race before. It was hilly, but it was a fun run. I think going out was harder as we were running harder, but I slowed down some on the way back. I was just hoping to keep a 6 or 6:15 pace,” the education major added.

Cotter is now an assistant under coach Bill Gautier after a stellar career for the Lady Mocs. She ran into the corner of a marble countertop a couple of weeks ago and her hip was hurting on Saturday as a result.

“I’ve been better,” she said while applying ice to the spot in question.

“I felt pretty good for the first three and a half miles. Keeley and I had been running together and I would have loved to stay with her, but I just told her to go on as I was hurting and had to back off a little. This is probably one of the toughest races I’ve ever done.

“I was hoping that my hip was just bruised, but it’s been about two weeks and I’m not sure. Maybe I should go see a doctor,” she concluded.

Proceeds from Saturday’s race benefitted the Chattanooga chapter of the American Red Cross and the Team Bruner Scholarship Fund.

Ryan Shrum served as the race director for the first time and everything seemed to come off without a hitch. He was also able to run it after all of the pre-race details were attended to, finishing a respectable ninth overall in 28:03.

“We had some amazing volunteers today and I couldn’t have done it without them,” Shrum said before awarding a host of door prizes.

“Everything went really smooth and we had some great sponsors as always. This race also benefits two great causes. I had a hard time focusing on my run as I was thinking about all I had to do when I finished, but it was a different kind of race for me,” he smiled.

Dalton’s Gene Gilreath was the winner of the Arnold Godwin Award, which is presented to the oldest participant in the race. He’s a youthful 77.

Thomas Barker and Jessica Marlier were the defending champions of this race, but neither were present to run on Saturday.

(email John Hunt at


Chattanooga Track Club • 1014 Dallas Road • Suite 101 • Chattanooga, TN 37405 • (423) 842-6265