The Chattanooga Track Club

Promoting Running and Fitness in Chattanooga

Chattanooga Chase Recap
By John Hunt
Posted: Tuesday, May 31, 2016

It has been six years since Seth Ruhling ran the Chattanooga Chase and maybe he had forgotten just how tough that 8K course really is, but that’s didn’t seem to matter Monday morning as he celebrated Memorial Day with victory in the Chattanooga Track Club’s oldest race

.


Ruhling graduated from Collegedale Academy in 2013 and is now a 21-year-old student at Southern Adventist University.

He finished 12th overall in that first race six years ago with a time of 30:26, but he was a whole lot faster Monday as he covered the challenging course in 27 minutes, 29 seconds to beat runner-up Geno Phillips by 46 seconds

.


John Sillery was third in 28:32 while Adam Rodriguez and Moises Ponce completed the top five with times of 28:35 and 29:13, respectively

.


Jenn Stocks made it a repeat in the women’s division as she was the overall winner in 33:43 after posting a time of 29:07 a year ago

.


Jan Gautier, who has won this race more than anyone else and has the women’s course record of something around 28 minutes, was the women’s runner-up in 34:42 while 15-year-old Kathryn Vradenburgh was third in 34:48

.


Dianna Leun finished 45th and Susan Eckermann 54th with times of 34:59 and 36:10 for the top five ladies

.


There was also a competitive one-mile race a little later and Ruhling won that as well as he finished all alone in 4:53. Emily Bell was the women’s winner in the one mile with a 5:23

.


Race director Alan Outlaw, himself a former winner in this race, worked really hard promoting this event and the numbers showed as more than 500 runners were registered for both races combined.
There were 414 finishers in the 8K and 141 in the one mile

.


But on a day that was reasonably cool at the start before getting hotter as it got later, Ruhling was a one-man show on one of Chattanooga’s toughest courses

.


“I’ve run this race before, so I knew what to expect, but I thought I’d collapse when I got to the top of Minnekahdah,” he said, knowing that he won a special gift card from Rock Creek for being the first person to reach the top of Chattanooga’s most famous hill

.


“I ran 5:15s for the first two miles and then a 6:30 for the third, which is completely uphill. My goal was to win today and I was out front the whole way, but the course is hard and those hills are brutal.

"Going up and down Woodhill Circle completely ruined my momentum,” he said in reference to the steepest uphill and downhill section right before turning onto Hixson Pike for the last leg prior to Minnekahdah

.


Phillips has taken some time off to let a partially-torn labrum heal in his hip. He had somewhat of a conservative start as he was well back of the lead, but he put the hammer down on the hills and that’s where the 44-year-old Red Bank Middle School teacher and coach made up a lot of ground.

It was a good run as I went out easy, but I picked it up on the hills,” he said after completing a cool-down run

.


“I was about where I thought I’d be as I really didn’t have a time goal. I was eighth or ninth when we started up the hills and that’s where I caught everybody. I run uphill better than down and I tried to put some time on people there,” Phillips added

.


Sillery is a 44-year-old emergency room doctor who works at Highland Medical Center in Scottsboro. He woke up early Monday and walked his dog before deciding to enter the 49th running of the Chase

.


Sillery is an outstanding triathlete, so he jumped on his bike for the ride over to Riverview Park where the race started and ended. By the time he arrived, he was warmed up and ready to roll

.


“It was hot and humid, but it was a good race for me. That’s a tough course and I just wanted to run hard. I camped out with my daughter last night and didn’t decide until this morning to run

.


“I had no idea what kind of time I’d have as the hills make it so tough,” he added

.


Stocks formerly worked as a sales associate for Fast Break Athletics, the main sponsor for Monday’s race. She’s about to start a new job and she spent the last week moving to Dallas, Georgia with her husband Lucas

.


Her time wasn’t nearly as fast as last year when she was ninth overall in 29:07

.


“It has not been a good week of training for me with all the moving. It was a rough day and I just tried to go out conservatively. I wanted to be the Queen of Minnekahdah, so winning the race was secondary

.


“But we love the races in Chattanooga and we’ll be back,” she said, suggesting that it’s about 100 miles from her to their new home

.


Gautier has won this race about nine times. Her time on Monday was her slowest ever, but at the age of 50, the Baylor School teacher and coach is still a whole lot faster than those folks half her age

.


“It doesn’t get any easier, but I’m glad I did it. Anytime you can outkick somebody that’s younger and faster than you at the end, it’s been a good race. I pushed myself, I hurt and I had my slowest time ever, but it was still a great day and I’m going to relax by the pool for the rest of the day,” she smiled

.


Vradenburgh is a home schooled student who was really outstanding in cross country. She has also proven that she’s pretty tough on the roads as well

.


“I just did it to have fun, but Jan and I went back and forth. The hills were pretty tough as they just kept going and going and going,” she explained

.


Outlaw talked Ruhling into entering Monday’s race. Ruhling was feeling good after winning the longer race first

.


“Sometimes you just have to go by how you feel in a road mile as you have intervals to measure where you are on the track,” he said after allowing that his PR on the track is 4:28

.


“I think I could have gone faster, but I felt like I had a shot to win the one-mile after finishing the first race,” Ruhling added

.


Bell is a 34-year-old exercise physiologist and a certified health coach when she’s not busy taking care of her two-year-old daughter.

She prefers running marathons to the shorter races and she’s been doing more biking than running in recent weeks, but she was happy with Monday’s results

.


“It was hot out there, but a super fun event for me,” she said shortly after finishing

.


“This is my first race of the year as I’ve been on the bike quite a bit. Maybe I need to decide if I want to be a runner or a cyclist, but I always shorten my races during hot weather. I really didn’t know what my time would be as I just tried to weave my way past all the kids,” she said, acknowledging that her marathon PR is a 2:47

.


Jane Ensign was the last finisher in the one-mile race with a time of 25 minutes, 31 seconds, but she was all smiles as the 88-year-old mother of Tim now has that state record as there was no previous mark for those her age

.


She also has the record of 25:39 for those ladies age 87.

The next event on the Chattanooga Track Club schedule is the Waterfront Triathlon, which will be held downtown on Sunday , June 26

.


(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@gmail.com)


ABOUT SSL CERTIFICATES

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