The Chattanooga Track Club

Promoting Running and Fitness in Chattanooga

Raccoon Mountain Recap
By John Hunt
Posted: Sunday, September 18, 2016
Thompson, Gautier Win Raccoon Mountain 10K Race

By John Hunt

There’s nothing quite like the empty feeling of finishing second to inspire a better performance next time in a road race

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That was surely the case for both Dean Thompson and Jasper Wilson Saturday morning at the annual Raccoon Mountain races

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Thompson had finished as runner-up in this 10K race for the past three years, but he put that all behind him on a pleasant fall morning that was more humid than it felt as he won the hilly 6.2-mile race around the perimeter with a time of 37 minutes, 15 seconds

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Wilson had finished second in the 5K a year ago and had vowed to himself that the next time would be different. He was certain right in that regard as he finished the out-and-back 3.1-mile race in first place with a time of 18 minutes, 41 seconds

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There were 43 finishers in the shorter race while 72 finished the longer one

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While the ageless Thompson was the overall winner in the 10K, Ryan Shrum finished 62 seconds later to claim the runner-up spot. Tripp McCallie was third in 38:50 while Troy Ketchum and Jose Pulido completed the top five overall finishers with times of 40:30 and 40:47, respectively

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And much like the top five overall males where older runners were victorious, the same was true among the ladies as Jan Gautier was the women’s winner as she finished 14th in 46:40. Lisa Logan was 15th as she finished second in 47:38 while Jodi Davis was the third female and 17th overall in 48:07

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Karen Leavitt and Jennie Gentry were fourth and fifth, respectively, with times of 51:10 and 52:37

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Those top five men are ages 51,49, 47, 37 and 40 while the first five ladies are 51, 44, 50, 57 and 47

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Wilson is a 15-year-old sophomore at Gordon Lee High School while the 5K runner-up Zoltan Szabo is a 54-year-old Army National Guard veteran and truck driver from Dalton who was a distant second in 21:03. Stephen Arnold was third in 21:34

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Meghan Whitley was the first woman in the 5K as she finished fifth overall in 23:44. Sue Damstetter was second female and 12th overall in 26:46 while Elizabeth O’Connor was the third female in the 5K with a time of 28:14, which was 16th

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Last year’s runner-up finish in the 5K was more than enough to motivate Wilson in this year’s event

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“That first hill in the first mile was a little tough, but I finished second in this race last year and I’ve been training for today’s race ever since,” he said after a brief cool-down walk while he caught his breath

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“This is one of my favorite races on the Chattanooga Track Club schedule. I was hoping there would be somebody up front with me to help me run a little faster, but that just wasn’t the case,” Wilson said with a smile

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Thompson also does a lot of biking and running as he’s a pretty good triathlete. He did a 60-mile bike ride on Thursday that took its toll on Saturday

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“It was a little more humid than it feels, but I was glad the wind was there on the way back,” Thompson, who just turned 51 last Sunday, began

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“I did a pretty hard bike ride on Thursday and that took a lot out of me, but this is a tough course and that biggest hill really hurt. It’s awesome to see God’s beauty as you come back around about the five-mile mark and I wish I had been feeling better at that point

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“This is my fourth year to run this race and I finished second the previous three years. I’m getting slower as I get older as this is my slowest time yet,” he added

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Shrum is another who runs this race virtually every year. He just celebrated his 49th birthday on Sept. 10

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“The hills were hard as usual, but I’m happy with it,” he said, noting that this year’s race was about 13 seconds slower than 2015

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“Dean was ahead from the first mile and I was pretty much by myself the rest of the way. I could see him in the distance, but he just kept pulling away. This time, I tried to run a little harder in the first two miles, but I paid for it at the end,” Shrum nodded

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Gautier is a teacher and coach at Baylor and just spent three days at Nature’s Classroom, an outdoor facility in Mentone, with a bunch of sixth-grade girls. It was a rewarding experience to say the least, but she came to Saturday’s race a bit more tired than normal

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“I’m glad that’s over as this is a tough race,” the 51-year-old Gautier suggested

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“The weather was about perfect, but I’m a little bit tired. It’s been a while since I ran this race and the last time we went in the other direction,” she said

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Logan is an assistant principal at Ringgold High School and was out late Friday night as her football team played at Adairsville. She still had her usual strong run

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“I just love this run and I think I’ve done it five or six times in a row. I was able to keep Jan in sight, but she was ahead the whole way. I had a good last two miles, but it still wasn’t fast enough to catch her,” Logan smiled

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The next race on the Chattanooga Track Club is another popular 10K at Moccasin Bend called the Joe Johnson Mental Health 10K. Unlike Saturday’s race that had two signicant hills in the middle, the Joe Johnson event is flatter than a pancake and perfect for personal records

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(email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@gmail.com)


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