The Chattanooga Track Club

Promoting Running and Fitness in Chattanooga

Brandon Hudgins Wins Chattanooga Chase
By John Hunt
Posted: Tuesday, May 29, 2018
The weatherman had predicted rain for most of Memorial Day, but that didn’t keep a whole bunch of folks from gathering at Riverview Park for the 51st running of the Chattanooga Chase.
The event, the longest running race on the Chattanooga Track Club schedule, has always been popular and features one of the most scenic and challenging courses in the Chattanooga area with several significant hills

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Race director Alan Outlaw and his buddies at Fast Break Athletics have done a fabulous job of generating interest in this race. Monday’s race had 614 finishers in the 8K main event and another 199 in the one-mile. No doubt there would have been more had the weather forecast been better.
Brandon Hudgins, a 31-year-old speedster from High Point, N.C. was the overall winner as he averaged 5:14 per mile with a time of 26 minutes, one second

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Christian Thompson, a 29-year-old Chattanoogan who posted a time of 2:29 in finishing 19th at this year’s Boston Marathon, was the runner-up with a time of 26:28 while Christian Noble was third in 27 minutes flat

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Moises Ponce and Nick McCormick completed the top five males with times of 27:16 and 27:23.
Jessica Marlier was the overall female winner for the second straight year as her time of 31:56 was 30th overall

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Addison Cornell was the second female and 40th overall in 32:26 while Jennifer Huwe, Mary Ballinger and Celeste Neville followed with times of 34:15, 34:53 and 35:02, respectively

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While Hudgins dominated the longer race, he had to settle for second place in the one mile as Noble posted a time of 4:25 to win. Hudgins was seven seconds back while Chase Faudi was third in 4:41.
Ponce and McCormick were again fourth and fifth in the second race with times of 4:47 and 4:50

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Kiera Weems was the women’s one-mile winner as she finished 15th overall in 5:26. Kathryn Vradenburgh was second in 5:51 while Hannah Faudi was a step back in 5:52. Huwe was the fourth woman in 5:54 while Ava Greer Allan was fifth in 6:24

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Hudgins, Thompson and Noble were up front from the start and stayed together for most of the first two miles.

The most serious hills come in the second and third miles and that’s where Hudgins made his move to the front

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Nobody challenged him on the return trip

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Asked what attracted him to Chattanooga for this race, Hudgins said that Outlaw had contacted him and that the late Cameron Bean had been his best friend. Steve Bean, Cam’s father, also made a contact and that’s why he came

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“Cam was my best friend back in the day and he’s the reason I’m running today. He ran for Samford, so he was a guy I wanted to beat every time we raced, but we later became best friends. We’ve done a lot of running, suffering and growing together and I’m planning to hang out with the Beans today,” the 2011 graduate of Appalachian State said after catching his breath

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“I had heard that this was a tough course with some nice hills, but I didn’t think it was as hard as I expected. Living in Boone for about eight years, I know how to run hills

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“We were in a nice pack for the first two miles before we separated a bit on the way up Minnekahdah. I was just trying to relax, but as I got closer to the top, I just closed my eyes and ran as hard as I could for about a minute.

“Now I’m going to rest for a little while as my favorite distance is coming in about an hour,” the 2016 Olympic Trial 1500 participant added

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Thompson still works for Fleet Feet as a sales representative. He didn’t run the time he was hoping for, but he was happy anyway

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“I wanted to break 26 minutes and win, but I’m still happy,” he said after a cool-down run.
“I’ve never run this race, but I’ve done some training on this course and I knew how hard it would be. We had a good pack through the first two miles before I got dropped by Brandon. He’s a great runner and was very fit today

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“I was able to catch the other guy, but I just couldn’t close the gap on Brandon,” Thompson added.
Marlier used to work for Fleet Feet, but now works for REI, a company much like Rock Creek that sells all kinds of ourdoor gear.

“I’m basically a shoe specialist,” the 32-year-old speedster explained

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“I had a little surprise when I got here this morning and was given bib number one. That may have created a little extra pressure, but the race went well for me

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“I’ve been doing some speedwork, trying to get my legs to turn over a little faster for these shorter distances. I’ve run this race a bunch of times, but the hills don’t get any easier

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“I looked forward to getting to the top and it was nice to catch my breath on the way down, but I just wanted to run by feel and effort. This race has become a great tradition on Memorial Day and I just live up the street, so I was able to do my warmup on the way down,” she nodded

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Noble is a junior at Lee University who is majoring in public relations. The 21-year-old from Greenfield, Ind. is getting ready for a 3,000 meter steeplechase race on Saturday, so Monday’s race was just a quick tuneup for that one

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“I just wanted to get a good effort in before Saturday’s race and I was able to do that, but I wasn’t expecting that many hills. I stayed right behind Brandon and Christian as best I could, but today was more about effort and place

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He was feeling better after winning the one-mile in a light rain

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“I was just out there for fun. I wanted to see how I felt at the halfway point. A race like this hurts, but it was fun,” he added

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THE NEXT RACE on the Chattanooga Track Club schedule will be the Riverbend 10K on June 9

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(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@gmail.com)


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