The Chattanooga Track Club

Promoting Running and Fitness in Chattanooga

Gilpin Wins Raccoon Mountain 10K Again
By John Hunt
Posted: Sunday, September 30, 2018
Gilpin Wins Raccoon Mountain 10K Again

By John Hunt

There were no surprises for John Gilpin the second time around.

The former UTC Moc standout was victorious in his first trip to the Raccoon Mountain 10K last year with a time of 35:18 for the challenging 6.2-mile race that circles the reservoir high atop Raccoon Mountain.

The 26-year-old physical therapist was the winner again on Saturday with a time that was some 39 seconds faster than 2017.

It wasn’t much of a contest once the race started as the former Nashville resident broke from the starting line at Laurel Point and never looked back, crossing the finish line as the overall winner with a time of 34 minutes, 39 seconds as he averaged 5:35 per mile.

Ryan McGinnis was the runner up, but was nowhere near the front as he finished in 37:58 while Jeremy Miller was third in 39:35.

Kristen Curtis, a 44-year-old who is a physical therapist and a stay-at-home mom, was the women’s winner as she finished fifth overall with a time of 41 minutes, 37 seconds.

She was third in this race last year with a time of 48:46, but she’s been working with a personal trainer and she’s been doing those grueling mile repeats on the track to improve her speed and she saw immediate results on Saturday.

Haley Moody was sixth overall and the second female in 42 minutes flat while Arynne Frazier was the third female and 14th overall in 47:54.

Brandon Humphrys was the overall winner in the 5K as he averaged 6:04 per mile in posting a winning time of 18:51, beating second-place James Mason by 65 seconds.

Kristen Bonsor was the overall female winner and third overall in 20:39 while Anna Lunsford was the second lady after claiming sixth overall in 23:30.

There were 83 finishers in the 10K and another 65 in the 5K. Proceeds from the race benefitted the Jasper Middle School.

Gilpin is currently training for the Chickamauga Battlefield Half-Marathon, which will be held in six weeks on November 10. He is also the defending champ in that race with a winning time of 1:13:26.

He had a specific goal in mind when he stepped to the starting line on Saturday and was able to achieve it.

“I was hoping to get under 35 minutes, but my plan was to get out hard, manage the hills and then get home quick,” he said shortly after finishing his race.

“This is a fun race and it was nice to have run it before, but I just tried to push the pace as hard as I could without blowing up,” he added with a smile.

McGinnis too was able to achieve his pre-race goal.

“My goal was to get a sub-38 and to average six-minute miles, but that big hill ruined that,” the 36-year-old Chattanoogan said after averaging 6:07 for the 6.2-mile route.

“I’m six weeks out from Chickamauga, so today was a good measure of my fitness. Now I’m going back out for another loop to get some extra miles,” he added.

Curtis is formerly Kristen Brimer and a standout runner at Baylor back in the 90s. She’s been working hard in recent weeks with this race specifically in mind, so she was thrilled with the final result.

“I’ve been working with a trainer increasing my overall strength and I’ve been doing plenty of mile repeats, so that’s why I was able to improve my time from last year,” she admitted while waiting for other runners to finish.

“I’m a hill runner and this is one of my favorite races. I didn’t take the lead until just past the second hill in the fifth mile. She (Moody) was ahead from the start, but I was starting to catch her on the way up. She was moving pretty good, but I was able to pass her on that last flat stretch,” Curtis nodded.

Humphrys is an 18-year-old freshman at UTC from Alcoa who is majoring in mechanical engineering. He’s never run a race on Raccoon Mountain, but he did his homework and knew what it would take to win.

“It was nice and cool out there, but this is the first time I’ve ever run this fast,” he said after averaging 6:04 per mile.

“I got online and saw the times from last year’s race, so I knew I had a chance. My shoe came untied near the end, but that didn’t slow me down too much,” he explained.

Bonsor is a 25-year-old Director of Recreation and Events for the Terrace of Mountain Creek, a home for senior citizens where she simply loves interacting with all of her clients.

Unlike many runners, she started out at a slower pace and finished strong, allowing her body to properly warm up before attacking the hills.

“The fog made it fun,” she smiled.

“I started in the back and I was ready for the hill, but I really liked the trip down on the way back,” she explained.

The race starts and finishes at Laurel Point, which is about a mile off the main drive that covers the perimeter. There is a long and gradual climb in the first mile. The 5K runners turn left and go a little further before turning around and heading back to the start.

The 10K runners circle the entire loop with significant climbs in the second and fourth miles. The last 1.2 miles is basically flat and downhill.

Speaking of flat, the flattest and fastest race on the Chattanooga Track Club schedule is set for next Saturday with the annual Moccasin Bend Classic. It too includes a 10K and 5K and is more flat than any course around.

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