"The course is marked," said Juan Gomez. "I'm not sure how much good that will do, though."
It wasn't a statement that inspired confidence!
But once the runners were led to the starting line, there was little problem in following the Purple Heart 5K course. The route on grass and trails around the perimeter of the Bainbridge College campus was well marked. Wrong turns were blocked off with ribbon or traffic cones. And if all else failed, you could just follow Caleb Harris. The Hutto Middle School sixth-grader spent nearly the entire race out front, winning the first-year event in 19:15.
The race started on the grass strip along College Road, from which the athletes headed north, starting a clockwise circuit of the campus. A group of three runners moved into the lead, with Caleb Harris setting the pace for Perry Waddell and Chip Nix. Back on the trails, though, Harris opened a gap, breaking contact by the end of the third kilometer. Over the final kilometer on the college's perimeter road, Harris only widened the margin, going on to win by over 200 meters. Behind Harris' 19:15, Perry Waddell was second in 20:09. John Bickley moved up to finish third in 21:06, and Joel Bass passed Chip Nix in the closing stages of the race to take fourth, 21:54 to 22:08.
Like her son Caleb in the overall race, Bainbridge master runner Julie Harris led the women's field from the outset. Never challenged, Harris was the first female finisher, running 14th overall in 25:13. At 26:42, Melanie Knight was the women's runner-up, placing 16th overall in 26:42.
The inaugural Purple Heart 5K was sponsored by the Bainbridge College chapter of the Student Veterans of America as a benefit for the Wounded Warrior Project.
Top Ten Males
- 19:15 ~ Caleb Harris (M, 12) Bainbridge, GA
- 20:09 ~ Perry Waddell (M, 15) Bainbridge, GA
- 21:06 ~ John Bickley (M, 36) Tallahassee, FL
- 21:54 ~ Joel Bass (M, 19) Cairo, GA
- 22:08 ~ Chip Nix (M, 36) Bainbridge, GA
- 22:51 ~ Robert Meredith (M, 37) Bainbridge, GA
- 23:04 ~ Stephen Rehberg (M, 23) Cairo, GA
- 23:39 ~ Mark Tombrink (M, 25) Tallahassee, FL
- 23:50 ~ Gary Cato (M, 56) Bainbridge, GA
- 24:23 ~ Blake Brown (M, )
Top Ten Females
- 25:13 ~ Julie Harris (F, 47) Bainbridge, GA
- 26:42 ~ Melanie Knight (F, 31) Whigham, GA
- 27:11 ~ Rachel McCullough (F, 24) Tallahassee, FL
- 27:51 ~ Emily Webster (F, 32) Tallahassee, FL
- 28:08 ~ Joy Knop (F, 40) Thomasville, GA
- 28:10 ~ Nathalie Smith (F, 29) Tallahassee, FL
- ??:?? ~ Sandra Heard (F, 29) Bainbridge, GA
- ??:?? ~ Suzanne Angell (F, 47) Bainbridge, GA
- ??:?? ~ Ivey Manwaring (F, 30) Thomasville, GA
- ??:?? ~ Lisa Giencke (F, 30) Tallahassee, FL
- More photos of the 2013 Purple Heart 5K
- Upcoming races in Bainbridge and other cities within 100 miles of Tallahassee