Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dobson and Bennett turn the heat on the competition at the Hot Trot

Challen Hyman and Matt DobsonA week later and a hundred miles west from the 2011 Monticello-Jefferson County Watermelon Festival and its Melon Run 5K, Chipley, Florida hosted the Panhandle Watermelon Festival and the 33rd annual Hot Trot 5K on June 25. The 2011 watermelon racing circuit continues.

Jay's Matt Dobson added another Hot Trot 5K title to his collection, winning the Chipley race in 16:37. Dobson was also the fastest master runner in the race. Kristina Bennett of Dothan, Alabama won top woman honors, finishing 26th overall in 22:52. The first woman master was Robin Walters (45th, 25:18) of Panama City, Florida.

Matt DobsonThe race started and finished in front of the Washington-Holmes Technical Center on the west side of Chipley. Almost as soon as the starter called "Go!" Dobson and Challen Hyman went to the front of the field. After a kilometer of racing Hyman and Dobson were still sharing the lead. Ten seconds behind them Lance Jordan, Hyman's cross-country teammate at Panama City Arnold High, was in third. Dobson broke away mid-race, ultimately gaining a margin of nearly 200 meters on Hyman. Hyman ran 17:18 to hang on to the runner-up spot; Jordan took third in 18:10.

Kristina BennettKristina Bennett was not the early leader in the women's competition, and she was no better than fourth when she started the second kilometer of the race. But Bennett moved up through field, and at the end of five kilometers, when it counts, she was in first with a final time of 22:52. The women's runner-up, Laura Pounds of Dothan, was over 100 meters back in 23:25. Rachel Seller (43rd, 25:02) was the third woman in, just ahead of fourth woman and top woman master Robin Walters (45th, 25:18).

In hopes of making the "Hot Trot" a little less hot, the race started at 7:30am CT, half an hour earlier than the starting time in recent years. If numbers are any indication, the runners found the earlier hour agreeable; the field was larger than usual with 132 athletes finishing the 5K. The race started in 1979 as a 10K held in conjunction with Chipley's annual Panhandle Watermelon Festival.

Top Ten Men, 2011 Panhandle Watermelon Festival "Hot Trot" 5K
  1. Lance Jordan16:36.50 Matt Dobson (M, 41) Jay, FL
  2. 17:17.80 Challen Hyman (M, 18) Panama City, FL
  3. 18:09.80 Lance Jordan (M, 14)
  4. 19:06.80 Paul Brannon (M, 46)
  5. 19:26.90 Mark Clemens (M, 34)
  6. 19:50.70 Jared Lance (M, 14)
  7. 19:59.70 Phillip Wilbourn (M, 31)
  8. 20:09.00 Al Goudzwaard (M, 55)
  9. 20:23.70 Eric Bernard (M, 31)
  10. 20:24.90 Dan Anderson (M, 47)

Top Ten Women, 2011 Panhandle Watermelon Festival "Hot Trot" 5K
  1. Lauren Pounds22:51.30 Kristina Bennett (F, 38) Dothan, AL
  2. 23:24.50 Lauren Pounds (F, 28) Dothan, AL
  3. 25:02.00 Rachel Seller (F, 22)
  4. 25:17.60 Robin Walters (F, 49)
  5. 25:25.30 Barbara Edwards (F, 28)
  6. 25:43.00 Florence Justice (F, 37)
  7. 25:47.10 Jill Wofsey (F, 48)
  8. 26:18.80 Gina Crowley (F, 31)
  9. 26:33.50 Ashley Merritt (F, 28)
  10. 27:09.00 Jamie Bass (F, 32)



  1. Thanks for covering the race. I almost made the drive over to Chipley Saturday but headed to the trails for more mileage in this lovely summer heat. Maybe we'll get another cool Firecracker 5000? I doubt it.

  2. Cole,

    Hey, a warm-up on the course, the race, and a cool-down around the course would have been 15K of training, mostly in the shade, and with heaps of watermelon afterwards.

    A cool Firecracker 5000 is about as likely as a cool Critter Run. Both are better propositions than a Lotto ticket, but I'm still not going to bet on either of them. Nevertheless, I'll carry my camera to Greensboro and I'll probably run Dothan.

    Thanks for reading!