Monday, April 16, 2012

Lake and Thompson take firsts at the first Bainbridge Half

For thirty years, from 1977 to 2006, the longest race in Bainbridge, Georgia was the Pine Run 20K--a 12.4-mile challenge through International Paper's Southlands Experimental Forest. After International Paper announced that it was divesting itself of the Southlands property, the Pine Run went away, leaving Bainbridge with a pair of 10K races and an assortment of 5Ks. But true long-distance running returned to the Port City on 14 April 2012 with the inaugural Bainbridge Half Marathon, a 13.1-mile tour of the town on the Flint River. 193 finished the race, which incidentally is significantly more than braved the Pine Run in any individual year. Also, whereas few but the birds and the squirrels got to see the Pine Run, many Bainbridge residents got to see the half marathon as it wound from the hospital to the river to the Bainbridge College campus and back to the hospital.

Certainly, any spectators would have seen Tallahassee's Chris Lake dominating the race. Two weeks after a win at the Springtime 10K, the University of Florida medical student ran virtually unchallenged. Lake ran 72:43 for the 13.1-mile distance, finishing around a mile and a half ahead of runner-up Pauncho Hufstetler (2nd, 81:51). Bainbridge schoolboy Kyle Harris was the third runner across the line with a 85:44, followed by Jonathan Chesser (4th, 89:13). The fastest master runner in the race was Greg Waddell, who placed fifth overall in 89:46. Thomasville marathoner Melissa Thompson was the first woman across the finish line, running 1:41:01 to place 16th. Another marathon runner, Debbie Wittmer of Blakely, Georgia, was the second woman overall and the first woman master, finishing 18th in 1:41:24.

Top Ten Men, 2012 Bainbridge Half Marathon
  1. Pauncho Hufstetler1:12:42.3 ~ Chris Lake (M, 24)
  2. 1:21:50.5 ~ Pauncho Hufstetler (M, 37)
  3. 1:25:43.8 ~ Kyle Harris (M, 17)
  4. 1:29:12.7 ~ Jonathan Chesser (M, 24)
  5. 1:29:45.9 ~ Greg Waddell (M, 46)
  6. 1:31:48.3 ~ Ridge Harper (M, 34)
  7. 1:32:25.1 ~ Richard Wilson (M, 44)
  8. 1:32:57.0 ~ Jeff Dasinger (M, 39)
  9. 1:33:18.5 ~ Rodriquez Williams (M, 38)
  10. 1:34:39.5 ~ Russell Simmons (M, 32)

Top Ten Women, 2012 Bainbridge Half Marathon
  1. Melissa Thompson1:41:00.8 ~ Melissa Thompson (F, 27)
  2. 1:41:24.0 ~ Deborah Wittmer (F, 48)
  3. 1:41:44.6 ~ Laura McDermott (F, 32)
  4. 1:45:56.4 ~ Tiffany Nunnally (F, 33)
  5. 1:46:18.2 ~ Erica Blake (F, 23)
  6. 1:46:58.3 ~ Kristi Wilhelm (F, 41)
  7. 1:52:41.0 ~ Laurel Waldrop (F, 32)
  8. 1:52:49.9 ~ Karima Anderson (F, 24)
  9. 1:54:12.4 ~ Davelyne Hines (F, 28)
  10. 1:54:46.4 ~ Jessica Wynn (F, 32)



  1. So glad you posted the link to this blog again, Herb! It's great! I can't believe Chris was a mile & a half ahead of the next finisher...whoa.

    Love the tie-in with Pine Run/Bainbridge...wouldn't have ever thought of that angle.

    Nice "SouthWood Office" pic, too!

    Thanks for sharing, as always,


  2. Thanks, Judy!

    Lake's lead was just short of a mile and a half. If this had been a race on a standard 400-meter track, he would have lapped the field five times and been on his way to six when he crossed the finish line.

    Lake and Hufstetler also went one-two at the 2011 Rose City 10K. Perhaps they'll meet again tomorrow (28 April 2012) at the 35th annual Rose City 10K, where Lake will be going for his third straight Rose City win.