Saturday, June 23, 2012

Green and Johnson cross Georgia to win Chipley's Hot Trot 5K

2012 Hot Trot 5KThere are watermelon festivals and there are watermelon festivals. Chipley, Florida has more than local ambitions, billing their event as the Panhandle Watermelon Festival. I suppose the next step up would be the State Watermelon Festival, which still wouldn't be the International Watermelon Festival of Bayindir, Turkey. In the distant future, when the extraterrestrials show up for the Intergalactic Watermelon Festival, at least we'll know that they aren't here for anything more sinister than a seed-spitting contest. Anyone who comes calling for luscious red fruit can't be thinking about harvesting or enslaving the human race, right?

Jordan GreenBack on a less cosmic scale, Chipley celebrated the 56th annual Panhandle Watermelon Festival this year, which included the 34th annual Hot Trot on Saturday, 23 June 2012, a 5K race that started from Washington-Holmes Technical Center. Tae Ross, a rising senior and distance runner at Bainbridge High School, set the early pace for a crowded lead group. Midway through the second kilometer there were still six runners in the pack shadowing Ross, including Cedric Gillette of Marianna, Trent McDaniel of Sneads, Jesse McGowan of Cottondale, Tim Teat of Daleville, Shayne Fawcett of Bolivar (Tennessee), and Jordan Green of Morgantown (Kentucky). After three kilometers Ross had faded and the lead group was down to four, with Green out front and Fawcett, McGowan, and Gillette in his wake. As Green pushed the pace, Gillette dropped away, and then McGowan. Fawcett, the Tennessee master runner, hung on, staying just a few steps back. But Fawcett stayed a few steps back all the way to the finish line, and Green made it home with the win in 17:21. At 17:23, Fawcett was the runner-up and first master. Marianna High School's McGowan took third in 17:35 and Gillette was fourth in 17:56. Early leader Ross ended up fifth in 18:28.

Brittny JohnsonKristina Bokenfohr and Katrina Bokenfohr of Enterprise (Alabama) High School led the women through the first half of the race, but the second half of the race belonged to Brittny Johnson of Jackson, Tennessee. Running past Blakely (Georgia) master runner Debbie Wittmer and the Bokenfohrs, Johnson sped to a 21:02 win in the women's division. Close to 200 meters back, Kristina Bokenfohr was the female runner up, placing 22nd overall in 21:45. Debbie Wittmer was the third woman in and the first woman master, 23rd overall in 22:07. Katrina Bokenfohr was the fourth female finisher, 26th overall in 22:16.

Johnson just finished her second year at Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee, where her athletic career has included softball and soccer, but not cross country. Well, at least not yet.

Top Ten Men, 2012 Hot Trot 5K
  1. Jesse McGowan17:20.25 ~ Jordan Green (M, 21) Morgantown, KY
  2. 17:22.19 ~ Shayne Fawcett (M, 44) Bolivar, TN
  3. 17:34.91 ~ Jesse McGowan (M, 17) Cottondale, FL
  4. 17:55.74 ~ Cedric Gillette (M, 31) Marianna, FL
  5. 18:27.80 ~ Tae Ross (M, 17) Bainbridge, GA
  6. 18:39.45 ~ Myles Gibson (M, 46) Donalsonville, GA
  7. 18:47.51 ~ Klyne Fawcett (M, 20) Bolivar, TN
  8. 18:51.44 ~ Trent McDaniel (M, 18) Sneads, FL
  9. 19:08.26 ~ Tim Teat (M, 27) Daleville, AL
  10. 19:15.83 ~ Jeff Armstrong (M, 36) Tallahassee, FL

Top Ten Women, 2012 Hot Trot 5K
  1. Kristina Bokenfohr & Katrina Bokenfohr21:01.10 ~ Brittny Johnson (F, 20) Jackson, TN
  2. 21:44.61 ~ Kristina Bokenfohr (F, 17)
  3. 22:06.37 ~ Debbie Wittmer (F, 49) Blakely, GA
  4. 22:15.82 ~ Katrina Bokenfohr (F, 17)
  5. 22:41.59 ~ Heather Hingson (F, 36) Chipley, FL
  6. 23:39.82 ~ Judy Alexander (F, 50) Tallahassee, FL
  7. 23:51.63 ~ Jill Wofsey (F, 49) Alford, FL
  8. 24:21.21 ~ Val Lichner (F, 53) Bonifay, FL
  9. 24:52.78 ~ Andreas Weckherlin (F, 36) Panama City, FL
  10. 25:04.91 ~ Kimberly Tuel (F, 36) Chipley, FL



  1. I bet that's one of the finest watermelon festivals east of the Mississippi!

  2. Well, east of the Choctawhatchee and west of the Apalachicola, anyway. ;-)


  3. GREAT story, Herb! How do you think of these clever things, like Intergalactic Watermelon Festivals & seed-spitting aliens?

    The race was quite a bit more exciting than I realized - that's why it's so nice to have these blogs - since there's no way to tell what's going on up ahead when you're as far back as I am.

    Thanks for sharing & the pics are great!


  4. Thanks, Judy!

    It was indeed an exciting race, and I almost wish that I had shadowed the leaders on bicycle the whole way to see it develop. Of course, then I would have missed all of the women's competition, which was also dramatic. The only way for spectators to see everything would be to move the race to the track--and how could you ever fit 200 runners on the track? ☹