This may seem odd, but in 2013 the first "Cross Country is Fun" race was held on the streets around the Valdosta State University campus. Next year it may very well be a 5000-meter race on the track, but the 2014 race was held on a true cross-country course over the turf and trails of Freedom Park in Valdosta, Georgia. The very same course was used immediately afterwards for the high school races of Valdosta High's Wildcat Cross-Country Invitational.
Ryan Kelly is the cross country coach for the Wildcats, but before his squad took the course he posted a winning 19:18 5K in the "Cross Country Is Fun" race. It was Kelly's second straight win in the annual race; he had also won the first "Cross Country Is Fun" 5K in 2013. Brishen House of Valdosta took second in 20:35, and Valdosta's Decker House placed third in 20:51.
Valdosta runner Elizabeth Smith won the women's title, finishing fourth overall in 23:27. Smith had placed fourth in the women's standings in the 2013 edition of the race.
Terry Adams was the fastest master in the field, finishing seventh overall in 23:57. Just behind Adams, women's runner-up Melanie Ellis placed eighth overall in 24:00, the first master woman in the race.
47 athletes completed the 3.1-mile route through Freedom Park.
Top Ten Men, 2014 Cross Country Is Fun 5K
- 19:17.3 ~ Ryan Kelly (M, 35) Lake Park, GA
- 20:34.2 ~ Brishen House (M, 14) Valdosta, GA
- 20:50.4 ~ Decker House (M, 14) Valdosta, GA
- 23:38.0 ~ Rob McGhin (M, 34) Valdosta, GA
- 23:49.2 ~ Ryan Roper (M, 15) Lakeland, GA
- 23:56.1 ~ Terry Adams (M, 40) Valdosta, GA
- 24:06.3 ~ Steven Dansereau (M, 52) Lakeland, GA
- 24:18.1 ~ Michael Baun (M, 57) Valdosta, GA
- 24:31.0 ~ Zachary Cox (M, 16) Lakeland, GA
- 25:09.7 ~ Rusty Jones (M, 61) Valdosta, GA
Top Ten Women, 2014 Cross Country Is Fun 5K
- 23:26.3 ~ Elizabeth Smith (F, 36) Valdosta, GA
- 23:59.9 ~ Melanie Ellis (F, 41) Valdosta, GA
- 24:27.0 ~ Debbie Green (F, 48) Valdosta, GA
- 24:47.8 ~ Alison Thornhill (F, 34) Valdosta, GA
- 25:53.0 ~ Brianna Prinsloo (F, 27) Hahira, GA
- 26:31.8 ~ Nancy Elam (F, 51) Valdosta, GA
- 27:37.6 ~ Heather Kelly (F, 36) Lake Park, GA
- 28:39.8 ~ Gina Purvis (F, 55) Tifton, GA
- 31:57.4 ~ Jennifer Massey (F, 35) Thomaston, GA
- 32:23.3 ~ Lexi Metts (F, 11) Hahira, GA
- Complete results of the the 2014 Cross Country Is Fun 5K, courtesy of A Course/Line, LLC
- About that 2014 Wildcat Cross Country Invitational
- 2013 story, "Kelly and Morse race the roads because 'Cross Country is Fun'"
- More fun and more upcoming races on the Trouble Afoot! racing calendar