Saturday, February 28, 2015

Gibson and Sura first on the trails at the Purple Heart Run

Myles GibsonBainbridge State College is located on the edge of Bainbridge, Georgia, just west of the Twin Lakes. The town averages just over 50 inches of rainfall annually, but in 2014 over 60 inches fell. Twin Lakes didn't become triplets or quadruplets, but it became apparent that there were a lot of brothers and sisters in the family. Some of those ponds swelled to cover the trails around the college, the trails that have formed the course for Bainbridge State's Purple Heart Run since 2013. So on Saturday morning, 28 February 2015, both the 10K and the 5K at the third annual Purple Heart Run had new courses. New routes, though, were no problem for Myles Gibson, who won the 10K cross-country run in 44:57. Nor was it a problem for Julia Sura, who successfully defended her 2014 women's title in the 10K. Neither was it a problem in the 5K, where Dustin Reynolds won in 21:59 and Laura Reina ran 26:52 to finish first in the women's standings.

David Welling, Ridge HarperBoth races started shortly after 9:00 AM, heading north on the grass along College Road. A cold drizzle started falling, working on Bainbridge's 2015 rainfall total. Not quite 800 meters into the race the runners reached a clearing under transmission lines where an "S"-shaped path had been roped off. Ridge Harper was the first 10K competitor to reach the power lines, followed by Donalsonville, Georgia, master runner Myles Gibson and David Welling. By the time they had left the transmission lines to head into the woods, Gibson had cut Harper's lead in half. The man from Donalsonville overtook Harper under the trees, and at the end of the first five-kilometer loop Gibson was nearly a minute ahead. Meanwhile, Welling had caught up with Harper. During the second time around the loop, Gibson extended his lead. Behind him, Welling and Harper were locked in a back-and-forth battle for second.

Gibson reached the finish line over three minutes ahead of the next runner in a winning 44:57. Welling surged away from Harper in the final 200 meters to take second, 48:03 to 48:21. Tallahassee master runner Philip Sura, the 2014 Purple Heart 10K winner, was fourth in 49:22.

"I ran the Tallahassee Marathon three weeks ago and this was the first time since then I've felt like racing again," said Gibson after the win. "I want to run a couple of 10K races in Tallahassee this spring. The Thomasville Road Baptist Church 10K and, of course, the Springtime 10K."

Julia SuraFirst-year Florida State University student Monica Reinhard, an alumna of the Palmer Trinity School cross-country team, led the women's field in the early going of the Purple Heart 10K. Before the end of the first loop, though, Julie Genovar had taken over the women's lead. Going into the second half of the race Genovar was 50 meters ahead of the next two women, Tallahassee runners Juanita Chalmers and Julia Sura. At the second pass under the power lines, Sura and Chalmers had caught up with Genovar. With less than four kilometers to go the top three women were just a meter or two apart.

"I felt good," said Sura about that point of the race. "I had my last sip of water, then I said, 'Goodbye, Juanita.' I could hear the other girl breathing hard."

The Tallahassee master runner broke away from Chalmers and Genovar then ran home in 58:38, the first woman and eighth finisher overall. Chalmers was the women's runner-up, 11th overall in 59:22. Genovar placed third in the women's standings, finishing 13th overall in 59:47. Reinhard was the fourth woman home, 15th overall in 60:04.

Top Ten Men, 2015 Purple Heart 10K
  1. 44:57 ~ Myles Gibson (M, 48)Philip Sura and Mark Tombrink
  2. 48:03 ~ David Welling (M, 30)
  3. 48:21 ~ Ridge Harper (M, 37)
  4. 49:22 ~ Philip Sura (M, 44)
  5. 53:38 ~ Mark Tombrink (M, 27)
  6. 54:49 ~ Ettore Aldrovandi (M, 53)
  7. 56:11 ~ Justin Williams (M, 37)
  8. 58:44 ~ David Braswell (M, 43)
  9. 59:17 ~ Paul Pickles (M, 48)
  10. 59:24 ~ Mike Kennett (M, 44)

Top Ten Women, 2015 Purple Heart 10K
  1. 58:38 ~ Julia Sura (F, 43)Julia Sura, Juanita Chalmers, and Julie Genovar
  2. 59:22 ~ Juanita Chalmers (F, 32)
  3. 59:47 ~ Julie Genovar (F, 29)
  4. 60:04 ~ Monica Reinhard (F, 18)
  5. 63:02 ~ Melanie Knight (F, 33)
  6. 63:33 ~ Sonya Dudley (F, 46)
  7. 66:01 ~ Donica Williams (F, 35)
  8. 68:14 ~ Suzanne Angell (F, 49)
  9. 68:51 ~ Wendi Brew (F, 40)
  10. 69:43 ~ Lauren Chambers (F, 18)

Dustin ReynoldsSeminole County High sophomore cross-country runner Dustin Reynolds led the Purple Heart 5K from the start, but JD Poole was never far behind. Going around the final turn, Reynolds glanced over his shoulder and saw that Poole was less than three seconds back. After that discovery Reynolds stepped on the gas and sprinted to the finish line, getting the win in 21:59. Poole was second in 22:09. Another Seminole County High cross-country runner, sophomore Lane Odom, was third in 25:07. Tallahassee master runner Laura Reina was the first woman in the race, coming in fifth overall in 26:52. Thomas County Central sixth-grader Anna James finished runner-up in the women's standings, placing seventh overall in 27:03.

The third annual Purple Heart Run was hosted by the Bainbridge State College chapter of the Student Veterans of America, with proceeds benefiting the Red Hills Wounded Warrior Group. 40 athletes finished the 10K cross-country run, and another 35 completed the 5K.

Top Ten Men, 2015 Purple Heart 5K
  1. 21:59 ~ Dustin Reynolds (M, 16)JD Poole
  2. 22:09 ~ JD Poole (M, 20)
  3. 25:07 ~ Lane Odom (M, 15)
  4. 26:17 ~ John Bickley (M, 38)
  5. 26:52 ~ Filippo Aldrovandi-Reina (M, 10)
  6. 27:18 ~ Quong Pham (M, 16)
  7. 27:24 ~ Bradley Harris (M, 18)
  8. 28:47 ~ Morris Davis (M, 58)
  9. 33:05 ~ Owen Earnest (M, 8)
  10. 34:13 ~ Hal Earnest (M, 40)

Top Ten Women, 2015 Purple Heart 5K
  1. 26:52 ~ Laura Reina (F, 50)Laura Reina
  2. 27:03 ~ Anna James (F, 11)
  3. 33:13 ~ Meghan McGowen (F, 26)
  4. 33:46 ~ Melissa Richardson (F, 40)
  5. 35:00 ~ Dawn Richardson (F, 38)
  6. 37:32 ~ Carah Whittaker (F, 31)
  7. 37:38 ~ Samantha Hager (F, 25)
  8. 37:39 ~ Bree Maxwell (F, 27)
  9. 38:45 ~ Hayley Bull (F, 26)
  10. 41:09 ~ Brittany Web (F, 25)

Bainbridge State College Purple Heart 10K and 5K winners, 2013 - 2015
26 January 20135K19:15, Caleb Harris25:13, Julie Harris
15 March 201410K39:32, Philip Sura48:05, Julia Sura17
5K18:19, Greg Waddell23:34, Amy James29
28 February 201510K44:57, Myles Gibson58:38, Julia Sura40
5K21:59, Dustin Reynolds26:52, Laura Reina35


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