Calhoun led the race almost from the very start, rolling up a lead of over 100 meters on Dan Baur, who finished runner-up in 18:12. Just months away from starting his first collegiate cross country season at Columbus State University, Calhoun had mostly positive things to say about the race.
"I thought it was a blast," said Calhoun. "The course was gorgeous. I really love the trees. I did run into a spiderweb, though."
It was probably one of the area's many golden orb spiders, familiar to anyone who spends time in the Big Bend's forests during the warm months. The 137 runners trailing Calhoun can be grateful that he knocked down the web for them. Calhoun didn't do anything to settle the sand for his pursuers, though. After a stretch of dry weather, the sand roads that made up much of the course were especially soft and difficult to run on.
"I was so loose it was like beach running," said Myles Gibson. Gibson, from Donalsonville, Georgia, was the fastest master runner in the race, coming in third overall in 19:01.
"That was brutal," concurred Brittney Skiles, a cross country and track coach at Truett McConnell University.
Skiles had led the women's field in the early going, before being caught by Madison Harris. "We ran together till about two miles, then she took off," said Skiles.
"Just past the two-mile mark," agreed Harris. "Coach had told me who she was, and I knew she was Margaret Wiedeman's coach, but that was all."
Mostly, though, Harris knew that Skiles was someone she wanted be beat that day. In the last mile Harris opened up a gap of nearly a minute on her way to finishing first in the women's division. It was Harris' third win in the Freedom 5K, and even with the bad footing her 20:00 time was her fastest performance yet on the course.
"I knew it was going to be sandy," said Harris. "But not that sandy!"
Skiles was second in the women's standings, placing tenth overall in 20:56. Alli Hay, a rising senior on the Pataula Academy cross country team, was the third female finisher and eleventh overall in 21:11.
Hosted by the Wakulla High Cross Country Boosters, proceeds of the fourth annual Freedom 5K went to support Wakulla High Cross Country team. "This is our major fundraiser of the year," said Wakulla High cross country coach Paul Hoover.
Gulf Winds Track Club of Tallahassee chip-timed the race.
Top Ten Men, 2016 Freedom 5K
- 17:48 ~ Wright Calhoun (M, 18)
- 18:12 ~ Dan Baur (M, 30)
- 19:01 ~ Myles Gibson (M, 50)
- 19:08 ~ Paul Guyas (M, 38)
- 19:40 ~ Lane Williams (M, 20)
- 20:35 ~ Duane Evans (M, 49)
- 20:45 ~ Philip Sura (M, 46)
- 20:45 ~ Travis Parks (M, 20)
- 21:20 ~ Matthias Laywell (M, 18)
- 21:31 ~ David Yon (M, 60)
Top Ten Women, 2016 Freedom 5K
- 20:00 ~ Madison Harris (F, 20)
- 20:56 ~ Brittney Skiles (F, 27)
- 21:11 ~ Alli Hay (F, 17)
- 21:41 ~ Haleigh Martin (F, 16)
- 22:10 ~ Cora Atkinson (F, 22)
- 22:55 ~ Margaret Wiedeman (F, 20)
- 23:14 ~ Megan Webb (F, 23)
- 23:22 ~ Emily Smith (F, 31)
- 24:28 ~ Alissa Langston (F, 15)
- 24:46 ~ Lydia Wiedeman (F, 19)
|Freedom 5K winners, 2013 - 2016|
|29 June 2013||17:33, Stanley Linton||21:12, Madison Harris||107|
|28 June 2014||19:23, Reikan Lin||20:12, Madison Harris||82|
|27 June 2015||17:36, Zack DeVeau||19:51, Katie Sherron||173|
|25 June 2016||17:48, Wright Calhoun||20:00, Madison Harris||138|
- Complete results of the Wakulla HS Cross-Country Boosters' 2016 Freedom 5K at gulfwinds.org
- More photos of the Wakulla HS Cross-Country Boosters' 2016 Freedom 5K
- Fred Deckert's photos of the Wakulla HS Cross-Country Boosters' 2016 Freedom 5K
- 2015 story, “A little rain didn't slow down either DeVeau or Sherron at the Freedom Run 5K”
- 2014 story, “Lin and Harris post Freedom 5K wins”
- 2013 story, “Linton and Harris break loose at Freedom 5K”
- Find another upcoming race supporting scholastic cross country on the Trouble Afoot! calendar