Sunday, January 1, 2017

Elam and Woods answer 2016's last call with a win.

2017I'm not sure what constitutes a tradition anymore. I believed that I had a handle on what the word used to mean, but nowadays it seems that a "tradition" is whatever someone's marketing department wants you to buy, but doesn't want you to to think too much about the purchase. "A new holiday tradition!" Isn't that an oxymoron?

On the other hand, you have a phenomenon where dozens of athletes in Valdosta, Georgia show up at Lowndes High School on the final evening of the year and run a five-kilometer road race. Without much fanfare, they've been doing this every year since 2012--five years in all now. This is dangerously close to becoming a tradition in the original sense of the word.

Andrew Elam is certainly part of that emerging tradition. Elam hasn't missed a running of Valdosta's New Year's Eve 5K since he first raced it in 2013 as a Lowndes High cross-country runner. He won the race in 2014, setting an event record of 16:59. After a loss to Tallahassee master runner Michael Martinez in the 2015 race, Elam was back for a fourth New Year's Eve 5K on Saturday evening, 31 December 2016. Now a Valdosta State University Blazer, Elam lowered the event record to 16:53, claiming his second New Year's Eve 5K title.

Josh Hall took the runner-up spot in 17:40. Valdosta High sophomore cross-country runner Quin McGlamery was third in 18:43, just ahead of the 18:48 posted by fourth-place finisher Dan Butzin. 2013 New Year's Eve 5K champ Ryan Kelly was fifth in 19:02. Sean McConnell of Adel, Georgia was the fastest master runner in the race, coming in eleventh overall in 22:20.

On the women's side Broxton, Georgia's Gracie Woods followed up her win seven days earlier at the Ugly Sweater 5K with another victory in the New Year's Eve 5K. An eighth-grader on the Coffee County Middle School cross-country team, Woods placed twelfth overall in 22:48 to take the women's title.

Valdosta's Anne Price was the second woman and thirteenth overall in 12:16. Kelly Davis of Valdosta edged Lauren Bewley, another Valdosta athlete, for third place in the women's standings, 23:30 to 23:36. Davis and Bewley were 15th and 16th overall. Right behind them Pollyanna Bass of Pavo, Georgia was the first woman master and fifth female finisher, placing 17th overall in 23:38.

93 athletes finished the fifth annual New Year's Eve 5K, a production of A Course/Line, LLC, of Valdosta, Georgia.

Top Ten Men, Valdosta's 2016 New Year's Eve 5K
  1. 16:52.7, Andrew Elam (M, 18) Valdosta, GA
  2. 17:39.4, Joshua Hall (M, 22) Valdosta, GA
  3. 18:42.1, Quin McGlamery (M, 16) Valdosta, GA
  4. 18:48.1, Dan Butzin (M, 31) Valdosta, GA
  5. 19:01.6, Ryan Kelly (M, 38) Lake Park, GA
  6. 19:44.0, Nick Rosatti (M, 20) Hahira, GA
  7. 20:23.9, James Marino (M, 38) Valdosta, GA
  8. 21:01.8, James Tracy (M, 35) Valdosta, GA
  9. 21:02.3, John H. Lewis, Jr. (M, 36) Naylor, GA
  10. 21:04.2, Milo Mirate (M, 21) Valdosta, GA

Top Ten Women, Valdosta's 2016 New Year's Eve 5K
  1. 22:47.6, Gracie Woods (F, 14) Broxton, GA
  2. 23:16.0, Anne Price (F, 35) Valdosta, GA
  3. 23:29.2, Kelly Davis (F, 27) Valdosta, GA
  4. 23:35.3, Lauren Bewley (F, 35) Valdosta, GA
  5. 23:37.3, Pollyanna Bass (F, 44) Pavo, GA
  6. 24:53.1, Vanessa Spry (F, 31) Valdosta, GA
  7. 25:05.7, Katie Lancaster (F, 14) Valdosta, GA
  8. 27:24.1, Kara Buescher (F, 24) Valdosta, GA
  9. 28:26.3, Amy Reese (F, 42) Valdosta, GA
  10. 29:09.8, Cindy Reese (F, 58) Macon, GA

Valdosta, Georgia, New Year's Eve 5K winners, 2012 - 2016
31 December 201217:58, Mark McLeod24:56, Martha Mazurkiewicz50
31 December 201318:04, Ryan Kelly22:30, Makenzee Page75
31 December 201416:59, Andrew Elam20:52, Makenzee Page69
31 December 201518:01, Michael Martinez22:59, Debbie Green61
31 December 201616:53, Andrew Elam22:48, Gracie Woods93


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