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
- 16:52.7, Andrew Elam (M, 18) Valdosta, GA
- 17:39.4, Joshua Hall (M, 22) Valdosta, GA
- 18:42.1, Quin McGlamery (M, 16) Valdosta, GA
- 18:48.1, Dan Butzin (M, 31) Valdosta, GA
- 19:01.6, Ryan Kelly (M, 38) Lake Park, GA
- 19:44.0, Nick Rosatti (M, 20) Hahira, GA
- 20:23.9, James Marino (M, 38) Valdosta, GA
- 21:01.8, James Tracy (M, 35) Valdosta, GA
- 21:02.3, John H. Lewis, Jr. (M, 36) Naylor, GA
- 21:04.2, Milo Mirate (M, 21) Valdosta, GA
Top Ten Women, Valdosta's 2016 New Year's Eve 5K
- 22:47.6, Gracie Woods (F, 14) Broxton, GA
- 23:16.0, Anne Price (F, 35) Valdosta, GA
- 23:29.2, Kelly Davis (F, 27) Valdosta, GA
- 23:35.3, Lauren Bewley (F, 35) Valdosta, GA
- 23:37.3, Pollyanna Bass (F, 44) Pavo, GA
- 24:53.1, Vanessa Spry (F, 31) Valdosta, GA
- 25:05.7, Katie Lancaster (F, 14) Valdosta, GA
- 27:24.1, Kara Buescher (F, 24) Valdosta, GA
- 28:26.3, Amy Reese (F, 42) Valdosta, GA
- 29:09.8, Cindy Reese (F, 58) Macon, GA
|Valdosta, Georgia, New Year's Eve 5K winners, 2012 - 2016|
|31 December 2012||17:58, Mark McLeod||24:56, Martha Mazurkiewicz||50|
|31 December 2013||18:04, Ryan Kelly||22:30, Makenzee Page||75|
|31 December 2014||16:59, Andrew Elam||20:52, Makenzee Page||69|
|31 December 2015||18:01, Michael Martinez||22:59, Debbie Green||61|
|31 December 2016||16:53, Andrew Elam||22:48, Gracie Woods||93|
- Complete results of Valdosta's 2016 New Year's Eve 5K (Courtesy of A Course/Line, LLC)
- 2015 story, “One last win in 2015 for Martinez and Green”
- 2014 story, “New year, new records for Elam and Page”
- 2013 story, “Kelly and Page headline a New Year's Runnin' Eve in Valdosta”
- 2012 story, “In Valdosta, McLeod and Mazurkiewicz ring out the old year with new wins”
- Find upcoming races in the region during the new year using the Trouble Afoot! calendar