Thursday, June 22, 2017

Rodgers and Dove rule the roads in the world's Watermelon Capital

2017 Watermelon Road Race logoCordele, Georgia is the watermelon capital of the world.

Just about anyone from Cordele will tell you that. Who is to say they are wrong? Or right? Other cities may claim the title as well, but there isn't a United Nations commission to decide these things. In support of Cordele's right to watermelon capital status, watermelons are actually grown in the area (although most people drive by too quickly on Interstate 75 to see any of the melons). Cordele is also the home of Watermelon Capital Speedway, and the city celebrated its 68th annual Watermelon Festival in 2017. Cordele is also the home of the Watermelon Road Race.

The race has been contested at a variety of distances over the years, but on Saturday morning, 17 June 2017, the race was at five kilometer. Cordele's own William Rodgers won that 5K by over a minute, running 19:06. Juan Garcia of Cordele took second in 20:09. Cordele's Jerard Castro edged Aultman Hurt for third, 20:37 to 20:40.

Kimberly Dove of Byrom, Georgia took the women's title, placing sixth overall in 21:39. Hazlehurst, Georgia athlete Marie Ann Escobar, a rising senior on the cross-country team at Jeff Davis High School, was second in the women's standings and eighth overall in 22:00. Vienna, Georgia's Caitlin Mixon, the 2016 Watermelon Race women's champion, was the third woman and ninth overall in 22:09.

Harold Benton of Leesburg, Georgia was the fastest master runner in the race and the eighth male finisher, coming in eleventh overall in 22:36. Karen Stewart of Dawson, Georgia was the top woman master and sixth female finisher, 15th overall in 26:00.

89 athletes finished Cordele's 2017 Watermelon Road Race.

Top Ten Men, 2017 Cordele Watermelon 5K
  1. 19:05.90, William Rodgers (M, 29) Cordele, GA
  2. 20:08.64, Juan Garcia (M, 33) Cordele, GA
  3. 20:36.61, Jerard Castro (M, 19) Cordele, GA
  4. 20:39.29, Aultman Hurt (M, 17) Cordele, GA
  5. 21:06.61, Bucky Thompson (M, 34) Byromville, GA
  6. 21:57.82, Robert Bishop (M, 17) Pitts, GA
  7. 22:35.30, Cameron Clark (M, 27) Rochelle, GA
  8. 22:35.93, Harold Benton (M, 60) Leesburg, GA
  9. 23:47:95, Julian Strickland (M, 52) Leesburg, GA
  10. 26:08.37, Isaac Rhodes (M, 15) Pitts, GA

Top Ten Women, 2017 Cordele Watermelon 5K
  1. 21:38.61, Kimberly Dove (F, 29) Byron, GA
  2. 21:59.92, Marie Escobar (F, 17) Hazlehurst, GA
  3. 22:08.78, Caitlin Mixon (F, 27) Vienna, GA
  4. 23:24.92, Ame Gibbs (F, 39) Cordele, GA
  5. 25:44.41, Brooke Marshall (F, 33) Cordele, GA
  6. 25:59.51, Karen Stewart (F, 52) Dawson, GA
  7. 26:19.89, Jessica Childers (F, 31) Leslie, GA
  8. 26:23.46, Diane Heath (F, 47) Leesburg, GA
  9. 27:07.46, Sofia Gevara (F, 32) Cordele, GA
  10. 27:27.99, Georgia York (F, 43) Cordele, GA

Cordele Watermelon 5K
14 June 200810K33:46, David Marley51:34, Elizabeth Lambert45
5K20:37, Patrick Calcutt22:25, Neeli Fortson70
13 June 200912K43:34, Austin McDonald60:35, Cheryl Vail63
5K17:47, Nathan Norton24:35, Katherine McGarr84
12 June 201012K54:24, Bret Campbell62:39, Emily Parker59
5K19:00, Nathan Norton22:12, Molly Smith95
10 June 201110.5K45:54, Sean McConnell51:16, Leah Ellis25
5K18:47, Masked Avenger24:50, Heidi Taylor64
9 June 201210.2K
8 June 20135K18:54, Robert Bledsoe21:18, Katherine McGarr103
7 June 20145K18:45, Hunter Kimball24:41, Lauren Pollock78
27 June 20155K21:21, Robert McCoy25:49, Charlene Pennymon67
18 June 20165K19:44, Robert McCoy24:02, Caitlin Mixon59
17 June 20175K19:06, William Rodgers21:39, Kimberly Dove89