Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Kemp and Blackmon keep winning at Jay's Celebrate Freedom 5K

2017 Celebrate Freedom 5K logoMicah Kemp was a schoolboy cross-country runner at Jay High School when he first started winning the Celebrate Freedom 5K. He continued to win the annual Jay, Florida event every year, even as a member of the University of West Florida men's cross-country team. At the eighteenth annual Celebrate Freedom 5K on Tuesday morning, 4 July 2017, Kemp's coach at UWF showed up, Caleb Carmichael. Carmichael had won the race in 2012, back before Kemp had begun his streak of victories. It didn't matter. Kemp won again, posting an 18:11 for the 3.1-mile course through the Panhandle countryside, while Carmichael was second in 18:26. In the women's competition, Olivia Blackmon was getting started with her own streak. A rising frosh on the cross-country squad at T. R. Miller High in Brewton, Alabama, Blackmon had won the women's title at the 2016 Celebrate Freedom 5K. Blackmon was the women's champ again in 2017, placing eighth overall in 21:09.

While Kemp and Carmichael battled on the homestretch, cotton fields on one side and peanuts growing on the other, they were trailed by Casey Delong. Delong, a rising senior on the Pace High cross-country team, had finished runner-up in 2015 and fifth overall in 2016. In the 2017 race Delong was third overall in 18:51, his fastest time yet in the race. Matt Kelly was the fastest master runner in the 5K, placing seventh overall in 20:11.

Women's champ Olivia Blackmon wasn't the only TR Miller High athlete in the race. Rising eighth-grader Jordan Thompson was also in the race, finishing second in the women's standings and eighteenth overall in 23:03. Ten-year-old Elyse Carmichael of Pensacola, Florida was third on the women's side and twentieth overall in 23:50. Lori Short was the top woman master and eighth female finisher, 31st overall in 25:14.

113 athletes finished the 2017 Celebrate Freedom 5K.

Top Ten Men, 2017 Celebrate Freedom 5K
  1. 18:11, Micah Kemp (M, Overall)
  2. 18:26, Caleb Carmichael (M, 30-34)
  3. 18:51, Casey Delong (M, 15-19)
  4. 19:07, Derick Dickson (M, 35-39)
  5. 19:16, Rider Jernigan (M, 15-19)
  6. 19:36, Johnny Barnes (M, 20-24)
  7. 20:11, Matt Kelly (M, Masters)
  8. 21:50, Tanner McDaniel (M, 15-19)
  9. 21:58, Doug Darby (M, Grandmasters)
  10. 22:05, Billy Bryant (M, Senior Grandmasters)

Top Ten Women, 2017 Celebrate Freedom 5K
  1. 21:09, Olivia Blackmon (F, Overall)
  2. 23:03, Jordann Thompson (F, 13-14)
  3. 23:50, Elyse Carmichael (F, 00-10)
  4. 24:03, Jennifer Lewis (F, 30-34)
  5. 24:28, Sarah Cannon (F, 15-19)
  6. 24:26, Jessica Thornton (F, 20-24)
  7. 24:37, Leslie Specht (F, 35-39)
  8. 25:15, Lori Short (F, Grandmasters)
  9. 28:20, Lisa Lash (F, 55-59)
  10. 28:22, Renee Crawford (F, Masters)

Some past winners of the Jay, Florida, Celebrate Freedom 5K
4 July 2011
4 July 201216:42, Caleb Carmichael21:49, Sandy Ebanks66
4 July 2013
4 July 201417:00, Micah Kemp21:19, Susan Smith97
4 July 201516:30, Micah Kemp23:57, Tarah Townsend72
4 July 201617:42, Micah Kemp21:30, Olivia Blackmon89
4 July 201718:11, Micah Kemp21:09, Olivia Blackmon113
If anyone can point me in the direction of the names and times of race
winners for 2000 to 2011 and 2013, I would like to include them here.


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