Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Meredith DeFranco leads a women's charge at the Chasing Jefferson Davis Marathon

Chasing Jefferson Davis MarathonIn the chaos at the end of the Rebellion of 1861-1865, it's questionable as to whether or not rebel leader Jefferson Davis had any clear plan as to where he was fleeing when United States troops arrested him in South Georgia on 10 May 1865. He could have been heading for Cuba to regroup and continue the Rebellion. Texas is also a possibility, or Mexico. His luggage ended up in Florida, which goes to show that the airlines didn't invent the art of losing suitcases.

But if Davis was indeed headed for Mexico, then it's entirely appropriate that the fourth annual Chasing Jefferson Davis Marathon was run on Saturday morning, 5 May 2018, the anniversary of a famous Mexican military victory and a day to celebrate Mexican-American culture. Meredith DeFranco of Gainesville, Florida won that Cinco de Mayo marathon by almost two kilometers, running 3:28:59. It was the second year in a row that a woman had won the race, coming after the 3:10:25 victory of Suzanne Hutchins in 2017. In fact, women athletes took the first three places (and five of the first six places) in the 2018 marathon. Jennifer Bell was overall runner-up and the first master runner in the race, running 3:38:47. Master runner Donna Hodges was third overall in 3:59:37.

Nicholas Beard was the first man in the marathon, placing fourth overall in 4:02:06. Rhett Evans was second in the men's standings and and seventh overall in 4:17:14. Larry McQuiston was the first male master and third male finisher, eighth overall in 4:22:57.

23 athletes finished the 2018 Chasing Jefferson Davis Marathon.

Top Five Women, 2018 Chasing Jefferson Davis Marathon
  1. 3:28:59, Meredith DeFranco (F, 34) Gainesville, FL
  2. 3:38:47, Jennifer Bell (F, 52)
  3. 3:59:37, Donna Hodges (F, 49)
  4. 4:05:20, Kristin Wilmot (F, 40)
  5. 4:11:11, Kendra Tippens (F, 30)

Top Five Men, 2018 Chasing Jefferson Davis Marathon
  1. 4:02:06, Nicholas Beard (M, 18)
  2. 4:17:14, Rhett Evans (M, 32)
  3. 4:22.57, Larry McQuiston (M, 52)
  4. 4:24:58, Michael Gregory (M, 42)
  5. 4:47:07, Brady Bauer (M, 21)

On his last day of flight, Jefferson Davis covered 26.2 miles from Abbeville, Georgia to the spot near Irwinville where he was arrested. But even though it's not a historic distance, there is also a 13.1-mile Chasing Jefferson Davis Half Marathon. Edward Ostrander won the shorter race for the second year in row, finishing close to a kilometer ahead of the next runner. A cross-country runner in the eighth-grade at Lee County middle school, Ostrander ran 1:46:29, an improvement of more than seven minutes over his 2017 winning time of 1:53:49.

James Meyer was the first master runner in the race, placing second overall in 1:51:44. Nancy Myrick took the women's title in the half marathon, finishing third overall in 1:54:20. Twelve-year-old Alma Ostrander, a sixth-grader on the Lee County middle school cross-country team, was second in the women's standings and fifth overall in 2:04:01. Laura Beth Johnston was the first woman master and third female finisher, sixth overall in 2:06:52.

Seventeen athletes finished the half-marathon.

Top Five Men, 2018 Chasing Jefferson Davis Half Marathon
  1. 1:46:29, Ed Ostrander (M, 14)
  2. 1:51:44, James Meyer (M, 42)
  3. 1:57:47, Carl Line (M, 57)
  4. 2:09:46, Bob Moon (M, 63)
  5. 2:15:46, Jim Russell (M, 53)

Top Five Women, 2018 Chasing Jefferson Davis Half Marathon
  1. 1:54:20, Nancy Myrick (F, 32)
  2. 2:04:01, Alma Ostrander (F, 12)
  3. 2:06:52, Laura Beth Johnston (F, 53)
  4. 2:20:33, Brook Holt (F, 20)
  5. 2:20:34, Rebecca Rhodes (F, 30)

Chasing Jefferson Davis Marathon winners, 2015 - 2018
9 May 2015Marathon3:14:03, Jack McDermott4:15:59, Christine Stahl27
Half-Marathon1:34:38, Elder Cobler1:48:26, Allison Cauthen15
14 May 2016Marathon3:09:22, Kerry Hobbs3:29:42, Elizabeth Magato39
Half-Marathon1:23:02, Hunter Tucker1:28:10, Kelli Squires19
29 April 2017Marathon3:10:46, Kevin Sweeny3:10:25, Suzanne Hutchins37
Half-Marathon1:53:49, Edward Ostrander2:02:53, Betsy Goslin15
5 May 2018Marathon4:02:06, Nicholas Beard3:28:59, Meredith DeFranco23
Half-Marathon1:46:29, Edward Ostrander1:54:20, Nancy Myrick17


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