Ray Kellum was the winner at the annual Signal Mountain Pie Run Saturday morning, but he was almost 10 minutes behind the first finisher.
It was a 10K prediction run and Kellum crossed the line in 45:37 after predicting a 45:38. Lisa Becht was almost as close with a finish time of 47:49 compared to a prediction of 47:50.
Based on the times recorded at the finish, which carries those seconds out to the hundredths, Kellum was the winner of the $50 by the most slim of margins.
Patrick Hall, who was the first person to finish with a sparkling time of 34:42, was third in the prediction category after his time was just two seconds off.
Last Saturday’s event was the Joe Johnson 10K at Moccasin Bend, which is the fastest 6.2-mile course on the Chattanooga Track Club schedule. The Signal Mountain 10K may be the hardest as it includes a couple of significant hills in addition to several others along the way that eventually take their toll.
While Hall was first in 34:42, Thomas Barker was the runner-up in 35:15 while Joseph Goetz was third in 35:37.
Rebecca Greenwall was the first female as she cruised to a ninth-place finish in 39:22. Amanda Tate, who used to be a Lynch, was the second female in 40:53 while Jan Gautier was third in 42:50.
The top three guys were together through the first mile, which includes a nice climb onto East Brow Road. Hall picked up the pace at that point and ran by himself the rest of the way as he captured his second-straight win on this challenging course.
“It was nice to have a chilly day for this race and I think I was only two seconds off my predicted time,” the 28-year-old TVA employee said afterward in the warmth of the gym at the Signal Mountain Athletic Club, formerly the junior high school.
“Our first mile was pretty slow, so I started picking it up because that last hill hurts so bad and I really didn’t want to be racing with anyone when we got to that point. I figured it would crush me, so I wanted a nice lead in case I had to really slow down.
“I like this race as I’ll be putting away this apple pie the rest of the day,” Hall smiled.
Barker is a 2008 graduate of Red Bank who just graduated from Tennessee Wesleyan in May and is currently working on his masters degree. The 23-year-old Barker may have forgotten just how tough this course can be.
“It’s been a while since I raced up here, but I think I need to work on my predictions a little more as I was a lot slower than what I predicted. We had a nice group at the start, but Patrick started pulling away.
“I stayed back with Andy Highlander, but I knew that hill was coming. It was hard work,” he nodded.
Goetz is a 29-year-old financial consultant for TVA who was just happy to finally reach the finish line.
“I’m just glad I made it to the finish,” he began.
“This is my first 10K in four years. Crossing the finish line was fun. You know that the big hill is coming at the end, but it was all of those others in the middle that made it hard,” Goetz explained later.
Greenwall is a 19-year-old UTC runner who transferred from Georgia Southern after a brilliant career at Baylor. She red-shirted for cross country, but she’s gearing up for track in the spring. She earned her first road race win back in February when she won the Scenic City Half-Marathon.
“I think I was running by myself most of the way, but I just used this as a nice tempo run. It was hilly, so it wasn’t a good course if you wanted to run a fast time. But for a nice, cool fall morning, it was a really nice run.
“Mentally, the hill on the way back wasn’t as hard as the one going out. I guess we were warmed up by then and knew what to expect,” she said after completing her second 10K ever.
Tate is another former UTC great who was celebrating her 35th birthday on Saturday. She earned All-America honors running for the Lady Mocs back in those days, but she spends much of her time chasing three-year-old twin sons when she has time off from her job as a physical therapist.
She is also the proud mother of a seven-month-old son, so her time was significantly faster than last year when she was five months pregnant.
“I think I was second last year behind Anneli,” Amanda said, referring to Anneli Morrison’s winning time of 37:50, which was third a year ago.
“These UTC girls are just too young and too fast, but this is my home course and that’s why I ran today. I just wish it had been a little bit flatter,” Tate smiled.
Betty Holder is a 53-year-old sales manager for a computer software company who had a nice leisurely run to finish in 60 minutes, 13 seconds.
That was after recording a personal best time of 13:47 in the Beach To Battleship Triathlon last Saturday, which is the Ironman distance that includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a marathon.
Not only was this week’s run commendable because of last week’s race, but when you consider she had a bike wreck at mile nine, Saturday’s time was a true testament of just tough and competitive she really is.
“I think I predicted a 59:30 and I may have won had I not stopped and walked off a side stitch along the way. This is a good race,” she added.
Ryan Shrum had a similar story to Holder.
Last Saturday, he had a personal best time of 37:27 at the Joe Johnson Pumpkin 10K before leading the 3:40 pace group in Sunday’s 7 Bridges Marathon. He finished in 3:39:57. He had a time of 38:44 this week and is hoping to break three hours at the Chickamauga Marathon in two weeks.
“It was kind of nice running without a watch. This has been a great year for me running wise and I’m looking for good things at Chickamauga,” the 45-year-old ice machine repairman explained.
Jennie Henry is a 49-year-old mother of six who ran her first 10K on Saturday. She was running with Aaron Mercer and admitted later that she would have run much slower than her 54:15 had she been running by herself.
“It was hard. I’ve run a lot of shorter races, but never a 10K. And I don’t even like apple pie. But the fact that it was only $10 and it’s held here on Signal Mountain is the reason I’m supporting the cause. It would have been a lot nicer if we could just finish at the bottom of that last hill,” she added with a laugh.
SATURDAY’S RACE benefited the Mountain Education Foundation, which funs different projects at the Signal Mountain public schools.
VIRTUALLY EVERY runner left with an apple pie from the Bread Basket in Walden. There were also a host of door prizes from Front Runner and Fast Break as well.
THE CHICKAMAUGA Marathon is the next event on the Chattanooga Track Club schedule and will be held in two weeks at Chickamauga Park.
THE BAYLOR GIRLS cross country team served as volunteers at one of the water stops. They will be in Nashville next Saturday as they attempt to win another state championship at Percy Warner Park.
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)