Paul Stuart and John Gilpin are a couple of UTC runners from Nashville who do quite a bit of training together.
Stuart is a 20-year-old sophomore while Gilpin is a 21-year-old senior. Both are exceptionally fast runners and both have won local road races this year with Stuart taking the cake at the Chattanooga Chase after Gilpin prevailed in the Chickamauga Chase.
Neither are running indoor track for the Mocs this semester, so they opted for a workout in the downtown area on New Year's Eve and it was a productive run as they finished one-two in the 35th Annual Karen Lawrence Run For St.
These two fellows ran together for most of the first three miles, but Stuart got serious in the fourth mile as they came back over the Walnut Street Bridge for the second time and he was the winner of the 4.2-mile race with a time of 23 minutes, 51 seconds.
Gilpin was a close second in 23:54 while Caleb Morgan, Tommy Barker and Seth Ruhling were all within striking distance as they finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively, with times of 23:56, 23:58 and 24:00.
Lanni Marchant, that petite 29-year-old attorney who challenged for the win a year ago before finishing second in 23:58, was eighth overall on Tuesday night as she finished with a time of 24:08, despite being sick for the last 10 days or so.
Jessica Marlier was the runner-up in 24:38 as she was 12th overall in the field that included 358 runners. Jennifer Stocks was the third lady and 18th overall in 26:31 while Sarah Woerner was 19th overall and the fourth woman with a 26:51.
Jeanette Wilson was the fifth female and 25th overall in 28:22.
The weather was about perfect for this race that started back in 1979 when Karen Lawrence fired the gun for the inaugural event that was held at midnight that year.
It was cool, but not cold. Most of the faster runners up front were wearing shorts and singlets while some of the other less-serious participants opted for tights and long sleeves.
"We picked up the pace on the second loop," Stuart explained shortly after his work was done.
"We pulled away as we came back across the bridge, but it was a smooth run and I felt really good. I just wanted to come out and have a good time, but it's always fun to run with my teammate and good friend John," the accounting major added.
Gilpin really didn't know who would prevail in this race, but his goal was to get either first or second. Needless to say, he was all smiles as he watched other runners cross the finish line on Broad Street behind the Sports Barn.
"It felt good out there. We tried to take control of this race early, but we worked together after we took the lead. Our goal was to win and to get a good, hard run and that's what we did. He threw in a good surge as we crossed the river on the way back and I just couldn't respond. But it was a good day for the Mocs," he added.
Marchant has had a spectacular fall with her running. She's from Canada and she broke the Canadian women's marathon record with a blistering time of 2:28:00 at the Toronto Marathon on Oct. 28. The old record of 2:28:36 had stood since 1985.
"It was a good run as it was nice to get in a good workout with people around. I felt a lot smoother than I did last year, but i was no where near the front like I was last year. Those younger guys were just too quick for me," she laughed.
"But for what I was hoping to accomplish tonight, I'm really happy with the results," she added.
Marlier has had her own outstanding fall with personal records virtually every weekend, including a PR of 2:52:59 at the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon on November 9.
"I'm really happy with my results as I had no serious expectations for this race. I just wanted to run strong and smart and to cap off 2013 in style.
"I tried to brace myself for the hills, but I'm a much stronger runner going down," she smiled.
While Stuart and Marchant were the overall winners, Jan Gautier and Ryan Shrum were the Masters winners with times of 28:44 and 25:30, respectively.
Marty Haynes was one of the participants who was shaking his head before the start, worried that he would finish dead last. He didn't exactly set the woods on fire with his time of 48:35, but he was far from last as he finished 303rd out of 358.
Ruhling and Marchant were the defending champions.
Go to www.sceniccitymultisportllc.com/results/ for results from Tuesday's race.
(email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)