Stuart, Marshall Win Scenic City Half-Marathon Titles

Joseph Goetz Beats Younger Brother Daniel In 5K Race

Saturday, February 22, 2014 - by John Hunt

Those dedicated runners who gathered at Finley Stadium for Saturday’s running of the Scenic City Half-Marathon and 5K couldn’t have asked for better weather.

Temperatures were in the mid 40s with clear skies and lots of sunshine.  Even the wind along Riverfront Parkway that can be a real pain at times seemed to remain calm for the most part.

A total of 1,245 runners finished the two events, including 852 in the 13.1-mile race and another 393 in the shorter 3.1-mile test.

Paul Stuart and Sydney Marshall, a couple of really fast college students, were the overall winners in the longer race while Joseph Goetz and Betsy Heines were tops in the 5K.

Stuart, a 20-year-old sophomore accounting major at UTC who’s from Brentwood, totally ran away with the longer race as he averaged 5:29 per mile in posting a winning time of one hour, 11 minutes and 49 seconds.

Runner-up Jack Findley was exactly three minutes behind while defending champion Geno Phillips claimed third place in 1:15:53.  John Sillery and Ryan Shrum completed the top five with times of 1:19:55 and 1:20:22, respectively.

Sydney Marshall, a slender 22-year-old senior at the University of Georgia who’s from Alpharetta, was the class of the women’s field as she finished eighth overall in one hour, 22 minutes and 27 seconds.

Her margin of victory was even greater than Stuart’s as the female runner-up Jeanette Wilson finished almost 10 minutes back in 36th overall with a time of 1:32:06.

Sarah Eldridge was the third female in 1:33:38 while Chelsea Morris was fourth in 1:33:46 and Mindy Freeman fifth in 1:34:51.

The 5K race turned into a family affair as Joseph Goetz  beat younger brother Daniel  by three seconds with times of 16:04 and 16:07.  Hugh Enicks was a distant third in 17:39.

Betsy Heines was the first female in the 5K and 10th overall in 20:05 while Gracie Pendleton and Jillian Lentz followed with times of 20:52 and 21:03.

Both races started on the field at Finley Stadium with the half-marathon taking a right on Riverfront Parkway and going out of town toward Amnicola Highway.  The course turned back to the riverwalk just past the five-mile mark and came back toward town before going through the art district and crossing the Walnut Street bridge.

A right turn onto Frazier led to a nice hill coming back across Veterans Bridge before turning back onto Riverfront and heading back to Finley for the finish at midfield.

The 5K followed a similar course, but turned around about a quarter mile past MLK Boulevard and came back to the end.

Stuart was the winner at the Karen Lawrence Run for St. Jude on New Year’s Eve, but he proved on Saturday that he has the leg speed and endurance to do well at longer distances as well.

“It was lonely out there, but what a great day to run as the weather was just perfect,” he expressed shortly after his run ended.

“I’ve never run a half-marathon before, so this is my personal record, but I just wanted to see what I could do.  I just tried to run even splits, but I really liked the course.  There were a few hills in miles 8, 10 and 11 that were killer though,” he said with a smile.

Findley is a 27-year-old general manager for a crane company in Jackson, Tenn., whose wife is from Chattanooga. 

“I knew there would be a good crowd as this is a popular race, but I went out faster than I was expecting.  I felt good, although I was all by myself after the fourth or fifth mile.  I got a PR today, but I just kept telling myself to hang in there and not give up the pace I was on.

“I really felt like slowing down after the third mile as the course can be deceiving.  There are spots you think are flat when you’re really climbing a hill.  But I ran really hard today and I’m happy,” he added.

Marshall and her boyfriend Kyle James made the trek from Athens just for this race, but they were planning to spend the weekend in Chattanooga and celebrate her win on Saturday night.

“This has been a fun weekend trip and it was a pretty flat course,” she said as she took off her left shoe to reveal a bloody sock from a cut on her heal.  “I guess I need to get some new shoes as they cut my feet.

“I just wanted to be the female overall winner and to get a personal record.  That’s what I did by more than a minute.  I just tried to keep a consistent pace as long as possible and to push as hard as I could in the last three miles.  I didn’t see any other women around me the whole time, so I was pretty sure that I was going to win,” the senior majoring in communications and public health added with a smile.

The two Goetz brothers ran together for most of the 5K, but older brother Joseph made a move near the end that younger brother Daniel couldn’t answer.

“It was a good race as I ran with my brother the whole way,” Joseph began.

“We were both surging back and forth and he almost broke me, but I made my move just before we turned into the stadium and he couldn’t catch me.  He just started running again, so I probably won’t be able to beat him in a month,” the 30-year-old financial consultant for TVA explained.

Daniel is a Chattanooga State student who’s working toward being a physician’s assistant.  He too felt like running with his brother was a worthwhile endeavor.

“He threw in a surge toward the end and I didn’t respond soon enough.  I was hoping to beat him today, but I just started running again in January.  We had a good time out there today,” Daniel nodded.

Jeff Stracener is a 57-year-old TVA retiree who has been running about 35 years.  He looks like Forrest Gump with his long beard and he runs like him too.

“It was about what I wanted today,” Stracener said after finishing 33rd overall in 1:31:11 and first in the men’s 55-59 age group.

“It was fun running with the younger guys and I even beat a few of them.  I’d like to break 1:30 again one day,  but I’ll have to do more homework,” he said.

Austin McCowan is an 11-year-old sixth grader from Cookeville who made the trip to Chattanooga with his father Richard to run the half-marathon.

“I’ve run three or four halves and I was running with my father before I pulled away at the fifth mile,” he said after finishing 251st in 1:52:51.  His father slowed down a bit and enjoyed the route as finished a ways back in 1:59:30, which was 356th overall.

Jeannie Gentry just turned 45 on Tuesday and she celebrated with a personal record in the half.

“I broke two hours today for the first time and I’ve never felt better.  The weather was awesome and I really liked finishing at the 50-yard line.  This is a PR by at least five minutes, but I felt good the whole way,” she smiled.

(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@comcast.net)


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