Isaac Pacheco, Jenn Stocks Win Chickamauga Chase 15K

Popular 9.3-Mile Race Held At Chickamauga Park On Saturday

Saturday, April 19, 2014 - by John Hun

The third time was the charm for 19-year-old Isaac Pacheco at the Chickamauga Chase.

Pacheco had finished third for the last two years in this popular 15K race that’s been held at Chickamauga Battlefield for the past 46 years, but he was more than ready as he captured first place in the challenging 9.3-mile race with a time of 52 minutes, 36 seconds.

Hugh Enicks, who has had more than his share of success in the park as a three-time winner of the marathon, seems to get faster as he gets older as he finished as the runner-up in 55:57. 

Mark Malecky and Jeff Gaither followed in third and fourth with times of 57:31 and 58:34, respectively, as the top four were the only ones to break an hour on a near-perfect morning.

Jeremy Miller completed the top five overall males with a time of 60:19.

Jenn Stocks was the female 15K champion after finishing 10th overall in the field that included 432 finishers with a time of one hour, two minutes and 52 seconds, which calculates to a 6:45 pace.

Jeanette Wilson wasn’t far behind as the was 13th in 1:04:05 to finish as the ladies runner-up while Misty Griffin was third in 1:05:22, which was 18th.  Janis Kelman and Terri Tubbs completed the top five women with times of 1:07:18 and 1:08:27, which were 24th and 29th place overall.

Thomas Barker posted a time of 16:15 to win the overall title in the 5K while 10-year-old Emrick Garrett was the female 5K winner in 22:25, which was 25th in the field totaling 464 finishers.

Pacheco is now a student at Dalton State who runs track and cross country there.  He was at the University of the South on Friday for a track meet where he finished second in the 3,000 run with a time of 9:15.  Friday’s effort didn’t seem to have much negative effect on Saturday’s race.

“I had that track meet on Friday at Sewanee, but I came out here today to see what I could do,” he said shortly after finishing and not even breathing hard.

“Some of the faster runners from last year weren’t here today and I thought I might win.  I felt pretty good the whole time as I basically took off around the third mile.  It would have been nice to have some company as I ran by myself after the 5K runners turned around.

“Last year was when I got my personal best in the low 51s, but today was more about place than time,” he nodded.

Enicks is certainly no stranger to big-time races and big-time results.  He wasn’t the least bit disappointed with a second-place finish.

“The young guy took off at the start, but at least it was a college kid who beat me today,” the Red Bank ROTC commander and coach explained afterward.

“I think I ran about two minutes faster than last year.  I was hoping to have someone to work with, but I was by myself most of the way.  I wanted a time between 55 and 56 minutes, so this is exactly what I was hoping for.  I know this course like the back of my hand and I know where I can relax and where I need to push hard,” Enicks added.

Malecky is a 36-year-old chemical engineer for Wacker Corporation and the husband of the Chattanooga Track Club’s manager Stacey.  He didn’t make the decision to enter until the day before, but he too was really pleased with the results.

“I didn’t plan to run until Friday, but I ran a pretty even pace.  I just wanted to run strong and go under an hour, so I’m really pleased.  That’s close to my PR,” the slender fellow smiled.

Stocks is a 23-year-old graduate of Berry College who is now in the Physical Therapy program at UTC.  Saturday was her first race since she posted a 3:09 at the Snickers Marathon in Albany, Ga. a few weeks ago.

“It was a fun run as this was my first race since the marathon.  I did better than I thought I’d do as my goal was something around 64 minutes.  I don’t run many 15Ks and I didn’t know the course at all.  Some of those hills kind of surprised me, but we registered to run this morning,” the former resident of Acworth, Ga. added.

Wilson is a 33-year-old registered nurse who moved to Chattanooga in 2012 and works at Siskin.

“I like to register late in case I oversleep,” she began with a laugh.

“It was hillier than I expected, so I started fast and slowed down,” she added.

Jennie Gentry has been running for about five years and has run this race several times, but she was as happy as anyone at the finish  line after recording her third personal record of the month after finishing with a time of 1:20:08, which was second in her age group and 125th overall.

“This was a PR by at least four minutes as I had a 1:24 last year.  I just felt really good the whole time, but one of the biggest changes I’ve made is that I just don’t walk during the race.  I do that when I’m finished, but I’m going to run the Raccoon Mountain Trail Marathon next weekend,” the 45-year-old day spa manager smiled.

Bill Brock, the current president of the Chattanooga Track Club, was another one with a huge smile on his face after posting a personal best  time.

“It was just an awesome race as it was a perfect day to run.  This was a PR by 25 seconds, so I’m happy.

Barker is a Red Bank graduate who is now an assistant coach at Tennessee Wesleyan after competing there in track and cross country.  He’s been busy with his coaching responsibility and hasn’t raced since New Year’s Eve at the Karen Lawrence Run for St. Jude.

“I was shooting for a 16:30, so I’m really pleased with a 16:15,” he suggested.

“I thought there would be more runners here today, but it was a good test for me as I haven’t raced in more than three months,” he explained.

George Skonberg, who has been the race director for this event for more almost 25 years, was honored at the awards ceremony with a beautiful picture of Chickamauga Park and a plaque thanking him for his time and effort for so many years.

Saturday's race also marked the 46th consecutive year that Jack McFarland was present and competed.  The 79-year-old Decatur, Ga. doesn't run like he used to, but he still walked the 5K and had a huge grin on his face when he finished to a big cheer in 58:19.

(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@comcast.net)


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