Phillips, Thompson Win FCA Races At Chattanooga State

Craft, Beasley Female Winners In Popular Labor Day Event

Monday, September 1, 2014 - by John Hunt

Geno Phillips and Dean Thompson didn’t have much competition Monday morning in the FCA races at Chattanooga State.

Phillips was victorious in the 10K with a time of 35 minutes and one second as he beat runner-up Andy Highlander by almost two minutes.  Highlander was timed in 36:48.

Thompson was the winner in the 5K with a time of 17 minutes, two seconds as he beat runner-up Peyton Miller by 27 seconds.

This was the 26th annual event that benefits local chapters of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.  Temperatures could have been cooler and the humidity level could have been lower, but considering it was Labor Day in Chattanooga, circumstances were about normal for a race on a flat course with lots of food and beverage waiting at the finish line.

Phillips is that 42-year-old middle school teacher who is still trying to get back in shape following a stress fracture in his hip.  He had a better than average time, but considering that he had to run virtually the whole way by himself, he was pleased with the results.

“There’s not too much to tell as I was by myself the whole way,” he said a little while after finishing.

“I wanted to dip below 35 minutes, but it was hard to keep my rhythm when I zig-zagging around runners in the 5K.  I feel like I had a pretty good run, but I should be a lot quicker in the fall when it cools off a little.  I did 12 on Saturday and another 12 yesterday, so I think I’ll take the rest of the day off,” he smiled.

Highlander, the 27-year-old civil engineer, is still focused on running a strong race at the Air Force Marathon in Dayton, Ohio on Sept. 20.  His most recent road races have been used as training runs where he’s trying to get used to holding a six-minute pace as long as possible.  He knew that battling Phillips for the overall honor was totally out of the question.

“I wasn’t racing him as I was running my marathon pace.  It felt great as I just used this race as another speed workout.  But I’m hoping to run 2:40 or better and I think that’s attainable,” he added.

Thompson will celebrate his 49th birthday on Sept. 11.  This is his ninth straight year to run this race, but the first time to win it.

“It was a little warm out there.  I had hoped to go under 17 minutes, but I didn’t quite make it.  If I’m going to win a race, this one is my pick.  I had a 5:25 first mile, but was by myself after that.  I didn’t slow down much and my pace didn’t increase either, so I’m happy,” he added.

Thompson is now working for the Run For God organization as he does marketing work in addition to starting a newsletter.  He’s also involved in a daily devotional book that will come out the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Miller is a 24-year-old MBA student at UTC.  He knew exactly what his chances were long before he reached the finish line by the tennis courts.

“I felt good today, but I had done a track meet with Dean last week and I knew what to expect.  I gave him a little rope, but I just wanted to keep him in sight.  This is my first race in a couple of months and I’m very pleased.

“My goal was the lower 17s and I gave it all I had.  I made a wrong turn near the end, but it only cost me about five or six seconds,” he explained.

While Phillips and Thompson were the overall male winners in the two races, Heritage senior Caitlin Craft was the women’s winner in the 5K with a time of 20:23.

“This was my best race of the season so far.  I have a big race on Saturday where I hope to break 20, but I wanted to get in the low 20s so the jump wouldn’t be so big.  I had a good race today, but I probably should have started out a little faster,” the slender 17-year-old said.

While Craft was the women’s 5K winner, 37-year-old Renee Beasley was the women’s winner in the 10K with a time of 49:38, which was 16th in the field of 83 finishers.

Monday’s race marked the 26th straight year that John Dixon was a participant and finished with a smile on his face like always.

Dixon is now a retired educator and coach from Polk County who is the founding member of the Porky Pig Striders.  He was running with his 12-year-old son Barton, who is now playing football at Ocoee Middle School.

“It’s just another year, so tack on about three more minutes,” he joked after finishing 237th out of 250 in the shorter race with a time of 48:18.

“There are three races I do every year, including Peachtree in Atlanta, the Karen Lawrence Run on New Year’s eve and this one.  Today I ran with Barton,” the father said proudly, noting that his son has run the last four FCA races.

Another smiling face at Monday’s gathering belonged to Louis Priddy, who started this race when he owned the Front Runner.  He’s been suffering from Bronchiectasis, which is some kind of lung disease, for the past 19 years and he doesn’t get out as often as he would like.

“I’m 78 going on 90,” the personable Priddy said while watching runners cross the finish line. 

“I just love seeing my old friends when I come to this race and I’m so thankful for Chad Varga and the fact that he was willing to keep it going when I sold the store to him.  We’ve each been the race director for 13 years now,” Priddy smiled.

(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@comcast.net)


Former Chattanooga Lookout, Corey Seager, Turns 23 Today

Before steadily hitting and fielding his way to the 2016 National League Rookie of the Year , Corey Seager was a blue-chip prospect for the Dodgers. In 2014, he played 38 games for the Chattanooga Lookouts.  Today (April 27th, Seager celebrates his 23rd birthday (yes, he's still that young), and he is well one his way to much success in Major League baseball. ... (click for more)

Randy Smith: Honoring Terry Cordell

About a year ago, members of the Chattanooga TSSAA Umpires Association voted to honor two schools in the area we serve with the Terry Cordell Memorial Sportsmanship Award; one for baseball and one for softball, named for the long-time assigner of games in the area. The 2017 winners will be announced soon, but today I wanted to let everyone know about the man the award ... (click for more)

County School Teachers To Get 3% Raise Under Balanced County School Budget

Hamilton County Schools teachers are slated to get three percent pay increases under the balanced budget approved by the School Board on Thursday afternoon. That comes on top of a two percent hike last year. Lee McDade, assistant superintendent, said a large influx of cash came from the state, and Governor Bill Haslam outlined that it was to raise the pay level for teachers. ... (click for more)

Law Enforcement Shuts Down Convenience Store Near College Hill Courts As Public Nuisance

Law enforcement on Thursday took steps to shut down a convenience store near the College Hill Courts as a public nuisance. The action was taken after District Attorney Neal Pinkston filed a petition with Criminal Court Judge Tom Greenholtz about the Westside Shop. The store is operated by Salma Ambo, and the real property is owned by AAA Investment Properties LLC. The petition ... (click for more)

White Coat Syndrome And The Medical System - And Response (2)

Today I wish to share what I am feeling as a patient in our medical system. I am too old to put on airs at this point, and this is too pervasive of a problem for me to contain.   As I enter my AARP years, I am faced with so many medical encounters that evoke all kinds of uncomfortable feelings. I dread physician’s appointments riddled with government regulatory hypocrisy, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: County Commissioners Not Getting Bang For Their School Bucks

The Hamilton County School Board passed a balanced budget to present to the County Commission at a Special Called Meeting on Thursday night. They also attached a prioritized list of $24.5 million in critical needs for the County Commission to consider that will never see the light of day. The long and short of it is easy to see -- the County Commissioners have had enough. It ... (click for more)