Knoxville's Eric Nelius Wins Riverbend 10K Run

Chattanooga Newcomer Lindsay Mies Wins Women's Title Saturday

Saturday, June 17, 2017 - by John Hunt
Ryan Shrum captured second place in the 10K with a time of 37:50. Lindsay Mies was the women's firs place finisher with a time of 43:45.
Ryan Shrum captured second place in the 10K with a time of 37:50. Lindsay Mies was the women's firs place finisher with a time of 43:45.
- photo by Dennis Norwood

It was somewhat cool at daybreak, but it got hot and muggy later as almost 400 runners gathered under the Ogiati Bridge on Riverfront Parkway for the 35th running of the Riverbend Run.

In other words, typical weather for anything in downtown Chattanooga during the middle of June.

The event, which included a 5K and 10K races as well as a one-mile fun run/walk, was sponsored this year by the Center for Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics.

Knoxville’s Eric Nelius was the overall winner in the 6.2-mile race as he covered the distance in 35 minutes, 52 seconds while Lindsay Mies was the women’s winner in the longer race as she finished sixth overall in the field of 154 finishers with a time of 43:43.

Jessie Martinez was the overall winner in the 5K with a time of 17:20 while Jessica Marlier was the women’s 5K winner as she finished fifth overall in 18:57.

While Nelius finished all by himself in the longer run, Ryan Shrum was a distant runner-up with a time of 37:50 while Adam Veron was even further back in third place with a time of 40:47.

Mies averaged 7:03 per mile in winning the women’s division an the $100 that went with it in addition to two VIP tickets for Saturday’s final evening at the Riverbend Festival.

Becca Umbarger and Lisa Logan finished back-to-back in 11th and 12th with times of 45:45 and 45:56, respectively.

Jasper Wilson was the 5K overall runner-up in 17:51 while Brian Martinez, Jessie’s younger brother, was third in 17:54.

Jennifer Huwe was 12th overall in 20:16 for the second female finisher while Dianna Leun was 15th overall and third among the ladies in 20:22.

It’s been a busy spring for Nelius, who celebrated his 22nd birthday on Saturday in addition to his biggest road race victory.  He just graduated from UT-Knoxville last month with a degree in nuclear engineering and he’s now working as a research assistant in Oak Ridge.

He and his family arrived in Chattanooga late Friday and stayed right down the street at the Spring Hill Suites by Marriott.  They were close enough to hear the musical entertainment at Riverbend, but he decided to stay at home rather than be a party goer.

Turned out to be a great decision for the slender Knoxville gentleman.

“I ran the Expo 10K a few weeks back and barely broke 38 as I really got it handed to me that day, but I had a great race today and I wanted that cash,” he said shortly after crossing the finish line.

“I’ve never won a race on this big a scale and it’s kind of exciting, but I didn’t go out and party last night and it paid off.  I had a nice lead at the two-mile mark and just tried to hold my pace the rest of the way,” he added.

Shrum never challenged Nelius for the overall spot, but the 49-year-old ice machine salesman had more than his share of company from Veron for the first half of the race.  Turns out a strategic move up Battery Place about the three-mile mark may have been the difference.

“He’s about 30 years younger than me and he wasn’t challenged at all,” Shrum said in regard to his race with Nelius.

“I ran with Adam for most of the first half, but I started to pull away a little when we started up that hill.  I knew it was coming and tried to take advantage.  I would have been happy with anything under 39 minutes and I was able to do that, so I’m pleased.  My time was about the same as last year, so I’ll take it,” he added.

Veron somehow managed to get off course for a minute and probably added nearly a quarter-mile extra to his run, but the 33-year-old who works for U.S. Express was still happy considering the overall circumstances.

“I had to back track a little bit as I gave myself an extra two-tenths, but I guess I should have stayed with this guy,” he said as he pointed toward Shrum.

“I saw him take off up that hill and I never saw him again.  I had hoped to be a little faster, but considering the heat and the hills, I’m happy,” he expressed.

Mies, pronounced Mees, is a 29-year-old stay at home mom who is originally from Trinidad.  Her husband is from Chattanooga and they just moved back about three weeks ago.  Her husband is the one who told her about Saturday’s race.

“My husband saw the race online and I figured I’d check it out since we just live down the street.  It was a nice race and I had a good run.  I’m excited about that,” she said when informed about the cash prize in addition to the two VIP tickets for Saturday’s final round at Riverbend.

Jessie Martinez will be a junior at Murray County High School in the fall and he’s a standout on the Indians track team.  It’s been a while since the 17-year-old speedster ran a road race, but made it all worth his while on a hot, muggy morning.

“It was alright, but my time was too slow,” he said shortly after finishing the 3.1-mile race.

“I haven’t run a race in what seems like forever as the only racing I did his year has been on the track.  I’ve been doing some trail running, but not much on the roads.  I was winning this race last year when I stepped on a rock and didn’t finish, but I’m happy with today’s race,” he said.

Marlier probably could have won either race, but she chose the shorter race with the same prize package.

“It was a good run and we were on pace to break 18 at  the start, but I didn’t feel so good at the top of the first climb.  I just tried to hold on after that.  I had a good effort and that hundred bucks will buy gas for a couple of weeks.  Marathon training starts in July, so we’ll see what happens with that,” she concluded with a smile.

Saturday’s races drew 227 finishers in the 5K and another 154 for the 10K.

John Gilpin and Emily Bell were the defending champions for the 10K and Kevin Huwe and Keely Stewart for the 5K, but none were present on Saturday to defend their titles.

The next race on the Chattanooga Track Club schedule will also be held at the same location as the annual Waterfront Triathlon will be held on Sunday, June 25.

(Email John Hunt at  nomarathonmoose@gmail.com)

Lindsay Mies, rear, was the women's first place finisher in the 10K with a time of 43:45. Tami Byron, front, completes the 5K.
Lindsay Mies, rear, was the women's first place finisher in the 10K with a time of 43:45. Tami Byron, front, completes the 5K.
- Photo2 by Dennis Norwood


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