Ryan McGinnis really just had one goal in mind when he headed downtown Saturday morning for the annual Riverbend Run races and that was to repeat as the overall 10K winner.
The 36-year-old speedster was able to do just that as he covered the out-and-back 6.2-mile race in 35 minutes, 49 seconds to defeat runner-up and training partner Owen Speer by 23 seconds.
Chad Dean was third overall in 36:20 while Van Dick and Matt Wallace completed the top five overall with times of 36:28 and 40:25, respectively.
Kristen Bonsor was the women’s overall winner as this petite 26-year-old posted a time of 41 minutes, seven seconds to finish seventh overall.
Knoxville’s Roberta Sturm was second in 44:18 while Lisa Logan, Shanna Veale and Maria Studholme followed with times of 46:55, 47:25 and 47:51, respectively.
There were 179 finishers in the 10K while another 248 crossed the line as 5K participants in a race where it rained a bit before the 7:30 start and then picked up in intensity as the race was wrapping up.
Noah Cochran and Natalie Sims were overall winners in the 5K as Cochran was all alone at the finish line off of Riverfront Parkway with a time of 17:06. Sims finished 20th overall in 21:52.
“I came here this morning really wanting to repeat as the 10K overall winner and to defend the title I won last year,” said McGinnis, a 36-year-old fellow who works with other family members in an auto towing and transport business.
“I ran Boston (Marathon) pretty hard in April and had been taking it easy since then and this was my first 10K in about eight months. There was some good competition here today. It was just three of us after two miles and I didn’t take the lead until the uphill about the four-mile mark.
“I’m a good climber and that’s where I gained my advantage. I looked back several times as my pace slowed somewhat in those final miles, but I still got a personal best time today and I’m really happy about that,” he nodded.
Speer is a 38-year-old family and sports medicine doctor at Memorial who trains with McGinnis on a regular basis. He wasn’t able to catch his friend in the final stretch, but he had an outstanding race anyway and was happy with the results.
“It was hot and muggy out there and my goal was to run a six-minute pace. It was good to finish as I was able to accomplish that,” the Apison resident said after averaging 5:50 per mile for the distance.
“I’ve backed off on my training in recent weeks as it’s just a busy time for me personally, but I’ll pick it up in the fall as I’m hoping to run another marathon. But we had a really good run today and I’m happy with my time,” Speer nodded.
Bonsor is a 26-year-old Director of Recreation and Special Events at The Terrace who also had a specific time goal in mind. She too was able to meet that goal without a problem.
“I haven’t run a 10K in a long time, so I was kind of nervous at the start. I felt strong from the start and tried to stay with a couple of guys to help me with my pace. I just wanted to break 42 minutes and I’m happy that I did,” she smiled.
“This is only my second 10K as the other was last year’s Pie Run on Signal Mountain, but I just tried to establish a comfortable and fast pace. I had a lot of fun today,” Bonsor said while standing under the Olgiati Bridge after the race while a harder rain began to fall.
Cochran is a 20-year-old junior at UTC who is majoring in Math Education. He doesn’t run track or cross country for the Mocs, but proved that he has the mindset to do so if he decided to go that route. He said that he would probably run another five miles later in the day and that a 15-miler on Sunday would give him about 100 miles for the week.
He proved in a hurry that he’s fit and capable of running really fast.
“It was hot and humid, but I separated myself early from the rest of the field and just hung on at the end,” he said while waiting for the second-place runner to finish.
“I came here today with one goal and that was to win. I never looked back once we got started,” he nodded.
Sims is a 45-year-old Interior Design Consultant who does many more ultra races than 5Ks. She had thought about running the longer race on Saturday, but her husband Matt was heading out of town on a business trip, so she opted for the shorter race to be able to spend more time with him.
Matt finished 12th overall in 19:54 and was all smiles afterward, knowing he was getting ready to have a nice breakfast with Natalie before hitting the road.
“It was a great run for me,” said Natalie after catching her breath.
“I normally don’t do shorter races like this, but I just went out and did my thing. I tried to push the pace the whole way and I felt good for the most part. Now I’m ready for a good breakfast,” she said, admitting that she will take part in the annual stage race next week that will include three straight days averaging about 20 miles a day on Raccoon, Lookout and Signal Mountains.
Previous Riverbend Runs have headed out Amnicola Highway and back on the Riverwalk, but this year’s route went the opposite way toward Lookout Mountain on Riverfront Parkway before returning on the newest section of the Riverwalk.
Sponsors for Saturday’s race included Friends of the Festival and the Center for Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics.
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)