Running Journal Grand Prix XXXIV Champions
The Running Journal Grand Prix completed its 34th season at the Cotton Row 10K in Huntsville, AL, on Memorial Day. Champions of the 10-race series in both open and age-group competition were named following the race and final awards were announced.
The 10-race series began in late August in Anderson, SC, at the 34th annual Midnight Flight 10K, the only nighttime race on the Grand Prix. The Run Town USA Half Marathon in Greenville, SC, made its debut on the Grand Prix in late October and was the second race of the series. The 36th annual Vulcan 10K in Birmingham, AL, was the next stop on the tour in early November, and runners spent Thanksgiving morning in Charlotte, NC, for the 23rd annual Charlotte SouthPark Turkey Trot 8K. The first half of the season finished with the only marathon on the series, the 35th Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville, AL, in December.
Another new race on the series, the 29th annual Winter Flight 8K in Salisbury, NC, started things off for the second half of the season in early February. A couple of weeks later, runners traveled to the beach for the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon. The 35th annual Gate River Run 15K in Jacksonville, FL, followed in early March and also served as the USATF 15K National Championship. Later in March, GP runners traveled to Memphis, TN, for the 14th annual Germantown Half Marathon. Another trip to Huntsville, AL, completed the season at the Memorial Day Cotton Row 10K.
Grand Prix competitors who ran in the Rocket City Marathon earned double points for their placing and 10 bonus points were scored for all half-marathons. Runners who ran in the Myrtle Beach Half-marathon, the Gate River Run 15K, and the Germantown Half-marathon scored double points for their highest placing of the three. Only runners who resided in the South were eligible for competition on the Grand Prix. Runners who earned overall awards were removed from age-group placing at the end of the season. Grand Prix competitors had to run in at least two events to be eligible for final awards, so not all age-group divisions had qualifiers.
Kirwa leads Male Open race
Daniel Kirwa of Searcy, AR, took his first win in the Male Open Division of the Grand Prix. The 25-year-old ran in two races on the series, and made the most of them by placing first in both. He was the overall champion in the Rocket City Marathon, running 2:20:05, earning double Grand Prix points. He also led the Germantown Half Marathon in 1:06:18 to finish with 300 points on the Grand Prix.
Josh Whitehead, 33, of Madison, AL, finished second in the open division for the second straight year. Whitehead scored 205 points in two races. He was fourth overall at the Rocket City Marathon in 2:31:17 scoring double points. Whitehead finished ninth at the season-ending Cotton Row 10K, running 32:14.
Wallace Campbell of Clemson, SC, took the third spot in the open division. The 25-year-old competed at the first race of the season, the Midnight Flight 10K, where he finished second in 33:43. Campbell took first place at the Vulcan 10K, running 30:31 to score a total of 190 points.
Deanna Newman is top Open Female and Masters Champion
Deanna Newman of Birmingham, AL, scored double wins on the Grand Prix series finishing as the Open Female Champion and the Masters Champion. The 41-year-old Newman ran in three races, scoring 315 points in the open division.
Newman was second in her hometown Vulcan 10K, running 37:57. She was first from the South in the Rocket City Marathon earning double points. She finished out the season at the Cotton Row 10K, running 40:21 for sixth place in the open.
In the Masters Division, Newman scored 385 points. She won the division at both Vulcan and Rocket City and placed second at Cotton Row.
Tim Vinson is Top Male Master
Tim Vinson of Madison, AL, led the Male Masters division with 210 points scored in two races. The 47-year-old was second master at the Rocket City Marathon (2:47:31) and finished fifth at the Cotton Row 10K (38:36).
Richard Hefner wins Male Grand masters
Richard Hefner of Gastonia, NC, scored 275 points to lead the Male Grand masters category, a division he also won two years ago. Hefner competed in six races as a 59 year old before turning 60 late in the year. In those six races, Hefner totaled the most points in the Grand masters (50-59) category.
He was fourth in the season opening Midnight Flight 10K (43:09). Hefner placed third at the Run Town USA Half Marathon in 1:31:57 and fourth at the Vulcan 10K, running 41:44. He ran 34:06 at the Winter Flight 8K for third place. He also competed at the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon, running 1:33:53.
Shirley Smith wins third straight Female Grand masters division
Shirley Smith, 53, of Easley, SC, made it a three-peat in the Female Grand masters division leading the way once again with 415 points scored in five races. Smith started out the season with a first-place finish at the Midnight Flight 10K in 49:06. She followed that with another first-place run at the Run Town USA Half Marathon (1:41:54), a time that was also a PR for her.
Smith had fourth-place finishes at the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 8K (36:45) and the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon (1:42:40). She placed second at the season finale Cotton Row 10K, running 50:27.
Butch Holt is top Male Senior Grand master
Butch Holt of Matthews, NC, took his first win on the Grand Prix circuit, leading the Male Senior Grand masters division with 490 points scored in five races. The 63-year-old Holt had three first- place finishes and two runner-up finishes in his five races.
Holt started out the year with a first-place run at the season-opening Midnight Flight 10K in 43:19. He also was first at the Run Town USA Half Marathon (1:32:23) and the Winter Flight 8K (34:06). Holt was second at both the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 8K (32:46) and the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon (1:31:21).
Brenda Cooter leads Female Senior Grand masters for third year in a row
Brenda Cooter of Grovetown, GA, took her third straight win in the Female Senior Grand masters division. A veteran runner on the Grand Prix circuit, she has compiled a long list of division wins through the years.
Cooter was second at the season-opening Midnight Flight 10K, running 1:01:06. She was also second at the Vulcan 10K in 58:59. She placed fourth at the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon (2:07:53) and also at the Run Town USA Half-marathon (2:37:18) despite getting a late start. Cooter scored double points with a third-place finish at the Rocket City Marathon, running 5:31:54. She was second at the final race of the season, the Cotton Row 10K (1:01:12). She also competed at the highly competitive Gate River Run 15K, running 1:32:06. Her husband Jacob led the male 75-79 age group.
Thomas Eison is Male Veterans Champion
This year's Male Veterans Champion was Thomas Eison of Greenville, SC. The 70 year old runner competed in seven Grand Prix races and scored 675 points.
Eison had five first-place runs on the circuit, finishing first at the Midnight Flight 10K (51:30), the Vulcan 10K (48:58), his hometown Run Town USA Half-marathon (1:52:15), the Germantown Half-marathon (1:56:35) and the season finale Cotton Row 10K (56:37). He was second at the Turkey Trot 8K (39:36) on Thanksgiving and finished third at the Winter Flight 8K (40:54).
Margaret Hagerty leads Female Veterans for second year
Margaret Hagerty of Concord, NC, repeated as the Female Veterans Champion. The 88-year-old Hagerty is a veteran on the circuit and has many division and age-group wins on the Grand Prix. This year she scored 185 points in two races. She was first at the Winter Flight 8K, running 1:29:32 and second at the other 8K on the series, the Turkey Trot 8K, finishing in 1:27:43.
Male Age-Group Champions
William Walker of Winston-Salem, NC, led the 60-64 age division scoring 365 points in four races. The 62-year-old had one first-place finish at the Turkey Trot 8K, running 32:30. His other three events were second- place runs at the Run Town USA Half-marathon (1:32:28), the Winter Flight 8K (34:12), and the Midnight Flight 10K (44:06).
Paul Legrand, 61, of Huntsville, AL, was second in the division, scoring 225 points in two races. He was second at the Rocket City Marathon (3:24:31) and fourth at the Cotton Row 10K (45:58).
Joe Carter, 67, of Snellville, GA, ran seven GP races and scored 695 points to lead the 65-69 division. Carter had the highest point total of anyone competing on the circuit this season. He started off the year with a first-place run at the Midnight Flight 10K (46:55) and also placed first at the Turkey Trot 8K (35:02). Carter was second at the Winter Flight 8K in 35:44. He placed second at both the Gate River Run 15K (1:09:02) and the Germantown Half marathon (1:45:13). He ran 1:41:44 for fifth place at the Myrtle Beach Half marathon. Because he ran all three of these events, he was eligible for double points in his highest of the three. He finished out the season with a 48:26 run at the Cotton Row 10K, good for second place.
Louis Messina of Mint Hill, NC, kept the race competitive in this age group scoring 455 points in six races. The 65-year-old had one first-place finish at the Run Town USA Half-marathon, finishing in 1:41:23. He was second at the Midnight Flight 10K (48:07) and third at the Winter Flight 8K (36:50) and Cotton Row 10K (48:36). He had fourth- place finishes at the Turkey Trot 8K (35:48) and Myrtle Beach Half marathon (1:40:29).
Ross Bolding, 66, of Monticello, AR, was third in the division with 210 points in two races. He was first in both of those -- Gate River Run 15K (1:05:42) and Germantown Half-marathon (1:34:35).
In the Male 70-74 age division, Larry Marett of Amory, MS, took first place with 205 points in two races. The 73-year-old was third at the Rocket City Marathon in 4:56:24 and fourth at the Germantown Half marathon in 2:16:37.
Jacob Cooter, 75, of Grovetown, GA, is another veteran runner on the Grand Prix having won many divisions in the past several years. This year he led the 75-79 category with 315 points in four races. He got a late start at the Run Town USA Half-marathon, but was able to place second (2:59:34) and was also second at the Cotton Row 10K (1:13:48). He placed third at the Vulcan 10K in 1:04:43 and was fourth at the Myrtle Beach Half marathon in 2:34:37. Cooter also ran the Midnight Flight 10K (1:11:17) before turning 75. His wife Brenda was the Female Senior Grand masters champion.
Bobby Chandler of Greenville, SC, was second in the division with 205 points in two races. The 75-year-old was first at the Run Town USA Half-marathon (2:03:29) and second at the Myrtle Beach Half-marathon (2:01:19).
Eighty-year-old Dewayne Morris of Birmingham, AL, scored 400 points in three races to lead the 80-over division. He was first in all three events, including the Rocket City Marathon where he ran 5:47:48 and scored double points. He had a 55:43 run at the Vulcan 10K and finished in 1:02:47 at the season-ending Cotton Row 10K.
Female Age-Group Champions
Cherry Kent, 55, of Belton, SC, led the 55-59 age group with 290 points in three races. Kent was first in the 50-54 division last season. She had one first-place finish at the Run Town USA Half marathon (1:46:47). She finished second at both the Midnight Flight 10K (51:07) and the Myrtle Beach Half-marathon (1:46:14).
Running Journal columnist, Lena Hollmann, won the 60-64 division scoring 290 points in three Grand Prix races. The 60-year-old had two first-place finishes, the Winter Flight 8K (40:06) and the Germantown Half-marathon (1:55:37). Hollmann was third at the Myrtle Beach Half-marathon in 1:51:26.
Teresa Chandler, 61, of Birmingham, AL, scored 240 points in two races to place second. She was first at the Rocket City Marathon (5:25:37) where she earned double points and was fifth at the Vulcan 10K (1:10:39).
Betty Burrell, 68, of Pendleton, SC, took her third straight win in the 65-69 age group. Burrell scored 360 points in four races. She was first at both the Run Town USA Half-marathon (2:21:23) and the Winter Flight 8K (53:21). Burrell was second at the final race of the season, the Cotton Row 10K, running 1:09:20, and ran 2:27:46 for fourth place at the Myrtle Beach Half-marathon.
Photo#1: Running Journal Grand Prix XXXIV Champions following the Cotton Row 10K on Memorial Day in Huntsville, AL. Front Row, L-R: Shirley Smith, Betty Burrell, Brenda Cooter, Deanna Newman, Thomas Eison. Back Row, L-R: Tim Vinson, Richard Hefner, Louis Messina, Jacob Cooter, Joe Carter.
Photo #2: Female Open Champion Deanna Newman
Photo: #3: Female Grand Masters Champion Shirley Smith
Photo: #4: Male Senior Grand Masters Champion Butch Holt
Photo #5: Female Senior Grand Masters Champion Brenda Cooter and Male 70-74 Champion Jacob Cooter
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