5 Straight Wins for Brown at Savannah Bridge 10K

12/05/2017 - 16:28

Some 4,100 runners and walkers participated in the 26th annual Savannah Bridge Run Dec. 2.

By Stephen Prudhomme

SAVANNAH, GA — Over the past five years, weather for the Savannah Bridge Run has ranged from unseasonably warm (70s) to unseasonably cool (40s). This year, the 26th annual event fell into the former category for a field of some 4,100 runners and walkers. One constant is the performance of Ben Brown, who has weathered the fluctuating temperatures and challenging topography to win the 10K race five years in a row.

On Dec. 2, Brown, 36, coasted to victory in a time of 34:23. The race followed the 5K and started next to the Savannah Civic Center. It went through the downtown area before going up the 185-foot high Talmadge Bridge, circled around Hutchinson Island, and went back up the bridge before finishing next to the county courthouse.

Spotted at the top of the Talmadge Bridge around the four and a half mile mark, Brown had created a gap of several hundred yards from his closest pursuer, Jeffrey Zickus, 44, of Atlanta, who took second in 36:55. Eiger Erickson, 29, of Pooler, Ga., matched his finish from last year and bettered his time by 33 seconds to take third in 37:35.

Brown, who ran the 1500 and cross country at Pacific Lutheran University in his home state of Washington, says he loves the bridge and the music and food at the post race party. Winning is also fun for Brown, who has captured the 10K Bridge Run title six times.

On the women’s side, Carlee James, 35, of Statesboro, Ga., placed first with a time of 43:42. That was 1:18 ahead of Olivia Esselman, 17, of Aiken, SC. Angela Shiver, 47, of Savannah, was third in 46:07.

In the 5K race, which started on Hutchinson Island and finished next to the courthouse, a former Savannah resident took top honors. Mason Smith, 14, who lives in Collins, Ga., averaged 5:44 miles and broke the tape in 17:49. Rich Ford, 37, of Richmond Hill, Ga., was second in 18:16, and John Duberley, 30, of Bluffton, S.C., placed third in 18:28.

Ann McLaughlin, 36, of Savannah, went from the Double Pump in 2016 to the 5K this year and was rewarded with a time of 21:01, good for a first-place finish. Megan Feasel, 33, of Savannah, was second in 21:33, and Moriah Harris, 18, captured third with a time of 21:47.

For those who can’t get enough of the bridge, there’s the Double Pump, recognizing Enmark, the title sponsor. It consists of the 5K and 10K and presents a quandary. A faster 5K time means more rest between races but a greater expenditure of energy. Conversely, a slower 5K time results in less time between races but a lesser expenditure of energy. What’s a runner to do?
Faster, it seems, is the best course of action.

Double Pump top runners:

Jeffrey Ford, 29, of Brevard, N.C., placed first in the 5K with a time of 17:43 and followed that up with a 38:26 in the 10K for a combined time of 56:08 and top honors. Ray Bing, 30, of Savannah, took second after finishing the 5K in 17:51 and the 10K in 39:49 for a combined time of 57:40. Yorlliry Moreno, 26, of Hardeeville, S.C., rounded out the top three after recording a 19:01 in the 5K and 40:50 in the 10K for a combined time of 59:51.

In the women’s field, Jessica Stone, 27, of Savannah, breezed to victory after finishing the 5K in 19:59 and the 10K in 41:52 for a combined time of 1:01. That was good for fifth overall in the field and five minutes faster than second place Tara Komlo, 24, of Wake Forest, N.C., who ran a 22:05 in the 5K and 44:34 in the 10K for a combined time of 1:06. Julie Hannah, 44, of Melbourne, Fla., ran a 21:11 5K and 46:09 10K, good for a combined time of 1:07 and third place.

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