The Chattanooga Track Club

Promoting Running and Fitness in Chattanooga

Bianchini, Regal Break State Marks At Market Street Mile
By John Hunt
Posted: Monday, May 08, 2017
There were some pretty impressive times turned in at the annual Market Street Mile in downtown Chattanooga Saturday morning, but there weren’t nearly as many records broken as had been the case in years past.

Actually, only two state marks were rewritten and both individuals have been there and done that before.

Sergio Bianchini set the new mark for 76-year-old men as he posted a time of 6:57.30 to break the old standard of 7:14. It was the 10th straight year that this remarkable fellow has put his name in the record book.

Connie Regal, who broke the female mark for 62-year-old women last summer with a blistering time of 7:33, wasn’t quite as fast this year, but her time of 7:45.07 was way better than the old mark of 8:18.8 that had stood since 2011.

The weather was cool and the course was flat, so conditions were about perfect for posting a personal best time. No doubt there were plenty of PRs set, but Regal and Bianchini were the only ones to break state records.

It’s been a difficult week for Bianchini, who is normally one of the happiest guys around. His house was broken into twice this week and his spirit was broken. He almost decided to not even participate.

“My spirit is down and I didn’t even want to come, but I feel a little bit better now,” he said while other runners were mingling around the finish line area.

“Normally, I’ll warm up for a run like this, but I didn’t warm up at all. I just showed up and ran. I’ve slowed down every year, but it’s still a fun race for me,” he said after posting a time that was some eight seconds slower than last year.

Regal is a 63-year-old teacher at Silverdale Baptist Academy who broke the record last year with a time of 7:33.14. Her time of 7:45 was more than good enough to break another state mark.

“It felt pretty good today as I actually did some training for this race. I was hoping to run another 7:33, but I’ll just have to come back and shoot for it again next year,” she explained.

Dean Thompson posted a time of 4:55:66, which would have been substantially better than the old mark of 5:03 for those 51-year-old males, but the friendly fellow is not a Tennessee resident, so he isn’t eligible for a state record.

Lucas Cotter had the fastest time of the day with his time of 4:31.81 while high-school star Jonathan Boyd was second at 4:44.81. Thompson’s time was the third best on Saturday.

Rachel Mason had the best time for females as she finished 12th with a time of 5:34.59 while Danielle Alfano and Jennifer Huwe were next as they finished 18th and 19th overall with times of 5:46.54 and 5:53.85, respectively.

Cotter was a standout for UTC in earlier years, but the 25-year-old slender fellow is now working for TVA. He is currently training for some half-marathons, so Saturday’s race was just a bit different from what he’s used to.

“That was hard and it makes me feel old,” Cotter said shortly after crossing the finish line by the Big River Grille on Broad Street.

“I know Andy Baska, who has the record for my age, but I wasn’t close to his time of 4:24. I was feeling chipper when I woke up this morning, so I decided to come on down and give it a try. I didn’t start as fast as I should have, so I really had to come home strong.

“My goal was to run my guts out and I did. I’m training for a half-marathon, so this was a drop down from that, but it was a good fitness check for me,” he added.

Mason won the Chickamauga Chase 15K two weeks ago with a time of 1:02:40, but she was running a much faster pace on Saturday. Despite missing the state record by more than 36 seconds, she was still happy with the results.

“I had a good run today, but I knew I didn’t have a chance at a record,” the 31-year-old Hixson resident said afterward.

“I tried hard and gave it my all, so I’m pleased. I didn’t leave any regrets on the course this time and I didn’t get lost this time like I did last year,” she concluded with a laugh.

Boyd is a home-schooled junior who runs for the Chattanooga Patriots. His team was out of town for a track meet on Saturday, but he bypassed that trip to attend his sister Kiersten’s graduation from UTC later in the day.

“I tried to hang with Lucas, but he left me,” the 17-year-old fellow admitted.
“I normally don’t run as well in the morning, but I was still about 10 seconds faster than last year, so I’m happy with it,” he admitted.

Thompson had a goal of breaking five minutes and did so without a problem.
“I’m really happy with it as I wanted to break five and I did,” he did while catching his breath afterward.

“I put it out there pretty good, but I don’t live in Tennessee, so it’s not a record. I just live a hop, skip and a jump across the state line. You’d think they would just adopt me,” he laughed.

Alfano was the winner of the first heat with her time of 5:46.54, but that was way off from her previous best time of 4:40 three years ago.

“I was hoping to be a little closer to 5:30, but I made the mistake of going out too hard. Maybe I should have started a little slower,” said the 28-year-old Comedy Catch employee.

THE CHATTANOOGA CHASE is the next race on the Chattanooga Track Club schedule and is set for Memorial Day on May 29.

(email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@gmail.com)


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