The Chattanooga Track Club

Promoting Running and Fitness in Chattanooga

Older runners dominate FCA 5K
By JOHN HUNT
Posted: Wednesday, September 20, 2006

FCA 5k 2006 Race Start
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The older generation dominated a race designed to benefit the younger generation on Labor Day at Chattanooga State Community College.

The annual 5K for FCA was contested on a cooler than average holiday Monday with two veteran masters runners leading the way for the 3.1-mile race.

Joe Johnson and Jan Gautier were the overall winners.  Johnson't margin of victory was a whopping one second at 17:02 while Gautier's time of 18:53 was well ahead of runner-up Alexandra Mullin's time of 20:36.

Hugh Enicks was second behind Johnson while 39-year-old Tom Sell was third in 17:29.  Kevin Croft and Leighton Steadman completed the top five with times of 17:42 and 18:01, respectively.

While Gautier and Mullin were leading the way for the ladies, Emily Cooper was third in 21:17, followed by Ashley Manning in 22:47 and Hannah Davis with a 22:52.

Johnson is a 45-year-old speedster who owns the Johnson Group, a locally-based advertising and marketing firm.  His preference is the shorter races and the FCA event was a great way for him to kick off his fall racing season.

"It was a great day to run," he explained of his victorious performance.

"I know that I woke up the next day hoping that I would never see myself making a face so ugly," he continued, referring to the expression on his face in the Times-Free Press photo.  "I wanted to have a good run to start the season and it turned out okay.  We ran together for about two miles then Hugh and I pulled away a little bit.  I wasn't sure exactly where he was, but he's a great runner and a lot of fun to run with," Johnson added.

Enicks is the 47-year-old Junior ROTC instructor at Red Bank High School.  He's also the defending champion for the upcoming Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon.  His FCA race was just a good speed workout for him as he planned to add another 12 miles later in the day.  He's currently logging 90-100 miles per week as he gets ready for the marathon on Nov. 11.

"Kevin (Croft) led for the first mile, but Joe and I broke away a little past the two-mile mark.  He threw in a surge about a half-mile later and I was hanging on after that.  Joe's too strong at the 5K distance.  But this was a nice speed workout for me and I was just glad to be running up front," Enicks said.

While the FCA win was Johnson's first in that particular race,  Gautier's victory has become almost commonplace.  She's won it at least eight or nine times, but she's not sure which.

"I was up until midnight with dorm duty, so I wasn't sure what today would bring," the 41-year-old former Olympic Trials marathon participant said shortly after the race ended, referring to her job as teacher and middle-school cross country coach at Baylor School.

"Last year I had to run hard to catch Jennifer Croft, but she wasn't racing today, so I just had to pretend I was being chased.  It's not as easy as it used to be, but I've been trying to do quality workouts lately and I was thrilled to run a little bit better than last year.  I'm thinking about doing Huntsville, but I'm not sure yet," she concluded.

A change in TSSAA rules prohibited high school runners from taking part in races of the same distance as their cross country races, which this year have been changed from three miles to 5K.  To compensate for that rule change, there was a separate race for the high school cross country runners that was 3.25 miles.

Sam Taylor was the overall winner of that race in 17:52 while Matt Coniglio was second in 18:11.  Jessica Duble was the female winner in 21:29 with Hannah Jenkins in second with a 23:19.

A total of 289 runners took part in the 5K event with another 39 taking part in the high school race.


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