The Chattanooga Track Club

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Boyd, Vradenburgh Win Raccoon Mountain 10K Titles
Posted: Sunday, May 13, 2012

Boyd, Vradenburgh Win Raccoon Mountain 10K Titles


By John Hunt


It was overcast and cool high atop Raccoon Mountain Saturday morning for a hearty group who gathered for the annual Raccoon Mountain 10K and 5K road races.


Cullom Boyd and Kiersten Vradenburgh were overall winners in the 6.2-mile race while Troy Maddux and Leslie Becht took overall honors in the 3.1-mile event.


A total of 179 runners gathered for the scenic races, including 113 in the 10K and another 66 in the shorter race.


Boyd crossed the finish line at the Laurel Point picnic area in 38 minutes, 19 seconds to win by 15 seconds over Ben Oates.


Nathan Keeley, Ryan Shrum and Les Connar rounded out the top five with times of 39:01, 39:08 and 40:45, respectively.


Kiersten Vradenburgh was the overall women’s winner as she finished 15th overall in 44:36.


Dianna Leun wasn’t far behind as she finished as the women’s runner-up in 45:29, which was 18th overall. 


Lisa Logan, Michelle Davidson and Sue Barlow completed the top five with times of 46:46, 46:54 and 47:42, respectively.


Boyd had never taken part in a 10K race before Saturday, but after posting a time of 1:24:47 at the Country Music Half-Marathon in Nashville two weeks ago, he just wanted to come out and she exactly what he could do.


“I tried to keep my pace, but it was a tough race.  Ben was ahead of me before he stopped to throw up.  I guess he had to make a pit stop, but my goal was to win today,” the 27-year-old Real Estate Inspector explained.


Oates is a 16-year-old rising senior at Ooltewah who had a good race going until his unforeseen stop just past the six-mile mark.


“I run track at Ooltewah, so this was my first race longer than two miles in a few months.  I went out easy as I heard there was a huge hill in the middle of the race.


“I took over the lead at the bottom of that hill right before the four-mile mark and felt good until I got sick,” Oates added.


Keeley is a 24-year-old soldier in the U.S. Army from Clarksville who is on his way to Fort Benning, where he will train for several months before being deployed to Afghanistan in September.


He got on his computer to find out about Saturday’s race, but he was unable to get details about the course.


“I think I took off too quick and I wasn’t expecting the big hill.  I let the first two guys go and just tried to maintain third place.  I don’t think I would have run as fast if those guys hadn’t been pushing me,” he said, pointing toward Shrum and Connar.


Shrum was the overall male masters winner with his fourth-place finish, which was more than a minute off his PR of 37:55.


“I felt good, but I probably went out too slow.  My second mile was my slowest.  I really picked it up in the third mile and tried to catch Nathan, but he was ahead the whole time,” the 44-year-old ice machine repairman said.


Vradenburgh is a 21-year-old sales associate at Fast Break Athletics who has really been coming on in recent months.  She said that she had finished second overall on several occasions, but coming in first on Saturday was a new experience for the bubbly blonde.


“I had to work for it, but I’m excited as this is my first time to be the women’s overall winner,” she said after the race ended.


“I was together with Dianne and Lisa until the third mile.  They’re both fast, but my goal was to beat them as I wanted to just run as hard as I could.


“I had a great run as the hills helped me.  I felt good going up and even better coming down, but I was able to get into a nice rhythm and that helped.  I had seen the results from previous years  and thought I might have a chance to win today,” she nodded.


 Maddux is also 44 years old and an insurance salesman who ran collegiately at Illinois.  He posted a time of 17:14 at the Chickamauga Chase three weeks ago.


He appeared to be on cruise control as he finished all alone nearly four minutes ahead of Becht, who was second overall in 20:51.


“I had a sub-15 5K back in my college days, but that was a while back,” Maddux said when asked about his previous best time.


“I’m slowly getting back into it, but I’m just trying to see what I can do.  I was hoping to break 17 minutes, but there was a little headwind and it was hilly at the start.  It was pretty close to what I thought I could do,” he continued, saying that he’s planning to run the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon in November.


Becht is a 28-year-old social worker whose time was a personal best by 38 seconds.


“I just wanted to have fun today.  This was my first time to run up here, but I liked it.  There was a long hill in the first mile, but it added character to the race,” she said, noting that she ran about 30 miles this week.


While Maddux and Becht were the top two finishers in the 5K, Tucker Roberts was third in 21:09.  Paige Elliott and Bobby Smith were fourth and fifth with times of 21:32 and 22:16, respectively.


Proceeds from Saturday’s races benefit the Jasper Middle School student activities fund.


This race was not held last year.  Overall winners in 2010 for the 10K included Andrew Bender in 31:36 and Jane Curtis in 47:39.  Winners in the 5K in 2010 included Stephen Wilber in 20:37 and Leun in 22:31.


The next race on the Chattanooga Track Club schedule is the 45th running of the Chattanooga Chase, which is a challenging 8K race in North Chattanooga that starts and finishes at Riverview Park on Memorial Day, May 28.


(Email John Hunt at


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