The Chattanooga Track Club

Promoting Running and Fitness in Chattanooga

Ensign Takes Two
By Ron Bush
Posted: Saturday, April 15, 2006

By Ron Bush
Chattanooga Times Free Press Deputy Sports Editor

Tim Ensign proved Saturday that he’s just as good in the heat at age 43 as he was on a cold day at 42.
Ensign won the Chickamauga Chase 15-kilometer road race for the second year in a row. On a course altered somewhat because of road work, he finished the roughly 9.3 miles in 53 minutes, 51 seconds. That was 23 seconds slower than his wind-chilled 2005 time but 81 seconds ahead of Saturday’s runner-up, 39-year-old Joe Sneed.
"It was too hot. I think that slowed everybody down," Ensign said. "I know it slowed me down. But the footing was better - they’ve paved some of the roads. If it was 20 degrees cooler, it would’ve been perfect. I slowed down the last 5K." Although none of the other 332 runners finished within a minute of him, Ensign downplayed his victory.
"We didn’t have too many young guys," he said.
Only one male younger than 35 cracked the overall top 11. Specifically, the field had no University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men’s runners doing an offseason warmup.
The Lady Mocs’ Kathleen Turchin, taking a redshirt season for outdoor track, was the women’s winner and fourth overall in her first 15K. She finished in 56:35.
UTC teammate Shannon Wommack had won the Chase bayonet award in a similar redshirt situation three years ago, and Turchin noted that "she’s got it over the refrigerator. Now I’ve got one." The Chase does have a 5K option, won Saturday by Bryson Harper and Johanna Gartman, which is a much more common distance for Turchin.
"I have run a 10K but never this distance. It was definitely fun," the Gwinnett County, Ga., resident said. "There were a lot of nice people out here running and having a good time." Sneed likewise was in his first 15K. He was the Chase 5K runner-up in 2003 and also was this year’s Chattanooga Half Marathon runner-up in his first 13.1-mile race.
"I’m Mr. Second," he said with a laugh. "But I’ve got where I like longer distances." He kept up with Ensign for only about a mile Saturday morning.
"The way this course is, there are some long straightaways but also some turns. Probably after mile three, I didn’t see him," Sneed said. "He was moving good. I was just running as hard as I could.
"Weather like today brings a lot of people out because it’s sunny, but you just don’t know how you’re going to do running this far in the heat. I felt real strong, so I just kept going." Sneed and Jason Mitchell "ran together, back and forth," as Sneed put it, before he pulled away in the final third of the race. Mitchell, who got married in December and "got a little distracted from training - but it’s not her fault," won the 20-24 age group and was third overall in 56:00.
Masters (40-older) winner Joe Johnson was fifth in 56:40, and Sean Higgins and Tom Sells in the 35-39 age group, Mitch Keebler in 45-49 and Joey Howe in 40-44 also finished in under a minute. Women’s runner-up Amanda Tate
(25-29) was 10th overall in 1:00:54.
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