The Chattanooga Track Club

Promoting Running and Fitness in Chattanooga

By John Hunt
Posted: Sunday, October 26, 2014

Phillips, Woerner Win Signal Mountain Pie Run

Kulisek Wins Prediction In Tough 10K Race

Saturday, October 25, 2014 - by John Hunt

Geno Phillips must enjoy running hilly courses on Signal Mountain.

The 43-year-old middle school teacher and coach won the Signal Mountain Pie Run 10K on Saturday morning with a time of 35 minutes, four seconds as he ran about a minute faster than last year’s winning effort.

Joseph Goetz was second in 35:29 while Patrick Hall was third in 35:55.  Peyton Miller and Ryan Shrum rounded out the top five with times of 37:01 and 37:15, respectively.

The race for the women’s title was relatively close as well as Sarah Woerner, a la Emma White, crossed the finish line by the Signal Mountain Athletic Club – formerly Signal Mountain Junior High – in 42 minutes, 19 seconds, which was 12th overall in the field that included 167 finishers for the challenging 6.2-mile race.

Jan Gautier, who has won this race on more than one occasion in years past, led the way for the ladies past the five-mile mark, but Woerner passed her on that final uphill climb.  Gautier, almost twice Woerner’s age, was clocked in 42:32, which was 13th overall .

Kelly McCarthy, a newcomer to town who recently moved here from New York to work at Channel 3, was the third lady as she posted a time of 43:03 and was 14th.

But on a day when the temperature was warmer than normal for this race, conditions were about perfect .  It was an ideal day for running purists who aren’t scared of a challenging course that includes a back-breaking hill in that last mile.

“Joseph and I were together for the first three miles, but I picked it up and I think he must have slowed down a little,” reflected Phillips after it ended.

“I lost a race last weekend at the end and I really didn’t want today’s race to come down to a sprint.  All of my injuries are behind me.  The hills were brutal, but I just tried to hammer up them,” he added.

Goetz is a 31-year-old TVA employee who would have preferred a sprint at the end.  Phillips’ move midway prevented that from happening.

“It was a pretty good run for me, but I just didn’t have it on the hills,” he said later.

“Geno was strong and I just got tired and started fading, but this is one of the best races in Chattanooga with a $10 entry fee, an apple pie for every runner and a beautiful course.  I was hoping to outkick him at the end, but he killed that strategy when he took off,” Goetz smiled.

Hall is another TVA employee who knows what it’s like to run fast in a 10K race. 

“This was my first race since May, but it was good to be out there competing again,” he began.

“I really like this race, although it’s a hard course.  Geno and Joe got away from me, but I haven’t been training as hard as I used to.  Maybe today’s race will motivate me to get back into it, but that last hill is like a hard punch to the gut,” he laughed.

Woerner is a 25-year-old teacher/coach at Tyner Academy.  She won the Pumpkin 10K Run a couple of weeks ago running as Suzie Q and the ran pretty strong again on a much tougher course.

“I didn’t feel as good at the start as I would have liked, but I just tried to stay with Jan as long as I could.  I finally passed her on that last hill, but this was my first really hilly run since my hip surgery.  I enjoyed it a lot, but I’m glad it’s over,” the slender blonde suggested.

Gautier has done a lot more running on trails in recent months than roads, but she proved on Saturday that she still has that ability to shift into another gear when the time is right.

“I went out hard and thought that maybe I could just get a lead and hold it.  I knew that Sarah was right behind me and she finally passed me as we came by that big rock.

“I’m happy that I had a good run and I love this race.  I just hate that hill, but you can’t get a better view of the valley than from along the brow,” she nodded.

While all of these folks previously mentioned were running for overall honors, the biggest winner of the day was Heather Kulisek, who finished 134th overall with a time of 65 minutes flat.  She was less than a second off her predicted time and was awarded the $50 for first place in the prediction category.

Tripp McCallie, who finished 11th overall in 40:01, was also less than a second from his prediction and finished second.  Jenny Von Jouanne was just two seconds off her call in 51:02 and claimed the $20 for third place.

Proceeds from Saturday’s race benefitted the Mountain Education Foundation while the Bread Basket in Walden provided the apple pies that have made this race so popular.

Bill Brock, the president of the Chattanooga Track Club, was present but not running after pulling a calf muscle earlier in the week.  Saying that he felt like he was falling apart, somebody mocked him by saying that he was just getting old.  Saturday just happened to be his 57th birthday.

The next race on the CTC schedule is the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon and Half-Marathon, which is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 8.  There were a few spots still available, but they’re going fast, so don’t hesitate if you still want to enter.

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