The Chattanooga Track Club

Promoting Running and Fitness in Chattanooga

By John Hunt
Posted: Monday, April 04, 2016
CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Dr. Bill Estes has served as the race director for the popular 65 Roses 5K race that’s held on the campus of Lee University every spring, but chances are good that he’s never had ideal weather conditions like he had on Saturday.

More than 500 running enthusiasts gathered for the 14th annual event that benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Association and there’s no way that conditions could have been better as it was somewhat cool for the 8:30 start with clear skies and very little breeze.

Joseph Crook took advantage to capture overall honors with a time of 16 minutes, 59 seconds while Amanda Cotter did the same as she was the first woman to finish, crossing the line 10th overall with a time of 19 minutes, 16 seconds.

While Crook pulled ahead in the final mile to win, runner-up Josh Humphreys was all alone as he finished in 17:25.

Micah Sneller won the sprint to the finish with Ryan Shrum to take third in 17:35 with Shrum a second back in 17:36. Nathan Bierema was fifth overall in 17:57.

Cotter was the women’s winner while Jan Gautier was the second female in 20:04, which was 21st in the field that included 502 finishers.

Lilly Smith was third in 20:18 while Jennifer Curtis and Bailey Mullett completed the top five ladies with times of 20:39 and 20:43, respectively.

Crook is a 24-year-old assistant coach for the Flames from Virginia who is in graduate school after graduating last spring. He may be more familiar with the course than anyone running on Saturday and he was for sure the fastest after putting the hammer down in the final mile to win with ease.

“We went out at a conservative pace, so the first two miles were really easy. That’s when I decided to take off. I wasn’t really running for time today. I started feeling it in the final mile, but I was able to hang on for the win,” he suggested while others continued their way to the finish line.

Humphreys is a 19-year-old freshman at Covenant from San Diego who is majoring in computer science and math. It’s probably safe to say that he was pleasantly surprised with the final result.

“I was hoping to run with the front pack, but my goal was just to finish and do as well as I possibly could. I didn’t expect that at all,” he said in reference to his runner-up spot.

Sneller is another 19-year-old Covenant student from Lancaster, Pa. It seems like it turned into a race among those guys from the school located high atop Lookout Mountain.

“I was in the front group for the first two miles before the first guy just took off and left us. I haven’t been doing much running lately and I was expecting to finish further back, but Josh is my only teammate to beat me. Maybe I need to work a little bit harder,” he smiled.

Cotter, like Crook, is 24 and an assistant track and cross country coach. She works with UTC coach Bill Gautier after a steller career with the Mocs when she recorded a 5K personal record of 17:05 on the track and around 17:20 on a cross country course.

Her winning time was outstanding to say the least, but it was just a fast workout at best for someone used to running much faster.

“I just decided to use it as a workout since I’ve been sick in recent days,” the slender speedster began.

“I just wanted to stay as comfortable as possible while getting in a nice run. My time is slower than I normally run, but I’m okay with that. I ran about as fast as I could and for what my intentions were, I’m pleased.

“I’ll be better when I get well, but I would have liked to be a bit faster today,” she concluded.

Gautier is probably the winningest runner in the history of the track club as she’s been a dominant runner at virtually every distance for the past 25 years. She celebrated her 50th birthday last year and her priorities have changed as she’s doing more trail running than anything else, but she proved on Saturday that she still has the ability to cover the distance faster than most.

“It’s been a long time since I ran at that pace, but I’m very happy with it,” she said after averaging 6:28 for the 3.1-mile distance.

“I knew there was no way I was going to beat Amanda, so my focus was to just get second. I was hoping to be near a 6:30 pace and I was able to do that,” she said, admitting that she’ll be going to Boston for the marathon in two weeks and hoping to “run 3:20 or better.”

Estes was all smiles as his race unfolded without incident. It’s really grown in the past 14 years and has become a real popular event for runners and walkers of all ages.

“What a beautiful day,” he began while runners steadily crossed the finish line.

“There are a lot of people who make this a successful event, but people in the community really do a nice job of supporting it and it’s turned into a big family affair.

“We try to do something different every year to make it bigger and better. The folks at Lee University do a great job as they invite folks onto their campus to help raise awareness for Cystic Fibrosis,” he added.

SATURDAY’S RACE WAS THE first of the year for the Chattanooga Track Club. The next event will be the oldest race on the schedule and it will be held in two weeks on April 16 with the 48th running of the Chickamauga Chase.

The 15K is the main event while there is also a 5K and an eight-mile trail race.

Full Results HERE

Age Group Results HERE

(Email John Hunt at


Chattanooga Track Club • 1014 Dallas Road • Suite 101 • Chattanooga, TN 37405 • (423) 842-6265