GWTC members were back on the road Saturday morning, Nov. 21, at the Draggin’ Tail 18 Mile Run south of Chipley, Fl. What began four years ago as an annual training ritual for area runners has quickly grown into a popular race with this year’s edition boasting close to 100 runners.
Race Director Joe Edgecomb goes overboard to make this a “runner’s race” with special ammenities. The trophies are unique individually hand-made and painted ceramic dragons. The t-shirts are gorgeous, the after race food is fantastic, the water stops and candy stops (yes, candy) are well situated, and the course, well, the course is hilly, and long, naturally. The weather this year was perfect-cool, cloudy and dry.
The top male GWTC runners including Ronnie Godwin, Greg Waddell, Doug Gorton and last year’s champ Brian Corbin were content to run the first half of this out & back course at not-too-distressing 6:30-6:50 pace but the return trip was another matter. When the pace got down to around 6:20 near the 13 mile mark and the aforementioned pack spotted the 2nd place runner (who had earlier been far out of sight) showing tell-tale signs of wall hitting, the group picked it up another notch. All four passed the dying non-GWTC member by the 17th mile while recording several sub-6 minute miles into the finish.
In the end in came down to a sprint between Gorton, Godwin, and Corbin with Gorton finishing just seconds ahead. Gorton was Male Masters winner and 2nd Overall with a 1:56:25; Godwin was 1st in the men’s 30-34 and 3rd Overall with a 1:56:29; Corbin was 2nd in the men’s 30-34 and 4th Overall with a 1:56:36 and Waddell was 3rd in the men’s 30-34 with a time of 1:57:09 and 5th Overall. Other GWTC male award winners were Dana Stetson, 1st in the 40-44 with a 2:02:41; Hobson Fulmer, 2nd in the 40-44 with a 2:07:03; and Craig Hasty, 3rd in the 40-44 with a 2:08:00.
In the women’s race Judy Alexander was 2nd Overall and 1st in the 35-39 with a 2:25:43. Jane Cormier, running farther than she has ever run before, was the Female Masters winner and 3rd Overall in 2:28:55. Megan Smeaton was 1st in the 45-49 with a 3:12:47; Carol Rhodes was 1st in the 50-54 with a 3:00:46; and a very fit looking Pheona Kaiser was 1st in the 55-59 with a 2:52:43.