By David Yon
As the temperature climbed near 80 degrees and the humidity moved to triple digits, there were a lot of groans from the 219 finishers of the 27th Annual Palace Saloon 5K. Yes, it was 100% on the weather channel this morning. Nevertheless co-race director Nadine Dexter sent the runners off on a loop around Messer Field after declaring the race the oldest GWTC race.
By the time he had completed the mile and half loop around Messer, Art Remillard was in control of the race busting the first mile in 5:15 mile. He finished the Jackson Bluff road section, including the big hill, without anyone pushing him crossing the finish line in 16:51. Sending a clear warning for next year’s Couples Caper 8K, Kate Wallace (she and Art are engaged) left no doubt about the women’s winner either running a 19: 05 to capture that title.
There was some spectacular racing though. Seems like anytime there is a gut busting finish you will find Bill McGuire in the middle of it. Ignoring the humidity, Bill ran one of his fastest 5K times of the spring. He had only one regret, Tim Unger was about .27 of a second quicker than he was to the finish line.
A pack of four runners, including Bill and Tim Unger, worked their way up the half-mile long hill on Jackson Bluff road. As Tim neared the crest of the hill around two and half miles he felt Bill come charging around his shoulder and move in to second place by a few meters. Bill said his goal at that point was to put as much distance between them as possible. The other two runners quickly fell off the pace, but Unger refused to panic and, after gathering himself, slowly pulled back to Bill’s shoulder and then moved past him.
This time it was Tim building the distance between the two and he managed to get almost ten yards ahead. That should have been it, right? No these guys are competitors in every sense of the word and McGuire just would not turn loose. As he looked down at the pavement, he saw the three-mile mark and made one more mighty effort. Digging deep he rose up on his toes and pushed ahead hard, closing the gap.
There was a time when those legs could churn out 46-47 second quarters and leap over hurdles much faster than I could ever run the flats. And if he could have snuck by unnoticed, he just might have pulled it off this time. But Tim had just enough left to say no and he crossed the line in a time of 17:06.42 (according to Bill Lott’s tape), while McGuire arrived in 17:06.69.
Congratulations are also in order to the Dothan runners club as they brought more than twenty runners to the race as part of this year’s GWTC/Dothan exchange grand prix exchange. The Critter Run (July 21) in Dothan is on the GWTC Grand Prix. Joe and Nadine did a great job in their first year directing the race and Chuck Fischer, owner of the Palace, did his usual great job pouring for the crowd after everyone finished.