Got up early this morning and left Starkville around 5:30 am enroute to Holly Springs to take Joseph to the Killer Kudzu 5k. Drew Kellum told us about it. Not a giant race, but with cash awards for first through third male and female, they get a few decent runners. Today was no exception as three time SEC cross country champion Barnabus Kirui, a Kenyan who ran for Ole Miss, stole the show with his 15:15, and Meggan Franks ran a 18:01 for first place in the female division and a course record! Barnabus was maybe 5’4″ and couldn’t have weighed more than 110 pounds. He was shooting for Brian Pope’s course record of 14:55, but did not get it. Actually, he could possibly have done it, but at some point in the race, he made a wrong turn and had to turn back around. Not far, but possibly enough to have made a difference. Nice to see Meggan get a course record though!
The race started at 9 AM with a send off by the Queen of the Pilgrimage and her escort. The race was held in conjunction with the Holly Springs Pilgrimage. The entire thing was pretty weird, but also pretty cool. Random dudes were dressed up like Kudzu monsters. Yeah, whatever they are. They also had some sort of battle reenactment in a nearby cemetery, which was part of the 5k course. A few booths selling crafts, a nice lady selling Italian Ice, and things like that.
I met the Pilgrimage queen, Emma Elgin, and her escort, John Lafever, after the race started. They are both seniors at the high there. Very nice kids.
A couple of other Starkvillians showed up for the race too. Ian Prester, who has been running with us some lately was there with his mom, dad, and sister, all of whom ran! They live in Memphis, and with a large contingent from Memphis, made their way down here to the race, which was not far away. And, of course, superstar Meggan Franks was there as well!
I jogged along with Ian and Joseph as they warmed up, then I hung around talking to people after the race started.
As I mentioned, the former Ole Miss star easily won the race. Coming in second was former Tupelo standout Drew Kellum. Drew ran in college at Hendrix College in Arkansas also. He is now working on some sort of degree at MSU. He is super nice and very enthusiastic about running and life in general. I believe he ran around 16:23ish. Pretty respectable time.
He was followed by someone I did not know, then Joseph was 4th in 17:17 (1st in the 15-19 age group). One of the race directors, a friend of Drew’s came in 5th with an 18:00, despite being dressed as a Kudzu monster and having started the race late. Meggan Franks was the first female and right behind him with an 18:01. Ian came in about 19:30ish (don’t have his exact time yet), which was good enough for 2nd in his age group (20-24). His dad also placed 2nd in his age group, and his mom won an award as well.
Joseph’s 17:17 was certainly not blazing, but not terrible. I figured he would have been in the mid 16’s, but that might have been irrational thinking. Even though he opted not to run track this spring, he has been training as though he is running the 1600m and 3200m races. He is doing that to keep his training consistant year to year, plus, he may run the 1500m and 3000m in a couple of AAU meets in early June. So, I have been giving him workouts and a running schedule designed for 1 to 2 mile races, not 5k and 10k races. However, doing some 5k and 10k’s works out well, because it pushes him to run the distance at the threshold pace that I want him to do for that amount of time. And, since we would do the tempo runs on Saturdays right now, it works very well. However, it frustrates him a little to be running slower 5k’s than during XC season when he knows he is probably in better; albeit, different shape. And, even though he is not training for the 5k, I think he could be running them much faster if he really believed he could. He said that today he felt like he never got running fast enough and just stayed with that pace. Either way, the training he has been doing is working for his 2 mile race, as he can easily run 10:08 now as part of a workout, and I am pretty sure he could break 10 minutes for that distance. So, he should be happy that taken in totality, his workouts and other running are all at the right paces for the training he is doing!
Back to the MSU South Farm for a run tomorrow afternoon at 5:30 pm…