River Run draws large field

Published 4:31 pm Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cloud cover provided pleasant weather for the fifth annual Bainbridge Kiwanis River Run, which drew 95 runners to the Earle May Boat Basin Saturday morning.

Runners came from Bainbridge, Tallahassee, Fla., southern Alabama and across Southwest Georgia to compete in the five-kilometer (3.1 miles) and ten-kilometer (6.2 miles) races hosted by the Bainbridge Kiwanis Club.

The 5K overall winner was Nathan Norton of Ellaville, Ga., with a time of 18:10. Norton runs track and cross-country for Schley County High School. The top female runner in the 5K was Erika Pemberton of Bainbridge, with a time of 23:45, the fifth-best overall finish.

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The 10K was won by Jessie Close of Tallahassee, with an impressive time of 35:50. Now 50 years old, Close said he has been running since his 20s. He regularly competes in regional 10K events, and has also ran the Boston, Mass., Marathon. The top female runner in the 10K was Kirsten Baggett of Tallahassee, with a time of 47:44, the eleventh-best overall finish.

All four top overall winners received a unique, engraved boat paddle trophy. The race raised an estimated $1,500 net proceeds for the Kiwanis Club’s service projects, which benefit the welfare and development of children in Decatur County.

Other top local finishers included brothers Chase, 11, and Caleb Harris, 7, who finished second and sixth overall in the 5K with times of 21:21 and 24:17, respectively. Older brother Kyle Harris, 14, finished fourth overall in the 10K with a time of 40:57. The three boys’ parents are Lee and Julie Harris—Mrs. Harris finished sixteenth overall in the 5K with a time of 27:18.

Bainbridge High School cross-country coach Mandi O’Mara posted a sixteenth-place finish in the 10K with a time of 49:31.