Thursday, May 25, 2006
By BARRY BURLESON
The Killer Kudzu 5K took a new route this year but it didn’t change the outcome.
Brian Pope of Oxford won his fifth straight race in historic Holly Springs with a time of 15:45.
“It was a different course, and I think it was a bit tougher,” Pope said. “I’m not sure what it was. Maybe it was because I was just unfamiliar with it.
“My time was considerably slower than last year.”
In 2005, Pope finished the 3.1-mile run in 15:18. He holds the course record of 14:55.
American Pacific sponsors the Killer Kudzu 5K, and company representative Scott Beggs likes the course changes.
The first change was the starting point. It began on the east side of the Marshall County Courthouse, on Market Street, rather than the west side adjacent to Memphis Street.
“This is not a main artery, and Memphis Street is,” Beggs said. “The is an easier part of the square to control.”
The race left Market and turned right quickly on College, went left at Walthall and traveled in front of Holly Springs High School. Runners then turned right onto Salem, went right on North Bethlehem, then right on Van Dorn, and turned briefly onto Chesterman before going left at College. The 5K then went left onto Maury, to the turnaround at the Holly Springs Primary School, and traveled its usual route up the big cemetery hill, but then took a straight shot up Market to the finish.
“Our main objective was to limit interaction with cars and make it as runner friendly as possible,” Beggs said.
“Plus, we wanted to show off our antebellum homes and what is so unique about Holly Springs.”
The course is U.S. Track and Field certified.
“It’s exact,” Beggs said.
One hundred and eight runners participated, which is about the same as in the past. Trophies this year were hand-crafted by American Pacific and made of maple, oak and cherry.
Lydia Gibson of Memphis was the first-place female, finishing the course in 18:47. She placed second in 2005 with a time of 20:07.
“I’m happy; it’s always nice to win,” Gibson said.
“I liked the new course. It’s still pretty shady, but there are a lot of turns. It’s tough at the end, definitely, with that cemetery hill.”
Beggs was appreciative of everyone’s assistance in making the race a success again this year.
“Thank you to the police department and fire department for their help,” he said. “I thank all the volunteers. There’s so much ground to cover on a course.”
The Memphis Runners Track Club assisted with measuring the course earlier in the week and certifying times Friday evening.
The race benefits the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Beggs also announced First Tennessee will match the donation to the American Cancer Society.
Trophy winners included:
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