Hugh Enicks got up Saturday and went for a morning sprint. At least the 10K he ran and won in the 50-and-over division in the BlueCross BlueShield Riverbend Run was a sprint compared to the 26-plus miles he’ll be running next month in Sacremento, Calif.
The 51-year-old Enicks, who coaches track and cross country and is ROTC instructor at Red Bank High School, ran the downtown course in 36:26.63 as the male grand masters champion and seventh overall finisher.
The overall winner was University of Tennessee at Chattanooga runner Chris Berry with a time of 31:48.22, almost two minutes faster than runner-up Bryson Harper from Bryan College. The female winner was former UTC runner Lanni Marchant in 37:22.87.
Cohutta’s Dean Thompson and East Ridge’s Carrie Jewett were the 10k masters winnners. Thompson was fifth overall, behind Jack McAfee and Spencer Whittier. Betsy Darken was the women’s grand masters winner.
Enicks, who has qualified to run the marathon course in the World Masters track and field championships in a few weeks, said his first Riverbend run was the last year it was exclusively a 5K. He has ran in all of its 10Ks.
“I like the layout,” Enicks said. “They’ve improved it a lot. It’s not an easy course, that’s for sure.
“I was real pleased with my time. I’m running in the World Championships next month, so in this race I just wanted to run even splits, and I ran one of my fastest times out here ever.”
Enicks said the conditions were humid, but something expected this time of year. Berry said he was just glad temperatures were in the 70s.
“It was nice, compared to how it has been — pushing 100 every day,” Berry said.
Berry, whose track season concluded about a month ago, ran his first Riverbend 10K after running in the 5K two years ago and serving as an intern at last year’s event. He said the course was a little tougher than expected because it wasn’t as flat as he anticipated.
“This was not really about time,” Berry said. “I wanted to win the race, but I just came off track season and took some down time for about a week and a half. This was for fun. It was just good to be out in the community.”
Andy Baksa and another former UTC runner, Anneli Uys, won the 5k Saturday in 15:46.65 and 18:30.86.
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.