Marchant, Berry are winners at Missionary Ridge

Marchant, Berry are winners at Missionary Ridge

August 14th, 2011 by Jim Tanner in Sports - College

Lanni Marchant crosses the finish line to claim the women's overall crown at the Missionary Ridge Road Race on Saturday. Photo by Jim Tanner

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After spending more time than she'd like cooped up inside studying for the bar exam this summer, former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga runner Lanni Marchant stretched her legs in a big way Saturday morning.

Marchant, who recently graduated from Michigan State law school and took the bar exam in July, was the women's overall winner at the John Bruner Memorial Missionary Ridge Road Race.

"It was good, but quite hilly," she said. "The last mile and a half I could feel where my fitness is still not quite there yet. But it was good for a first race back to kind of test the waters."

Marchant, an associated at the law firm of Davis and Hoss, finished the 4.7 mile route in 26 minutes and 57 seconds, and she said that it's been tough to balance studying with running over the past few months.

"You try to justify going out for an hour run instead of that extra hour of studying," she said. "And sometimes you just couldn't justify it and you had to stay inside and study."

Marchant, a Canadian citizen, will now begin preparations for the Canadian 10K championships in September, and she plans to run in the Chicago marathon in October.

The men's overall winner was current UTC runner Chris Berry, who went out fast and finished in 23:45 to beat second-place finisher and UTC teammate Mark

"I ran a little quicker than I did last year," Berry said. "I wanted to run a little faster, but I sort of overcompensated on the last mile and slowed down a little bit. ... It was hot and humid as always, but no worse than any other morning."

Jan Gautier was the women's masters winner with a time of 33:56, and Dean Thompson of Cohutta, Ga., won the men's masters division, finishing in 26:10.

Race director Mark Wisdom, in his first year after taking over for Dan Bailey, said that he was pleased how the event came together with over 200 people finishing the race.

"This has been a challenging experience but a very rewarding experience," he said. "Cooler weather would have been nice, but at least it wasn't raining and lightning so we're good with that."

Men's champion Berry said that Saturday's race was a good preparation for him as he prepares for the Mocs cross-country season, which begins in September.

"This was a good way to come out and knock a little dust off," he said. "And it's good to come out and be a part of the running community."