No one catches Outlaw in Chase

No one catches Outlaw in Chase

May 31st, 2011 by Ron Bush in Sportlocal

When Chattanooga's Alan Outlaw got his first running victory in February - in the Black Warrior trail 50k at Moulton, Ala. - Ooltewah resident Sarah Woerner was the women's winner.

They doubled up again Monday morning in the hilly Chattanooga Chase 8-kilometer road race from Riverview Park.

Outlaw, 33, was the overall winner in 27 minutes even. That was 19 seconds ahead of the runner-up, 45-year-old Cohutta resident Dean Thompson.

Woerner, a diminutive 22-year-old who has become a giant in distance trail running, was the women's winner and 12th overall Monday in a rare road-race appearance. Her time was 31:39, 1:32 faster than 47-year-old female runner-up Mary-Gay Li of Atlanta, who was 12 seconds ahead of Chattanooga's Elizabeth Dull.

Rossville's Jason McKinney, 31, was third out of the 222 finishers in 28:14, five seconds ahead of Signal Mountain's Hugh Enicks, 51, the masters winner. Ooltewah's Connie Petty was the women's masters winner, and John Gracy and Lynda Webber took grand masters honors.

Enicks, who's training for the world championship marathon in July and planned a 12-mile run later Monday, was fresh off coaching his Red Bank High School teams to fifth- and sixth-place finishes in the state meet in Murfreesboro. And sons Andrew and David finished third in their age groups Monday.

Woerner had won the Scenic City Trails Marathon just nine days earlier and admitted that an 8k road race "was definitely foreign territory" for her.

"But it seemed like a good race to do, and it was the Memorial Day holiday, and I had heard a lot of good things about it," she said. "I really didn't have any idea how to pace for it. I just went out hard and hoped not to blow up. It definitely has the longest and steepest hill of any road race around."

That is the famed Minnekahda ascent, but it is not the only hill on the course. And Outlaw knew the ups were where he had to gut it out to become the 14th first-time Chattanooga Chase winner in 15 years. He said Thompson is better than him going downhill.

"Dean caught me at the bottom of Minnekahda and ran with me to the top," said Outlaw, who finished third last year in 27:08 and said he "would've been happy to be 45 seconds slower" instead of eight seconds faster than in 2010. "That last little hill, I got a little on him for the last 800 meters. I don't feel like I'm in as good a shape as I was last year, and I felt miserable, but I'm strong enough to hurt for two minutes."

Said Thompson, who beat his goal by 11 seconds in his Chattanooga Chase debut: "He pulled away from me a little before we got to the top, and I never could close that gap."

Outlaw lives about a half-mile from Riverview Park and said he likes "to come out and support the back yard" event. His 5-year-old son, Grady, was there Monday to support him, and he also credited his Fast Break training partners for what has been "a great year" with his first two race victories.

One of his Fast Break teammates is Jimmy Swansbrough, who was fifth Monday in 29:26.

Contact Ron Bush at rbush@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6291.