Brown Middle School teacher and coach Geno Phillips made the first race he won after moving to Chattanooga also his latest victory Saturday morning. He again finished first in the Scenic City Half Marathon.
Phillips, who has won numerous road races from 5 kilometers to marathon distance, began his area run of success in 2002. He won Saturday's 13.1-miler from Finley Stadium and back in 1 hour, 14 minutes, 27 seconds, cruising to victory by more than three minutes over another track coach and middle school teacher, Andrew King of Anderson, S.C.
King's time was 1:17:43.
Phillips, 41, said no one really was close to him after "probably mile two." As he explained it, "I didn't really pull away. I just stayed steady and they fell back a little bit."
This was the second half marathon for King, 24, a former Charleston Southern University runner who did a faster half in Savannah, Ga., in 2011. He came to this race because his cousin, Caroline King -- a 21-year-old Clemson student -- had picked it for her first half marathon.
"I love the course. It was nice. And I like the college stadium here," the runner-up said, noting that he and Caroline planned to spend today checking out the city. They arrived Friday night. She finished the race in 2:18:26.
Alan Outlaw edged fellow local runner Hugh Enicks for third place with his 1:18:25, but Enicks' 1:18:46 gave him the masters title and was a state record for 53-year-olds. Dianna Leun, 41, was the female masters winner in 1:33:11.
Last year's race winner, Caleb Morgan, recently was promoted to head track coach at Lee University and did not take part Saturday.
The first female finisher was 26-year-old Ashley Evans, a graduate student at Lipscomb University in Nashville, who grew up in Jackson, Tenn., and happened to run with Enicks' son Will at Tennessee Tech.
"I signed up two days before the race," she said. "I just thought it would be fun."
And it was, although her 11th-place-overall time of 1:25:14 was "just average" for her six or so half marathons.
"It was a great day to race," Evans said, noting the pleasant feel of the overcast but post-rain event. "The weather was wonderful for running."
Phillips echoed that.
"This was great today," he said. "I did a 1:12:01 half in October in Dalton, leading up to the Rocket City [Marathon in Huntsville, Ala.] the first of December, so I would've liked to have run faster. But this is a hard course. For one thing, it's got those stairs on the Riverwalk."
One of his eighth-grade students, Caleb Baldwin, also ran the half and finished in 2:30:12.
Jacob Bradley edged Jack McGinness for the accompanying 5k win, 16:37 to 16:43. Emily Lasater was the female winner in 20:18.
The event also featured the Charity Challenge with each runner in both races picking one of eight organizations to benefit. Phillips and his wife, who ran the 5k, have two Labrador retrievers and ran for McKamey Animal Center.