After finishing third in the Chickamauga Chase 15-kilometer race the last two years, Isaac Pacheco really wanted the bayonet award that goes to the overall winner. But the 19-year-old Dalton State College freshman just ran a 3000-meter race Friday at Sewanee and came to the national battlefield park Saturday morning with no illusions of winning.
Until he looked around.
"None of the guys who beat me the last two years were here, and I felt pretty good, so I thought, 'I might can win this race,'" the former North Murray High School standout said.
Pachecho won by over three minutes, as it turned out. He finished in 52 minutes, 36 seconds. Hugh Enicks, the 54-year-old multiple Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon winner, was second in 55:57 and the masters winner.
Both ran alone for two-thirds of the race. Mark Malecky was third in 57:31, and Jeff Gaither was fourth in 58:38 and took the grand masters honor. Gaither is 53, Malecky 36.
The women's winner was Jenn Stocks, a 23-year-old former Berry College runner now in the physical therapy program at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She was 10th overall in 1:02:52.
"Last year it was more competitive. [The lead group] started breaking up about mile seven," said Pachecho, who ran a 51:17 in his third-place 2013 finish. "Today around mile three I just took off. I felt good. But I wasn't looking to PR."
The same for Enicks.
"He was flying, and he was smooth," the Red Bank coach and retired Army lieutenant colonel said. "When you get separated, you just need to run the pace you want to run, which is what I did. He was up by himself, and I was by myself. The challenge is you don't have anybody to work with. But he's a college kid, so I don't feel too bad. It was fun out there."
Stocks and the female runner-up, Jeanette Wilson of Chattanooga -- 13th overall at 1:04:05 -- both waited until Saturday morning to enter the 46th Chickamauga Chase. Misty Griffin from Birmingham was 18th and the masters winner in 1:05:22.
Stocks' husband, Lucas, ran the 5k Saturday and finished third overall. He works at the Fast Break store and coaches track and cross country at Notre Dame High School.
"He's my coach, too," Jenn said, adding with a laugh, "He tells me what to run, and I obey. We first talked about doing this race on Monday, I think."
Her favorite distance in college was 1500 meters, but she ran the Country Music Marathon in Nashville in 2012 and has done "lots" of half marathons. This was her second 15k, and it caught her off guard.
"I didn't know where the course was till I got here this morning, and those hills at the back surprised me," she said. "I was told, 'The battlefield is flat.'"
Her previous 15k, the Hot Chocolate in Atlanta in January 2013, was her last race before knee surgery. She's not expecting a pattern.
"I feel good," Stocks said Saturday.
One of Enicks' former Red Bank runners, Thomas Barker, now an assistant coach at Tennessee Wesleyan, won the 5k comfortably in 16:15. Jether English from Flintstone was second in 17:18, and 10-year-old Emrick Garrett from Lookout Mountain was the female winner and 25th overall in 22:25.
There were 464 finishers in the 5k, 432 in the 15k.
Contact Ron Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6291.