The year 2012 was overall a good one for former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga running standout Lanni Marchant, but with tough moments.
It ended that way for her in the 34th Karen Lawrence Run for St. Jude.
Marchant finished second overall to win female honors easily in the 4-2 mile race from the downtown Sports Barn, but she was leading everybody until the final crossing of the Walnut Street Bridge. Collegedale Academy senior Seth Ruhling surged past her as they came off and went on to win in 23 minutes, 48 seconds.
It was his first road race victory.
"That high school kick got me," Marchant said good-naturedly after her 23:57 finish.
On their way back up the hill from the Sports Barn after their first time through the two-loop course, she and Ruhling almost got hit by a car. The driver slammed on the brakes just in time.
Apparently the officer watching traffic at that point was caught off guard by the leaders' quick pace, Marchant said.
"It almost got Lanni more than me," Ruhling said.
"Seth caught me coming up that hill, and then he later passed me on the edge of the bridge," Marchant said.
An attorney, she has been working three days a week since July at the local Speek and Webb law firm while continuing her traininig as a world-class runner. She made news in her native Canada early in the year by appealing the country's decision not to send her to the London Olympics for the marathon; she had an Olympic-qualifying time, but it didn't meet Canada's standard for representation.
Just after she got her final no on that quest in June, she suffered an ankle fracture. In recent months she has run some races, including a 10k in Canada and a November race representing Canada in Japan. She also tried a marathon, but her legs just weren't up to the grueling distance, she said. And she's had some hip and hamstring issues to work through.
The Karen Lawrence Run was a good warm-up for a half marathon she's running in two weeks, she said, while giving her a chance to try out some new Saucony attire -- a style change for her.
Ruhling has been getting extra training from former Baylor School cross country coach Van Townsend, whose own running activity has been on hold as he's battled cancer the last few years.
"I felt good tonight. I ran this race four or five years ago when it was exactly four miles," said Ruhling, whose usual school cross country distance is five kilometers (3.1 miles). But he also has run the Southern 6 (kilometer) trail race in Collegedale the last three years and finished in the top 10 in the 2012 Turkey Trot, which is just under five miles.
"It's getting to be the longer the better for Seth. He's very dedicated," said Townsend, who was hooked up with the Apison teenager by Ruhling's uncle Paul, a local cyclist who was in full attire on his bike at the finish line Monday.
34th Karen Lawrence Run results
Top three per age group and top 30 overall (out of 315 finishers) in 4.2-mile race Monday evening in downtown Chattanooga, benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (overall finish in parentheses):
Overall winners: Seth Ruhling 23:48; Lanni Marchant (2) 23:58. Masters winners: Ryan Shrum (6) 26:43; Jan Gautier (18) 28:57.
Ages 24-under: Isaac Pacheco (3) 24:10, Rafael Pachero (5), Andrew Clark (7) 26:54, Ryan Heming (8) 27:16, Stephen Turner (13) 28:12, Tyler Keys (25) 29:25, Marco Bianchini (26) 29:26, Ken Curran (27) 29:38. 25-29: Ryan Davis (11) 28:00, Chas Webb (12) 28:09, Kyle Clarkson (52) 32.29. 30-34: Kevin Boucher (4) 25:48, Jason Sciandra (10) 27:26, Neal Crutchfield (17) 28:45. 35-39: Darren Howard (24) 29:24, David McDaniel (48) 32:05, Michael Oglesby (60) 32:59. 40-44: Les Conner (9) 27:17, Charles McCallie (14) 28:19, Greg Arwood (16) 28:22, David Lane (20) 29.10, Dave Richter (23) 29:22. 45-49: Mike Berry (15) 28:20, David Wilson (29) 29:47, David Moghani (30) 30:13. 50-54: Ray Beem (21) 29:13, Van Ford (35) 31:16, Martin Bryan (50) 32:13. 55-59: Steve Beard (34) 31:03, Jeff Stracener (46) 32:00, Robert Rodgers (59) 32:53. 60-69: John Crawley (43) 31:47, Jim Bryan (56) 32:42, Steve Rogers (99) 32:28. 70-over: Sergio Bianchini (36) 31:19, Gary Ray (188) 40:43, Charles Wright (228) 43:30.
Ages 24-under: Cayce Bryan (19) 29:01, Mattison Frank (72) 34:06, Ashlee Swafford (90) 34.59. 25-29: Kimberly Humphries (28) 29:43, Karin Maucere (66) 33:24, Summer Wofford (79) 34:40. 30-34: Mindy Williford (31) 30:18, Suzanne Gregory (53) 32:35, Amy Haddock (54) 32:36. 35-39: Beth Santoro (39) 31:33, Susie Stanfield (61) 33:09, Barbara Beard (63) 33:13. 40-44: Dianna Leun (22) 29:17, Lisa Logan (44) 31:53, Embree Poole (86) 34:49. 45-49: Wendy Houston (41) 31:41, Dun Flack (178) 40:09, Debbie Poss (206) 41:42. 50-54: Lynda Webber (98) 35:24, Corinne Henderson (112) 36:17, Connie Mills (142) 38:00. 55-59: Catherine Larue (184) 41:31, Leisa Cagle (261) 46:10, Debbie Garrison (293) 52:31. 60-69: Sue Anne Brown (167) 39:27, Lynnda Owens (225) 42:56, Leslie Marmorato (237) 44:04. 70-over: Susie Bishop (304) 55:23.