Paul Hough won the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon in 1987. He was in the military, stationed at the time in Hampton, Virginia.
His son Brandon came from Dayton, Ohio, and finished second Saturday in the Veterans Day weekend race at Fort Oglethorpe — and could have won if not for his good sportsmanship.
The winner instead was 25-year-old Mason Chilmonczyk of Atlanta, running in only his third marathon. He was second last year in the Battlefield Half Marathon, which includes one loop through the national military park. The marathon incorporates the loop twice, and Chilmonczyk headed toward it for a third time.
"It was early in the 25th mile. He was 30 or 40 meters ahead of me and I saw him make a wrong turn. He was going to take the loop again. He was going to make it an ultra," said Hough, who yelled to Chilmonczyk to let him know his mistake.
The appreciative Georgia Tech doctorate student cut across "basically a ditch" through weeds and mud to get back on the right course and later told Hough's mother what a fine son she has. They ran together most of Saturday's race.
"There's a bigger picture than just winning," Hough, 28, modestly explained.
He finished in 2 hours, 43 minutes, 18 seconds, compared to Chilmonczyk's 2:42:31. The women's winner, also in her third 26.2-mile race, was Alice Shiflett of Rome, Georgia, also 28. She grew up in East Aurora, New York, but came south to run for Berry College and now works for the school after a year living in Colorado.
"Berry brought me here, and Berry kept me here," said Shiflett, whose 3:24:33 finish was about five minutes faster than her time in May in Denver that qualified her for the 2019 Boston Marathon.
"My first marathon was in Pensacola, Florida, about four years ago, and my time was like 4:30," she said.
She planned to run the Battlefield Marathon in 2015 but got hurt and couldn't.
"So I decided to sign up and give it a try again," she said, noting that the course "was hillier than I expected."
Shiflett finished 20th overall. The second and third females were 24th and 25th: Constance Bailey of Knoxville (3:28:16) and Julie Russ of Chattanooga (3:30:31).
Four-time Battlefield Marathon winner Jason Altman of Knoxville, now 39, was third overall in 2:48:30, and Ryan McGinnis of Chattanooga (2:56:57), Chance Collins of Seymour, Tennessee (2:57:30), and Eric Albrecht of Atlanta (2:59:19) also beat three hours.
Winner Chilmonczyk did not run collegiately but has been a distance runner "off and on, most of my life," he said.
Still, he usually avoids marathons — his first qualified him for his second, which was Boston this past spring — but his half marathon experience at Fort Oglethorpe last year motivated him to come back for more.
Harold Smith of Cleveland, Tennessee, and Atlanta resident Alissa Palladino (20th overall in 1:36:47) won this year's half marathon, which like the marathon is designated the Georgia state-championship race for its distance by the Road Runners Club of America. Smith, a former Bradley Central and Lee University standout, completed the 13.1-mile course in 1:11:00, 54 seconds ahead of runner-up and 2017 winner John Gilpin.
Hixson's Paul Archambault was third and the masters winner in 1:19:02.
The half had 804 finishers Saturday, while the full marathon had 335.
Another 250 finished the Fort Oglethorpe 5k, which was won by Cody Fulkerson in 17:39, eight seconds ahead of Gavin Chandler. Karin Elliott (20:30) and 13-year-old Helen Webb (20:42) were the first two females, 10th and 12th overall.
Contact Ron Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6291.