Runner Kent Merritt (45) from Starkville is greeted at the finish line at Saturday's Frostbite Half-Marathon. (Photo by Nathan Gregory, SDN)
Although there was no frost on the ground, the 27th Frostbite Half-Marathon had a little chill in the air Saturday.
The weather was expected to be rainy and stormy, but at race time, it was overcast and felt like a southern winter day.
Frostbite Race Director, Elaine Schimpf, was glad that the weather cooperated and thought the event went smoothly.
"It went great," Schimpf said. "We had 334 runners sign up and I'm not sure of the exact number that ran. There was no tornado. And it's actually frost bite. We were thinking it was going to be like 70, raining and tornadoes so it is really good that it got a little cooler."
Jonathan Sellers of Lithia Springs, Ga. finished first registering a 1:16:06 time. He is using this race as a gauge for a full marathon he will run later this year.
"I have been trying to get back in shape for a marathon in about a month so I was just trying to see what kind of shape I was in right now." Sellers said.
Sellers had set a goal before he raced and thought that it was going to put him close to the head of the pack. He also was encouraged by a bet he had going with a couple of friends.
"I have a little friendly bet going with a couple of my friends," Sellers said. "They were on a relay team and I was attempting to beat the two of them by myself. I figured in order to do that it would probably have to put me up close to the front."
The course is pretty easy for the first nine or 10 miles and then there are hills to finish out the course.
"I went out and it felt pretty good for the first eight or nine miles, but those hills in the last few miles started to get to me a little bit," Sellers said. "So it's kind of a tough race in the end."
Meggan Franks of Starkville who works at Mississippi State and is the wife of MSU's head cross country coach Houston Franks, saved a lot for the final stretch because she knew how hard it was going to be.
"It is a pretty hard course," she said. "The first nine miles you are kind of just cruising along. You don't realize that there are some hills and you get to mile 10 and it's pretty hard from there on in. It is pretty much up hill. I tried to save as much as I could for that stretch."
For some like Joseph MacGown of Starkville, it is all about focus and blocking out the tough environment around you.
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