April 24, 2010

Goodwin win gets an assist from Bruners

DALTON — Although Dee Goodwin had not competed all year, the veteran distance runner made up for lost time Saturday morning.

Goodwin, 42, emerged the female champion in the third Run for John race, a 5-kilometer run that started and ended at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on hilly Haig Mill Road.

“With two kids to take care of, I do my racing very selectively,” Goodwin said shortly after crossing the line in 21 minutes, 37 seconds. “During the race, I was thinking of the Bruner family. I was not thinking about the competition. It was beautiful weather. I was glad that the rain held off.”

Goodwin was one of 180 finishers in the 3.1-mile race, and another 120 ran the preliminary 1-mile run to help keep alive the memory of John Bruner, who passed away three years ago at age 19.

Manuel Ferrer, 38, continued his area domination as the overall winner. He clocked 17:22, which was a 5:36 per-mile pace.

“I probably went out a little fast through the first mile (5:03),” Ferrer said. “I slowed down at the hill on the second mile. I always enjoy this race.”

Margie Bruner, 48, John’s mother, fittingly captured the female master title (40-and-over) in 23:52. She also was closest female competitor to Goodwin.

“When I saw Dee here, I figured that she would win the masters,” Bruner said. “Then when Dee was the winner, that moved me up. I’m  glad that she won.”

Tom Sell, 43, Northwest Whitfield High’s cross country coach, claimed the male masters’ crown with a time of 18:53.

“The Bruners are a great family,” Sell said. “I know that John was a great kid. It’s the first time that I’ve been able to run in this because of other commitments. I’m leaving right now for a family commitment.”

The four primary winners all reside in Whitfield County.   

Rafael Pacheco, 19, of Crandall, was second overall in 17:42. 

In the 1-mile run, top honors went to Blake Lusk and Erin Orem, who finished in 6:38 and 7:39, respectively.

“We’re just so blessed,” said Greg Bruner, John’s father. “There’s always such a tremendous outpouring of support. The running community and faith community here at St. Joseph’s mean so much. From our family, Megan (daughter) came home from school (she’s a second-year law  student at the University of Georgia) and Andrew (senior at Dalton High) of course was here.”

Greg and wife Margie continued their tradition of running the race together over the entire route. They crossed the finish line holding hands.

After the races, $10,000 in college scholarships were presented to 24 students, matching last year’s total.

“I just feel honored to have been a part of this each year,” said Joe Gleaton, who has served as race director each year. “It’s all for such a great cause.”

There were about 50 less participants than last year.

“The bad weather forecast for the weekend obviously played a part,” Gleaton said. “We had huge race day entries. Almost half signed up today.”

Awards went to the top three finishers in each age division. All participants received T-shirts. 

LOOKING AHEAD: Many of the same runners will participate Saturday (8 a.m.) in the Healthcare Classic at Bradley Wellness Center. The feature 5-K race is scheduled for 8 a.m.

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