Vicksburgers sweep RTH 10K

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 5, 2001

Joseph Curro of Vicksburg, left, crosses the finish line, holding up four fingers for the number of times he’s won the Run Thru History 10K. At right, Keri White of Vicksburg finishes 4 1/2 minutes ahead of any other woman in the 10K. (The Vicksburg Post/PAT SHANNAHAN)

[03/05/01] Debbie Cheney came within a second of making the 22nd Run Thru History a hometown sweep.

Cheney, 37, of Vicksburg came up just short of Barbara Duplichain, who won the RTH 5K walk a record 12th consecutive time. Duplichain’s time of 27:09 was good enough for first place overall.

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Vicksburgers took the top spots in both the men’s and women’s 10K run and men’s 5K walk.

Joseph Curro, 31, took his fourth 10K run with a time of 32:57, almost two minutes faster than Kevin Phillips, who placed second.

Keri White, 18, a former Vicksburg High and current Southern Mississippi cross country standout led all women runners with a time of 40 minutes, nearly 41/2 minutes faster than the next women’s finisher.

Mike Renfroe, 49, of Vicksburg took the top spot in the men’s 5K walk with a time of 27:45.

He finished third overall behind Duplichain and Cheney.

“(Duplichain and Cheney) were right on me at the mile,” said Renfroe, who won his third RTH. “They were fast. When they both passed me, I tried to keep up with them, but they were just stronger today.”

Duplichain, 40, of Richland has now placed first in every Run Thru History she has ever walked in.

“Once I got past her that first little bit, I kept a couple-step lead,” Duplichain said. “At the very end, she was right there. She made me push myself.”

Duplichain was wearing a good-luck necklace given to her as a birthday present by Cheney and Tina Branan, another racewalker.

“She’s got a great training schedule and is really going good,” said Duplichain, who also beat Cheney by just seconds in Natchez last month.

The biggest surprise was the weather.

After raining all morning, the rain stopped just before the 8:30 a.m. start of the 10K run.

Several minutes after the last finisher crossed the line, the rain began to fall again.

The cool, overcast conditions played into Curro’s hands.

Rarely challenged, Curro burst to the front of the pack early.

As he made his way up North Frontage Road to the finish line, he raised four fingers signifying his number of RTH wins.

“I feel like I’m kind of floating again, like I was right out of college,” said Curro, who was wearing special arch supports that he credited for his success. “Running is fun again. For a long time, I was running through pain and it wasn’t any fun. Now, I enjoy going out and working out.”

Curro, who starred at St. Aloysius before going to Mississippi State, said he started to miss running while cycling and swimming.

“I did well, but I just didn’t enjoy it as much as running,” said Curro, who was racing in his first Mississippi Track Club-sanctioned race of the year. “This was a hard course to come back on, but I know it so well.

“Vicksburg’s my hometown and you have to come out here and be extra pumped for that.”

White got the good news that she could skip the LSU Last Chance meet to run the home course.

The Southern Miss freshman has the three best times in the 3,000-meter run during this year’s indoor track and field season.

“I wasn’t planning on winning,” said White, who beat 10-year-old Ashley Carrillo of Raymond for her first RTH title. “… This was the first time since I’ve been at school that I’ve run in the park.”

Carrillo, who won the Mississippi Woman Athlete of the Year award a year ago, finished in 44.21, more than a minute and a half better than her previous time of 46 minutes.

The rain caused a drop in the number of racers, with 663 total 10K runners and 5K walkers.

That’s the lowest total in recent years.

There were 1,025 registered as of Friday night.

Most years, at least 1,000 compete.

Hector Ortiz holds the RTH record in the 10K with a time of 30:35, while Teresa Harmon holds the women’s record at 38:22.

In the 5K walk, David Wilbanks holds the record at 23:18, and Duplichain holds the women’s record at 25:39.