Pearl duo, 12-year-old Carrillo take Over the River Run titles

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 10, 2002

[09/08/02]Everything went according to plan for Joseph Lackey and Barry Cobb at the Over the River Run Saturday morning, from the use of strategy right on through to the 1-2 finish.

The former Pearl High track teammates, friends and roommates finished first and second in the 5-mile run across the Old Mississippi River Bridge. Cobb won a 200-yard sprint to the finish to edge his friend by about two steps. His official time was 27 minutes, 59 seconds, while Lackey’s was 28 minutes even.

Raymond 12-year-old Ashley Carrillo won the women’s title, while Vicksburg resident Debbie Cheney won the 5-mile racewalk. She beat second-place finisher Kirby Hendrix, the men’s winner, by more than two minutes.

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Tallulah’s Anthony Martin won the 1-mile fun run in 6:08, and Liberty’s Brittany Harrell won the girls’ fun run in 7:29.

“We trained together, ran together, did everything together,” Lackey said. “We planned to come together and win this thing. Finishing one-two is a little bittersweet.”

The win was the first for Cobb in a road race.

“It’s my first win for anything, except for track. I just had a little more above the hill than he did,” said Cobb, 18. “I didn’t know who was going to be here. I didn’t plan on winning. I just knew we wanted to go one-two.”

Carrillo also went one-two. She won her second straight OTRR women’s title, finishing in 33:35.

It was also Carrillo’s third straight victory in a Vicksburg road race, including her women’s division win in the Run Thru History in March.

“Those are the ones that make me feel the worst,” Carrillo said of the Vicksburg races. “They make me sore for a couple of days.”

Carrillo took the lead early on and separated from Jackson’s Marion Geissinger who has won the OTRR four times by the time the runners made the turn in Delta, La.

“The whole way I saw Marion at the end of the pack,” Carrillo said. “She ended up barely a minute after me.”

In the 5-mile racewalk, Cheney finally got an overall title to put in her trophy case. Cheney, who won the women’s title last year, cruised to the victory in 44:27, more than two minutes ahead of Hendrix, from Rayville, La. Hendrix finished in 46:36.

“I was ahead from the start. I didn’t have to pass any walkers, and I tried to keep up with some of the runners to have a better time,” Cheney said. “At the turnaround, I noticed that Kirby was moving in on me so I kicked it in a little bit. I just wanted to win the hometown race so bad.”

As usual, the wind howled across the open expanse of the bridge and affected runners and walkers alike. This time, though, it seemed to speed up their times. All of the top finishers’ reported times that were better than they posted last year.

“Last year was 48 (minutes). It was a lot better than I expected,” said Hendrix, who also won the OTRR men’s title in 2000. “I enjoyed the win coming back. It was cool, but kind of rough coming up the hill.”

The wind also affected the carefully planned strategy of Lackey and Cobb. They traded the lead back-and-forth after the first mile, then started drafting each other to make the run easier in the last two miles.

Drafting is a strategy runners as well as race car drivers use to save energy. One teammate will run right behind the other to cut wind resistance.

“It affected us pretty bad. Me and him had to switch spots drafting each other. It was just a lot of teamwork,” Cobb said.

The duo’s strategy paid off around the 3-mile mark, when they teamed up to lose several competitors who had closed the gap.

“About the 3 1/2-mile mark, we looked back and saw this guy closing in. I just said we have to lose him,'” Lackey said. “We ran together from the 2-mile mark in. That was the plan, to draft together.”

Lackey and Cobb emerged from the bridge in a dead heat. Cobb gained a couple of steps with about 100 yards to go, and was able to finish just ahead of his friend. The two nearly bumped shoulders trying to squeeze through the clock frame as they came across the finish line.

“He said we’ve got to make our move. I was maybe five yards (behind), and I just said I’ve got to put it all out on the hill,” Cobb said.

Lackey was happy for his friend, but joked that he let Cobb win.

“If it’d come down to it, I’d have dropped him like a bad habit,” Lackey said with a laugh.