Irvine, Hall take first at Over the River Run

Published 11:42 pm Saturday, October 8, 2011

A beautiful day helped create a record crowd for the 23rd annual Over the River Run on Saturday morning on the old Mississippi River Bridge.

More than 630 runners, walkers and fun run participants competed in the annual fall event.

Tim Irvine, 43, of Meridian was the overall 5-mile road race winner with a time of 29 minutes, 31 seconds. Irvine, who was competing in the race for the first time, said the sunny day made it ideal to get out and run across the Mississippi River.

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“It was a good day to run and I was able to get out to a lead and make them come get me,” Irvine said. “It’s a pretty hard race, even though it is straight.”

Jerry White of Brandon was second in 30:36, and served as Irvine’s main competition.

“When I saw Jerry was third after we made the turn, I knew what I had to do,” Irvine said.

White said Irvine is tough to beat when he gets a lead.

“He’s real good when he’s running out front and he was able to keep it up,” White said. “It was much tougher coming back because the wind and sun was in your face. It was real nice going out.”

The race was also a fun one for Vicksburg’s Kristi Hall, who returned to the winner’s circle in the women’s race. She posted a winning time of 33:56.

“For all those tough runners out there, thank you for not beating me today,” Hall said with a laugh. “You know, I’m 33, and with every race, it could be the last one for me. I had no idea what I’d do today, because I was in a lot better shape earlier this year.”

Ecleius Franklin, a 15-year-old runner from Murrah High School in Jackson was third overall in 30:51 and Collin Johnson, 36, of Terry was fourth in 31:16. Brian Gilbert of Hattiesburg rounded out the top five and Shannon Carson of Pearl was second in the women’s race.

Steve Sullivan, 56, of Vicksburg won the 5-mile walk for the first time.

“I haven’t done this in a long time,” Sullivan said. “Over the last 11 years of the race, I’ve been in the run six or seven times, but it’s the first time for the walk. It’s pretty simple, straight out and straight back.”

Elizabeth Joiner of Vicksburg won the Run Thru History women’s walk in March. On Saturday she added a first-place trophy from the Over the River Run.

“This is my first win in this race,” Joiner said. “I felt my time (56:02) was slow.”

Charlie Thornton, 10, of Brandon won the one-mile fun run. Margaret Case, 12, of Cloudland, Ga. was the girls’ fun run winner.

Race organizer Annette Kirklin said the sunny weather played a big part in delivering a record crowd.

“This was the biggest turnout since we took over the race,” Kirklin said. “The weather was a big help, but the race itself is gaining in popularity.”