Plenty of runners Chill out Davis masters record turnout, new course in overall win

Published 12:11 am Sunday, January 15, 2012

A strong walk-up crowd helped push the number of participants in Saturday morning’s Chill in the Hills 10K run/walk to new heights.

Race director Walter Frazier said the final numbers could be close to 400. The event drew 361 runners and walkers.

As for the race itself, a pair of familiar faces made it back to the winner’s circle at the fourth annual race that winds through downtown Vicksburg and finished at Guaranty Bank on Cherry Street.

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Vicksburg’s Nathan Davis, who won the event in 2010, won the overall title in 36:02. Vicksburg’s Kristi Hall, 33, won the women’s race in 44:01.

Davis, 25, won all three of Vicksburg’s road races in 2010, but was absent from all three last year. He said illnesses and other commitments cut into his race time.

“I was sick last year and didn’t run this race,” Davis said. “And then I had mono (mononucleosis) take me out of the Over the River Run. I’m fine now.”

A new road course awaited Davis, Hall and the other runners and walkers. Instead of a flat road finish along Levee Street that finished at the Vicksburg Convention Center, Saturday’s Chill in the Hills had the runners battle a tough hill at the fifth mile and a closing climb across the Cherry Street railroad bridge.

“It was tough,” Davis said. “I think it’s harder than the Run Through History. The last hill at mile five was absolutely awful. The one good part that was better was the downhill run through Washington Street.”

Hall, who won last year’s RTH and the Over the River Run, used last week’s Mississippi Blues Marathon in Jackson to get ready for the Chill in the Hills.

“I had a real good race in the half marathon and that got me really excited for today,” Hall said. “This was a much steeper course than in the past. I guess we have Joe Giambrone to thank for that. I just survived it today.”

Frazier said the new course layout was able to show more of Vicksburg’s downtown neighborhoods.

“We’ve heard a lot of favorable comments about it and we got it right at 6.2 miles,” Frazier said.

Good weather and a big turnout of kids, helped boost the race’s participation levels.

“We had incredible weather and we had a lot of kids come out at the last minute,” Frazier said. “I think we’re close to 400 and that would give us 100 more than last year.”

One of those kids, a 14-year-old from Puckett, won the women’s 10K walk. Hannah Rubin clocked a 34:29 to claim her first Chill in the Hills title.

“I thought it was a good competitive course,” Rubin said.

Terry Wages of Brandon won the men’s walk in 31:42. This was the former Tupelo resident’s first race in Vicksburg.

“It was challenging because of the hills,” Wages said. “I hope to be back for the Run Through History.”

Taking the one-mile fun were Graham Tweedle, 10, of Valley Park and Elise Piazza, 11, of Vicksburg.