Exciting finish for Run Thru History Defending champion William Kazery holds off Nathan Davis for RTH victory

Published 11:56 pm Saturday, March 3, 2012

The last two Run Thru History winners battled over the final half to determine the 2012 winner Saturday morning at the Vicksburg National Military Park.

William Kazery, the defending champion, held off 2010 winner, Nathan Davis, to claim the 33rd annual race, the only race in the United States held at a national military park. The event drew 720 participants.

Kazery, of Clinton, who now runs for the University of West Alabama in Livingston, clocked a winning time of 34:19. It was improvement of over two minutes off last year’s winning time of 36:21. Kazery said his collegiate experience and better overall health made for a good showing Saturday.

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“I was really out of shape last year and the time was slow,” Kazery said. “Now that I’m running with a college team, I feel much stronger.”

During his last two years at Clinton High School, Kazery won two Chill in the Hills titles, one Over the River Run and last year’s RTH. Davis missed all three of Vicksburg’s road races last year because of health issues, but bounced back to win January’s Chill in the Hills, the city’s downtown run. Davis said a tactical error at the halfway point cost him this RTH.

“Through the first two (kilometers), there were three of us,” Davis said. “Then me and William broke away. Close to the 5K mark, I thought I’d let William take the lead on the downhill and then catch him on the hills. I gave him too much of a lead. He was really strong in the hills.”

Davis never caught up. He finished in second with a time of 35:40. Fifteen-year-old Joseph MacGown of Starkville was third in 36:21. It was his first time to run the RTH.

“The hills were pretty grisly, but it was a fun race,” MacGown said. MacGown got some extra work by winning the 1 Mile Fun Run.

Kazery, who redshirted this season at West Alabama, was glad to get to defend his title.

“Because of my redshirt, I don’t get to run a lot,” Kazery said. “Our coach doesn’t like for us to run road races because it’s hard on your legs, but he was okay with this one. Running against Nathan brought back a lot of memories. He made it interesting.”

Another collegiate runner from Alabama took the women’s title. Kaley Glover, 20, of Opelika, Ala., won the women’s race in 40:47. She is a sophomore cross country runner at the University of Montevallo.

“My boyfriend from Montevallo lives here and he’s run it before,” Glover said of the RTH. “It was nice. There were as many downhills as uphills.”

Glover’s pace was too much for Vicksburg standout, Kristi Hall, who was third.

“I was very happy with my time, but the two out-of-town girls just destroyed me,” Hall said of Glover and Adrienne Massey.

Elizabeth Joiner of Vicksburg won her straight straight women’s 5K walk title in 34:12.

Marcus Mounger, 31, of Jackson won the men’s walk in 33.20.

“Man, it was fun,” Mounger said. “Very challenging, but fun.”

Kelsey Mathews of Byram was the girls’ fun run winner.