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Mad Scientist 5K a big hit at ERDC

Blue skies and crisp fall temperatures greeted 275 runners at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development center for the inaugural Mad Scientist 5K run and walk Saturday.

The race, which was open to the public, took runners throughout parts of the ERDC campus and past the new headquarters that is currently under construction.

“After 9/11, we kind of shut the gates down so occasionally you can go places and nobody knows what ERDC is and it is right in your backyard,” Col. Bryan Green said. “The fact that I’ve got 275 folks from the community and from all the people that work for the federal government is cool. Everybody is having a good time today.”

Race organizers were originally hoping for 200 participants in what Green called the “teaser round” for a race he hopes to see grow in the future.

“This is really helping us figure out how we do it next year,” Green said. “ERDC is under construction. They are going to get to see our new headquarters. In about three months, we are going to have everybody back and they will get to see that and next year when we do this, we are going to have more permanent type displays with marquees and markers.”

Josue Capir, 34, was the top overall finisher in the race with a time of 18:52. He was followed by Kevin Glauber, 24, who finished in 18:56 and Andy Till, 47, who finished in 19:11.

The top women’s finisher was Kristi Hall, 39. She finished 11th overall in 20:43. Brooke Southerland, 18, finished second among the women in 22:29, good for 18th overall. Hannah Christensen, 28, finished third in 23:08, which was 24th overall.

Steve Pranger, 58, finished first in the race walk event in 32:08. Anael Curry, 53, won the women’s race walk event and finished second overall just behind Pranger.

Ron Roma, 63, finished in 37:11 to place third overall and second in the men’s race. He was followed by Bill Seabergh, 72, who finished in 33:13. 

Elizabeth Joyner, 58, who finished in 35:27 and Joyce Beacham, 61, who finished in 35:42 rounded out the top three in the women’s race.

“I think it is great to involve the public and see what the community is involved with. I think it was a great day and a good turnout for a first race,” Spencer Dixon, who competed in the run, said. “It is good to see some of the facilities here at ERDC. It is real interesting and a lot of people don’t get the opportunity to do that with the general public. It is neat to see what is going on here.”

Green said the goal of the run was to continue making ERDC a central part of Vicksburg as the facility and the city continue to grow.

“I think it is a symbiotic relationship, ERDC needs to grow and ERDC grows better when Vicksburg grows and Vicksburg grows better when ERDC grows,” Green said. “I think that is the whole thing to have that symbiotic relationship where everybody is a part of each other and we are all moving the same direction. I think Vicksburg can be the most dynamic and tech based town in all of Mississippi.”

After the two 5K races were completed, children and their parents were invited to take part in a one mile fun run.