Kazery repeats as Chill in the Hills champ

Published 10:00 am Sunday, January 13, 2019

Runners and walkers huddled together on the porch at Martin’s at Midtown on Saturday morning, staring into the steady, cold rain and not looking forward to the hour ahead.

Begrudgingly, they answered the call to the starting line and embarked on their rainy trot through downtown Vicksburg for the Chill in the Hills 10K. By the time they returned, they had all conquered the elements to some degree and one person had conquered everyone else just like he usually does.

Clinton’s Peter Kazery won the Chill in the Hills 10K for the second year in a row, completing the run in 34 minutes, 55 seconds. He finished three minutes ahead of runner-up Oliver Child and a field slimmed down significantly by the weather.
A total of 159 people competed in last year’s Chill in the Hills. Only 88 finished this year’s race. Kazery, however, was unfazed by the weather.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“It’s a tough course. It’s a little slippy. The weather, besides the rain being a little hard, it’s a really nice day. It’s not ideal. The road might be a little slippy. It’s just a tough course. If you attack the right points in the course you can have a good day,” Kazery said. “It’s more working with the course, because there are so many strategic points where if you don’t run the hills right they’ll just own you and the course ends up winning.”

Kristi Hall won the women’s 10K run with a time of 45:08. The winners of the 5K race walk were Ron Roma and Jennifer McNord, with times of 34:01 and 36:51, respectively.
Clinton resident Bryce Henry won the children’s 1-mile fun run with a time of 7:23.

Kazery, however, was miles ahead of the field in a metaphorical sense, and almost a kilometer ahead in a physical sense. The 27-year-old who competed for the cross country team at the University of West Alabama was never challenged after breaking away moments into the race.

“I just set the tone really early and set a strong start. After two kilometers or a mile and a half we kind of separated because I knew I was going to run a little more aggressive,” Kazery said.

Child, a native of England, laughed when asked where Kazery got away from him.

“At the start,” Child, who had a time of 37:44, laughed. “He’s in a different league. There’s no racing when he turns up. I don’t class myself anywhere close to him. I have to tell myself don’t go with him, because I simply can’t. I have to do my own race, my own space, and do my own strategy.”

Child is on a year-long military assignment with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and will return home to England this summer. He won the Over the River Run and Mad Scientist 5K races in the fall.

Despite being drenched and shivering in the 50-degree weather after the race, he said the rain didn’t bother him once he got going.

“This is definitely English weather. I think I booked it to come here today. This makes me feel like I’m home,” Child said. “The weather was actually pretty good for running. After the first couple of hundred meters you don’t notice the rain, and the temperature was pretty nice.”

The two top finishers also made fast friends with each other. Child said he, his wife Laura, and Kazery were planning to go on a 20-mile training run on Sunday. The Childs are training for the New Orleans Rock n Roll Marathon in February, and Kazery for the Mississippi Blues Marathon in Jackson on Jan. 26.

For Kazery, any excuse to run in Vicksburg — whether for fun or competition — is welcome.

“I ran this last year and I’m doing the Blues Marathon (in Jackson) in a couple of weeks. It’s not quite as hilly, but it’s rolling hills so it’s a good way to prep for it,” Kazery said. “I love running in Vicksburg. As long as it keeps going the way it is I’ll be here as long as I can.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

email author More by Ernest