Crandall, Fall, Pranger and Schlosser reign in the rain as Chill in the Hills winners

Published 3:24 pm Saturday, January 15, 2022

The Chill in the Hills 10K continued its unfortunate reputation as Vicksburg’s rainiest race on Saturday, and Ryan Crandall reaffirmed his own status as its reigning king.

Crandall romped past a soggy field to win the 10K run portion of the Chill in the Hills for the third year in a row. The 28-year-old from Madison posted a time of 36 minutes, 31 seconds, which was three minutes ahead of runner-up Evan Hallford and more than eight minutes faster than third-place finisher Matthew Brewer.

“I was going to try to racey-race it, but with the rain I said I should probably go this route and go from there and that’s what I did. You can have a good day in the rain,” Crandall said. “One of my favorite coaches said there’s no bad weather, there’s just soft people.”

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The women’s 10K winner was Kelsey Fall, who posted a time of 50:31 in her first time competing in the event. The 34-year-old from Vicksburg said she was simply trying to have fun and wound up earning a coveted chili bowl that goes to the winners.

“I was trying to do this race as part of my training. I’m doing a half-marathon in a month. So I was really trying to not kill myself because all my faster friends are away or sick. I was trying to go out there and have fun,” said Fall, who placed sixth overall. “I have some friends that live along the route and they were handing me drinks. This is just such a fun race.”

COMPLETE CHILL IN THE HILLS RESULTS

In the 5K race walk, Steve Pranger won his third Chill in the Hills championship in five years by clocking a time of 34:48. Col. Teresa Schlosser was the women’s winner and finished second overall, in 35:26.

Lucy Priddy was third overall, with a time of 36:25, and Ron Roma fourth in 36:27.

Schlosser won her second consecutive women’s championship in one of Vicksburg’s running events. She also claimed the Reindeer Run 5K title in December. She’s been training with Pranger — one of the state’s top race walkers — and Priddy recently, and was elated that they largely came across the finish line as a group.

“We’ve done 1-2 the last two races,” Schlosser said. “I’ve always been a runner with the military. Getting older, I figured I’d do a little walking because it’s easier on the body. It’s fun to take up a different sport because it’s very different from running.”

Pranger’s training partners were able to keep him in sight, but not challenge him coming up the final hill on Drummond Street. The 38-second difference between he and Schlosser translated to about 200 yards on the course. Priddy and Roma were about two blocks behind them both.

“I was pretty much doing my own race,” Pranger said. “I was a little slower today, but an 11-minute pace is pretty good considering the conditions.”

The conditions were a primary concern for runners and walkers alike, both before and during the race.

Around 100 people registered for the 14th annual Chill in the Hills, but only 62 turned out on a rainy, cold Saturday morning more suited for a warm bed and a cup of coffee than an hour in the elements. It was the third time in four years that rain has affected the race and tamped down the turnout.

Light rain and drizzle fell in the hour before the race, and then a heavier shower moved through right after runners embarked on the route. It quickly tapered off, but was enough for most runners and walkers to slow down to keep from slipping on hills and wet pavement.

Crandall’s winning time was more than two minutes slower than the one he won with last year, and he and Hallford were the only two runners to break the 40-minute mark.

Some of the winners, though, said the weather actually motivated them.

“The first mile, it was raining pretty steady and then it started going drizzly. By the time you hit the first mile mark the rain basically had stopped,” Pranger said. “Of course, by then my shirt was already soaking wet. I was mainly trying to power through. It gave me incentive to go faster.”

Fall said she needed to do a training run anyway on Saturday morning, and having an organized event spurred her to get it done — rain or not.

“I knew I had to do a long run today, so the fact I could do it with a bunch of people made me get out the door and do it,” she said. “It rained the first two miles and that took the pressure off. I was like, ‘It’s raining. Just enjoy it and have fun.’”

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 139-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.

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