Cannon, Phillips shoot to victory at Chillin’ in the Hills 5K

Published 12:40 pm Saturday, May 13, 2023

While running through downtown Vicksburg on Saturday, Lauren Cannon was focused on the music in her ears and the time on her wrist, and not the other people around her.

So even several minutes after crossing the finish line for the Chillin’ in the Hills 5K as the women’s champion, she didn’t realize what she’d accomplished.

“My main goal is not to beat anyone, but to push myself. It’s pretty cool that I’m at that goal and had an unexpected surprise at the end. It’s crazy,” Cannon said.

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The Vicksburg resident clocked a time of 24 minutes, 33 seconds in her first race in 12 years. She finished ninth overall, and about 2 1/2 minutes ahead of women’s runner-up Abigail DeJesus.

The 15-year-old DeJesus finished 12th overall, in 26:56.

Cannon said she started training a few months ago, but this was her first competitive run in more than a decade. Competing in a 5-kilometer distance race was a new experience in a lot of ways.

“I ran one half-marathon. I’ll never do that again. This is my first race in probably 12 years. I wanted a goal to shoot for. I had no idea what to expect. It’s pretty cool,” she said. “I just had my playlist. I trained myself to run. I’ve only been running on a track because that’s the only way I have childcare. It’s different with hills.”

Jonathan Phillips, a 19-year-old cross country runner for Wallace State Community College in Alabama, won the men’s and overall 5K run championship. The Pearl native finished with a time of 17:30, while runner-up Matthew Brewer crossed the line in 20:01.

Eric Mason was third in 21:25, Samuel Terrett fourth in 21:29 and Kevin Winters fifth in 22:34.
Phillips said he was visiting family in Pearl and wanted a competitive run on a sunny Saturday morning.

“I was trying to find a local race to run in,” he said. “I treated it like a tempo. Not really trying my hardest, just trying to stay easy.”

In the 5K race walk, Larry Robinson also wanted a race to compete in and dominated as usual. Robinson, who has won Vicksburg’s other major road races multiple times each, posted a time of 32:37 to win easily against some of Mississippi’s top race walkers.

Ronald Roma was second in 34:09 and Steve Pranger third in 35:07.

Teresa Schlosser finished fourth overall and won the women’s championship in 35:09.
Lee Fore was fifth overall in 35:44, and Elizabeth Joyner sixth overall and second among the women in 37:17.

“I hadn’t done a race since the Run Thru History” in March, Robinson said. “I’ve got a little rust on me. I’m trying to get back into it.”

A total of 99 people — 39 runners and 60 walkers — participated in the Chillin’ in the Hills. Race director Walter Frazier said 131 registered, which was an uptick from the event’s past few weather-plagued editions.

The Chillin’ in the Hills celebrated its 15th anniversary Saturday with a complete overhaul. It had a new name and date — it was formerly called the Chill in the Hills and held in January — new trophies, and a new theme built around a summery vibe.

Runners and walkers received leis as they crossed the finish line as DJ played music. Two stuffed snowmen in Hawaiian shirts sat in rocking chairs on the porch at race host Martin’s at Midtown to oversee the awards ceremony.

A flea market was also added to the festivities. About a dozen vendors set up shop in the parking lot selling handmade jewelry, art, pecans, candles and more. The flea market was scheduled to go on well into the afternoon.

“When you have a bad event, people will stay away. When you have a good one they’ll want to come back. Hopefully this is a good start and a ramp to the future,” Frazier said.

Chillin’ in the Hills photo gallery
Complete Chillin’ in the Hills results

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.

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