Crandall, Robinson, Schlosser back on top, Stevens breaks through at Run Thru History

Published 6:05 pm Saturday, March 2, 2024

Ryan Crandall took a year off from competing in the Run Thru History. When he returned Saturday, it was like he’d never left.

The 30-year-old from Madison won his third Run Thru History overall championship and second in three years on Saturday with a time of 34 minutes, 48 seconds for the 10-kilometer run through the Vicksburg National Military Park.

Crandall also won in 2017 and 2022, skipped the event last year, and was back on top in 2024. He finished second four years in a row from 2018-21.

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“We got a little too fast for my liking for today’s course, but it is what it is. But after we got a mile I took a surge and never looked back,” Crandall said. “This is my favorite 10K race because how many times do you get to run in the Military Park and see all the monuments?”

Crandall finished 53 seconds ahead of Jeff Rafach, who had a time of 35:41 and placed second for the second year in a row. Isaac Childs was third in 36:27, Asher Purviance fourth in 38:41 and Vicksburg’s Rob Sadler fifth in 41:23.

The top three runners were all within about 45 seconds of each other near the halfway point, but Crandall opened up a big lead after that and won comfortably.

“When we got to the second loop I got a cramp right here in my shoulder and of course the side stitches when we came toward the end. Once I had it I went to a steady state and not trying to push it,” Crandall said.

In the women’s division a surprise winner emerged from the pack.

Emma Stevens, a native of England who has lived in Vicksburg for two years, clocked a time of 48:19 to win by nearly four minutes. Madison resident Melissa Kaye McCombs was the women’s runner-up in 52:05.

Stevens first competed in the Run Thru History in 2023 and finished 17th in the women’s division, 68th overall, with a time of 55:11. She chopped nearly seven minutes off that mark and finished 17th overall on Saturday.

Stevens didn’t realize she’d won until someone told her about 15 minutes after she’d crossed the finish line.

“I am incredibly surprised,” she said. “I was just running behind someone who I wanted their time. I just ran the best I could.”

Stevens said her strategy was simple. She spotted a few runners just ahead of her — three of them finished in a pack 25 seconds faster — and tried to keep up.

“I literally tried to run as fast as I could. That’s a silly thing to say for a race,” she said with a laugh. “I run in the Park all the time.I’ve been training for a marathon, so this is actually a short race in the grand scheme of things, but I’ve never run this hard. I used somebody in front of me. I just said, ‘I need to keep up with that man in front.’ I’m totally surprised.”

The 5K race walk had no surprises at all, at least at the top of the leaderboard. Larry Robinson, a 54-year-old from Forest, posted a time of 32:43 to win the Run Thru History championship for the sixth year in a row and 10th time overall.

Ron Roma finished second, in 33:33.

Robinson said his time was a bit slower than usual, which he attributed to a long training layoff. His last race was the Over the Run in Vicksburg — which he also won — in October.

This was Robinson’s slowest winning time during his six-year winning streak, and 45 seconds behind last year’s mark of 31:58.

“It’s good because I’m getting the cobwebs off of me. The last race I did was in October. That’s how it is every year, with four months of lay down time. Getting back out here feels pretty good,” Robinson said. “I thought I was doing pretty good, but that layoff takes a lot from you.”

The drama in the race walk happened just behind Robinson and Roma.

Teresa Schlosser and Terrie Foster were battling for the women’s championship in the final 50 yards when Foster suddenly fell down from exhaustion. Schlosser surged past to win her second women’s division championship, then came back and helped Foster across the finish line.

Schlosser had a time of 34:28 and finished third overall. Foster finally crossed in 34:45 and was fifth overall. Steve Pranger was in between them, at 34:43, and placed third in the men’s division.

“(Foster) was whupping me. She had me. Then we got to the chute and I challenged her. I said, ‘Don’t let me beat you now,’” Schlosser said. “We were neck and neck, then I pulled ahead of her and went across, and when I turned around she was down. She gave it her all.”

More than 600 people registered for the 10K run, 5K race walk and 1-mile children’s fun run, and more than 500 braved chilly temperatures and morning fog to compete.

In the 1-mile fun run for children ages 12 and under, Asher Rice won the overall title with a time of 6:34. Maggie Winters won the girls’ championship in 8:30.

Complete race results from Mississippi Race Timing
Photo Gallery: 45th annual Run Thru History

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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