Terrett muscles his way to victory at Chillin’ in the Hills 5K

Published 12:13 pm Saturday, May 11, 2024

As they came up Drummond Street near the conclusion of the Chillin’ in the Hills 5K, Samuel Terrett and Will Bates were running step for step. It was going to come down to a sprint for the finish, and someone had to make the first move.
It was Terrett.

The 20-year-old hit the gas just as he turned the corner onto Belmont Street for the final 50 yard dash to the finish line. He muscled his way past Bates’ left shoulder and beat him to the line by a step to win the 15th edition of the race through downtown Vicksburg on Saturday morning.

“It (the bump) wasn’t intentional. It was just part of that. Seeing the finish line right there, don’t have no choice, one of us just needs to get over there so I made it,” Terrett said.

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Terrett clocked a winning time of 20 minutes, 24 seconds, and Bates came in second at 20:25. Wesley Varner was third in 21:35, and then Matthew Register (23:57) and Harper Moore (24:16) rounded out the top five.

Terrett has frequently been near the front of the pack at Vicksburg’s other 5K and 10K races, but this was the first he’s won in his hometown.

“It’s the first one I’ve won in Vicksburg, so I’m very proud of myself,” he said.


Bates had the lead — albeit only by a couple of steps — when the two runners approached the final corner. He said he figured Terrett would make a move, but couldn’t quite recover once Terrett did and got past him.

“I can’t judge. He wanted to win and that’s fair. I was wondering. I was thinking maybe he’s just too tired to go all out. So I was thinking I’ll go all out, and at the same time I don’t want him beating me. I guess that’s what happens,” said Bates, a rising junior who runs cross country and track for Warren Central High School. “I think he got a step on me and I tried to beat him at the end.”

The Chillin’ in the Hills’ other divisions had considerably less drama at the end.

Allison Kunz won the women’s 5K with a time of 26:37, more than two minutes ahead of Miriam Allred. Allred finished in 28:44.

Kunz, who said she heard about the race from a co-worker and tried it because “it sounds fun,” won her first 5K championship. She got out in front of the other women early and was not seriously challenged on her way to a ninth-place overall finish.

“I think I ran the first half a mile and there was another lady I was running with. And then I reaized there wasn’t anyone in front of her that was female. So if I just go a little faster …” Kunz said with a laugh.

Kunz added that she got some encouragement from a fellow runner on a difficult section of the course to push her along.

“I kind of started going and then was like, ‘Wait, I can push myself.’ So I felt really good,” the 23-year-old said. “There was a really big hill where a guy helped me up that hill. I caught up to him and we talked on the way up and it got me through.”

In the 5K race walk, Ronald Roma was the overall winner with a time of 32:32, while Terrie Foster finished second overall and was the women’s champion in 33:59.

They were both well ahead of third-place finisher Steve Pranger, who had a time of 36:27. Lee Fore (36:32) and Charlene Priester (37:11) rounded out the top five.

Roma won for the third time in Vicksburg’s last four 5K race walk events.

“I wouldn’t be out here if it wasn’t fun,” he said.

Jonah Williams won the children’s one-mile fun run with a time of 7:02, and Bailey Williams was the top girls’ finisher in 9:36.

Approximately 100 people registered for the three races, which were the start of a longer day of fun at Martin’s at Midtown. In addition to the run and walk, local vendors set up booths in the restaurant’s parking lot, music was played, and a karaoke contest was scheduled for Saturday afternoon.

The Chillin’ in the Hills is a fundraiser for Grace Christian Counseling, which provides low-cost counseling and mental health services to people in the Vicksburg area.

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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