HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Definitely nice weather for the Cotton Row Run 10K. Temps in the 60’s – what every runner wants to see. For more than 2,200 starters, the weather was nice. Less nice, the steep Mountain Wood Road hill at the race’s mid-point.
Even winner Patrick Cheptoek was wary of the hill, but in his second Cotton Row Run he was ready for it.
“I knew where the challenge was. I had to take care of that. I had to go slow, you know, till I got down the hill then I started to pace,” said the Ugandan, who coaches at Western Kentucky. He paced himself to a 30:09 finish to win the 34th annual race.
The fastest local runner was Madison’s Josh Whitehead. The hill was on his mind and caused him some problems.
“On the course, I was fourth of fifth. On the hill, you know, I think this year, as I have done a couple of years in the past, I got a little ambitious on the hill, and that usually spells doom for me,” said Josh. No doom this day, despite a tough run on the hill, he managed a great race.
Another great race turned in by Kenya’s Lydia Kosgei. She came in expecting to win, and did. “The race was competitive, the weather was good. Really hill, tough and challenging. The pace today was competitive, which was good,” said Lydia. She was the first woman to cross the finish line at 35:33.
One of her top competitors Decatur’s Jennifer Dunn. She ended up being the top local female, and for her, that hill everyone is talking about was no big deal.
“Everyone talks about the hill. I’ve run this race before. I expected it, so it really wasn’t any tougher than the rest of it,” said Dunn.
Most of the runners in the pack would say the hill was way tougher than the rest of it, but all of them would tell you right now, they’re glad the did it. Some 5,000 runners took part in Monday’s 10K, 5K and one mile fun run and Patriot Walk.