Huntsville, Ala. (WHNT) More than 2,000 athletes packed the intersection of Clinton and Monroe in downtown Huntsville for the 36th Annual Cotton Row Run. Early on however, the focus was about halfway through the 10K course where a downed tree forced an hour delay on the original start time. Once the debris was cleared, the gun went off and the race was on.
Officials put a $5,000 bounty on the course record of 29:10, but the top finisher was 20 seconds off that pace. Julius Kogo of Chapel Hill North Carolina posted a 29:30 and says the record will probably stay for a while.
"The course is very challenging because there are a lot of corners and especially where the tree was down there were a lot of corners and the hill is there."
Kogo and his three Kenyan training partners took the top four spots but for the other 99.9% of runners, Monday was about personal bests. Everybody has their own unique story and path to the Cotton Row. Some are just trying to finish while others may be running for a cause. Derek Zambon wasn't even supposed to be alive this year. After being diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, doctors told Derek's mother he would be dead by the age of five. Next month he'll turn 28, and Monday ran his first 5K
"It felt great, I actually followed through and accomplished something. It's just a wonderful feeling to earn it and earn the feeling I get when my lungs are clear."