CORINTH Brian Pope of Oxford woke up at 6 a.m. Saturday and decided to run the Corinth Coca-Cola Classic 10K. A few hours later he was the male overall winner.
“I was going to run either in Memphis or here, but I have had heard good things about the race and I felt in good enough shape to give it a try,” said Pope, who won with a time of 31 minutes, 10 seconds.
Those good things came from another former Ole Miss track standout, Pablo Sierra, who owns the men’s Coca-Cola course record of 30:08. Pope, 30, has his own fond memories of the Corinth Coca-Cola Classic now after picking up the $600 check that goes to the event’s male overall winner.
“I’m really glad I ran now,” Pope said. “It is expensive entering different events, so I could use the money.”
The 4-mile mark was a crucial part of the race, said Pope, who was out in front by 50 yards coming to the finish line. There was a tight battle for second place in the men’s division. Daniel Pickard of Birmingham (31:26) edged out Memphis’ Patrick Alexander (31:33).
The 15th Corinth Coca-Cola Classic, which is the second largest road race in Mississippi, had a field of 875 runners.
Susan Malloy captured the female overall crown with a time of 35:30.
Malloy showed no effects of a tendon injury in February.
“Everything felt fine,” the Slidell, La., native said.
Malloy, 30, will be back in action in Northeast Mississippi this Saturday at the Bank of Mississippi Gum Tree 10K in Tupelo.
“I am looking forward to it, and hope the weather is kind of cooler like today,” Malloy said.
Gum Tree race director Johnny Dye said roughly 10 percent of the Corinth participants also run the 10K Tupelo race.
Three of the last six years, runners have had to battle rain along with the hilly course, but this time mother nature cooperated and kept the wet stuff away.
“I was a little worried, but the weather was just fine,” said Tina West, Coca-Cola race coordinator. “Overall things went very well. I think having five awards in the age divisions really brought out some younger runners.”
Jeannie Fields, 40, of Memphis set a new course record in the female masters at 40:33.