CORINTH The time to fire the starting gun is fast approachin

CORINTH The time to fire the starting gun is fast approaching for the Corinth Coca-Cola Classic 10K, and the runner getting to the finish line first might be shooting at a course record.

The field for Mississippi’s second largest road race has gotten even more top-heavy in recent days. Three more men have committed to Saturday’s 6.2-mile event, making the potential winner also the first to break the 30-minute barrier at Corinth.

“Now the elite runners are calling right and left it seems like,” said Tina West, race coordinator for the Coca-Cola Classic. “A course record would certainly give a lot more excitement to the race.”

Recent elite additions include Mark Warner of Tuscaloosa with a 31-minute, 10-second personal record, Keith Iovine of New Orleans with a 31:10 PR, and Steven Wilson of St. Petersburg, Fla., with a 31:20 PR. Wilson, though, has been concentrating on the marathon distance in recent years and has not run a 10K during that time.

Already on board for Corinth was Tim Forrester from Canada with a 29:50 PR, Glen Henthorne of Beloit, Wis., with a 29:32 PR, and Drew Prisner of Monroe, La., with a 31:00 PR.

Also, four of the top five finishers from last year are entered, including defending champion and Mississippi State assistant track coach John Charlton, who ran a 30:40 in winning in 1995.

Corinth’s course record of 30:08 was set by former Ole Miss distance star Pablo Sierra in 1994.

Another late entry has possibly eliminated a one-person race in the women’s field. Susan Malloy of Slidell, La., will be in Corinth and boasts a 34:29 PR.

Malloy should give some competition to Christine Cote of Canada, who has a 1995 10K best of 34:03. The women’s course record is 34:28 set by Breeda Dennehy in 1994.

The race is set to begin Saturday in downtown Corinth at 8:30 a.m. The entry fee is $15, and entries will be accepted through 8 a.m. the day of the race.

Race packet pickup Saturday will be from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and the awards ceremony and merchandise giveaway is set to begin at 10:15 a.m. There is a $3,050 total purse for the fastest men and women, split among the first five finishers and the top Masters runners.

Awards in the age divisions will go five deep this year, and each age division winner will receive a Timex watch. Two free trips will also be drawn for during the post-race ceremonies.

Corinth also features the Coke Corporate Cup, a division of the event for teams from regional businesses and industry. Scoring in this division is cross country style, and will go five deep.

Through Tuesday, the pre-registration numbers for Corinth were running about 100 behind last year, which saw 1,004 enter the event.

“We have had 250 enter on race day,” West said. “I always look at the numbers coming in, but it looks like we’ll have a quality race this year.”

Also, another theme water station has been added as the Corinth Theater Arts will join Caterpillar, Intext Plastics and Kimberly-Clark.

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