CATEGORY: RUN Track & Field
MEN’S, WOMEN’S FIELDS STARTING TO SHAPE UP FOR COCA-COLA 10K
By D.E. Wheeler
CORINTH – The elite entries are starting to pour in as the Corinth Coca-Cola Classic 10K gets ready for its 15th running on Saturday.
Though the total entries for the 1996 running of the 6.2 mile event are a little behind, last year, Corinth officials are not worried. With spring weather finally arriving in Northeast Mississippi, several runners new to Corinth, plus the return of four of the top five finishers from last year should make for a battle to cross the finish line first.
“It looks like it’s going to be a big challenge to win this year,” race coordinator Tina West said. “It feels like we’re not going to be able to tell who will win until they cross the finish line.”
The list of returning runners includes defending champion John Charlton, the Mississippi State assistant track coach who ran a 30 minutes, 40 seconds time. Other top returnees include second place last year and 1987 and 89 winner Patrick Alexander of Memphis, along with fourth place finisher Joseph Curro and fifth place finisher Eric Laywell of Memphis.
Other elite runners who have committed to Corinth include Tim Forrester of Canada, with a personal best time of 29:50; Glen Henthorn of Wisconsin with a PR of 29:33; and Drew Prisner of Monroe, La., with a PR of 31:00. Adding pop to the Corinth race will be former Gum Tree champion Demond O’Connor, who is a favorite in the Masters competition.
The women’s field is not shaping up as strong as the men’s right now, and West feels that Christine Cote of Canada, with a PR of 34:03, is the favorite right now. Top five finishers from last returning for 1996 include fourth place finisher Francee Laywell of Memphis and fifth place finisher and former Tupelo resident Jennie Worthen Fields.
The race starts at 8:30 a.m. in downtown Corinth, with the course winding through residential areas northward, then back to downtown Corinth. The entry fee is currently $15, and people interested in participating can register through 8 a.m. the day of the race.
Besides the other pre and post-race activities associated with the Corinth run, one of the more popular parts of the race will again be featured – the theme aid stations. Caterpillar, Intext Plastics and Kimberly Clark will be the companies participating this year, and runners are allowed to vote for the best water station during the post-race activities.
“I think this is a really important part of our race,” West said. “People tell me that when they’re getting down and tired during the race, they get to one of our water stations, and they get pumped up again.
“And they do give out water, too.”