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SUNDAY, JULY 1, 2007
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Two hundred and thirty-eight runners finished the Spirit of America Run at Point Mallard Park on Saturday morning. Another 49 runners completed the one-mile fun run.
Daily photos by Jonathan Palmer
Two hundred and thirty-eight runners finished the Spirit of America Run at Point Mallard Park on Saturday morning. Another 49 runners completed the one-mile fun run.

Harris fastest again
Athens, Moulton runners claim Spirit titles

By Paul Stackhouse
sports@decaturdaily.com 340-2460

Maybe Tyrone Harris is making up for lost time.

Harris, 27, didnt run as an Austin High student, but he has done plenty of roadwork in the decade since graduation. Hes pretty good at it, too, and managed a first-place finish Saturday in the Spirit of America Run at Point Mallard. He has been a frequent visitor to the champions podium in area races the past couple of years.

He crossed the finish line in 27 minutes, 3 seconds, which was more than a minute faster than the second-place finisher, 31-year-old Jason Reneau of Madison. Reneau finished in 28:05.

In the female division, Whitney Montgomery, 19, of Moulton took top honors in 36:40. In the 1-mile run, Kamron Potter, 11, of Town Creek won in 6:12.

Tyrone Harris of Athens continues to pile on the wins in area races. The 27-year-old ran five miles in 27 minutes, 3 seconds to win the Spirit of America Run at Point Mallard on Saturday morning.
Tyrone Harris of Athens continues to pile on the wins in area races. The 27-year-old ran five miles in 27 minutes, 3 seconds to win the Spirit of America Run at Point Mallard on Saturday morning.
Harris, said he had an interest in running cross country in high school but didnt decide to pursue it until college.

I went to college in Auburn from 1998 to 2001, Harris said. I walked on at Auburn, trying to make the cross-country team, and I got a scholarship.

Making the team was something I really wanted to do, so afterwards, I went to school and ran cross-country on scholarship from 99 to 01.

Harris had a double major at Auburn with a degree in criminology and clinical exercise. Now living in Athens, he is employed at Huntsville Hospital as a clinical exercise specialist.

After school, his running routine slowed down.

I went to Atlanta after school, and let things get away from me, Harris said. I just lost a lot of the things I had been working to improve — both mentally and physically. I moved back here (to Athens) in 2002 and started putting together my own regimen to do things better.

I feel like Im still in a basebuilding process, but Im ready to do it, ready to improve everything I do — again, both mentally and physically. Its going to take me a while but I see a lot of good things in my future.

Harris said he believes hes entering his prime as a runner. In last years Spirit run, he finished second with a 27:29 time. In 2006, he also won the Brooke Hill Run for Awareness and the Frosty Freeze events. This year, he has second-place trophies for the River City Run and the Jesse Owens Memorial.

I really enjoy running and feel Im just in my prime now to work on doing a lot of things a lot better, he said. Ive been running for about 10 years now and well, Ill be ... this weekend marks 10 years that I have been running one way or another.

Montgomery, a student at Alabama, said she is just happy to be back running again.

Im coming off a knee injury, said Montgomery, who ran competitively at Lawrence County High. I injured my knee about three months ago, and it has gotten a lot better lately.

Nineteen-year-old Whitney Montgomery of Moulton ran the five-mile course in 36 minutes, 40 seconds, 57 seconds faster than the second-place finisher, Sara Masterson of Huntsville.
Nineteen-year-old Whitney Montgomery of Moulton ran the five-mile course in 36 minutes, 40 seconds, 57 seconds faster than the second-place finisher, Sara Masterson of Huntsville.
I like running, and I was getting prepared to run the Country Music Marathon in March or close to April and I injured my knee. I had already paid my money — everything. I lost it all, but Im glad to be getting back to marathon speed.

Now healthy, she doesnt plan on slowing down soon.

Ive run races my whole life, and I look forward to marathons and just racing for fun, she said.

Last years overall winner, Heath White of Moulton, finished fourth this year with a time of 28:48. He ran 26:57 last year.

Eric Schotz, one of the race coordinators, said the talent pool and numbers in the Spirit of America Run continues to increase. More than 225 runners signed up to participate for this years race.

We had a great pre-registration for this race, Schotz said. We knew it was going to be a strong field this year, and we were right. People just like running this race, especially because of where it is. They love running the trails here in Point Mallard, and they love running in the shade.

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