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1st-timers win 33rd running
by H. Lee Smith II
May 03, 2014 | 327 views | 0 0 comments | 53 53 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The 33rd went to a pair of first timers.

Patrick Cheptoek and Carmen Hussar took top honors Saturday in their initial running of the Corinth Coca-Cola Classic 10K, which began and ended in historic downtown Corinth.

Registration was capped, and reached, at 1,500 for the second straight year. Results posted on the race website,, listed 1,286 finishers.

Cheptoek, a native of Uganda, finished the 6.2-mile course in 30:10, outdistancing Starkville’s Robert Scribner by 33 seconds.

“He beat me in the Boston Half Marathon,” Cheptoek said of the former Tupelo resident. “It was good to have him out there because it made me run faster.”

Cheptoek now lives in Bowling Green, Kentucky, serving as a graduate assistant at Western Kentucky University. He first heard of the race through friends, including last year’s champion Josh Whitehead.

“It’s very popular with a lot of my friends who have run it before,” said Cheptoek. “The website is very creative and informative as well.”

The weather was perfect for the 28-year-old champion and he plans to return next year.

• Hussar, from Homewood, Alabama, claimed the Female Overall championship and finished fourth among all competitors in 34:46.

She finished 1:05 ahead of runner-up Marion Kandie.

“We separated about the 1.5-mile mark, but I wasn’t able to run with a couple of the guys,” said the first-time participant.

Her husband does a lot of business with Coca-Cola, which helped bring light to the annual race.

“It was just an awesome experience,” said Hussar. “The people were friendly, there were some beautiful neighborhoods and plenty of water stations and wet towels for everyone.”

Like Cheptoek, the 37-year-old Hussar plans to return.

• Bo Boatner of New Albany claimed his third straight Male Masters (40-plus) title with a time of 35:23. His time was good for sixth overall.

Lori Goldweber of Birmingham, Alabama, took the female division with a 42:14 showing.

• Grandmasters (50-plus) titles went to Corinth’s Donald Didonato and Lisa Burnett of Germantown, Tennessee. Didonato’s time of 41:30 ranked 20th overall.

• Jay Poindexter of Michie, Tennessee, claimed yet another Male Wheelchair title. There were no female participants.

Saturday’s race marked the 11th time in 33 years that entries totaled 1,000 or more. The figure was hit seven straight times beginning in 1989, and has reached it four consecutive times currently after a drought from 1996-2010.
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