Hajek sets 5K record
By By Jeff Byrd / staff writer
Aug. 11, 2002
The first Moonlight 5K run saw 17-year-old distance runner Ian Hajek turn in a new personal best time in winning the event Friday night at Northeast Park.
The 5K run, 2-mile walk and kids fun run drew 128 competitors out to Northeast Park on a moon-less night. The race was directed by the Meridian Parks and Recreation Department.
The night belonged to Hajek who won the 5K run in an impressive time of 15:21.
"That was my 5K personal record," said an elated Hajek. "I improved it by over 40 seconds."
Hajek said his previous best time was a 16:03 run on April 5 at the Blue Angel 5K run in Pensacola, Fla.
"That was a road race too," Hajek said.
Just because the race was at night, that didn't have much effect on Hajek.
"I think I did as well as I did because I've worked really hard. If I can break 15 minutes it would put me into the Top 10 in the nation," he said.
Hajek has three big races coming up. They include the Mobile Meet of Champions, William &Mary Invitational in Williamsburg, Va., and the Foot Locker South.
Finishing second to Hajek in the overall was 29-year-old Robin Ryder at 16:01. Mike Thrailkill, 39, of Meridian was third at 16:44 and Christopher Young, 15, of Brandon was fourth at 17:04.
The top female performer was Brandy Gamblin, 27, who ran a 20:38 time.
"I loved it," said Gamblin who is originally from Philadelphia. "It's great to see Meridian try a night time race.
'I've run one before in Birmingham near Samford University. This was not as hilly as that race was.
"I was very happy with my time. It's my fastest 5K of the year," Gamblin said. It was also her third win of the year. She had earlier won the Raider Run and the Anderson Cup.
Keith Barrett, 41, was the Male Masters winner at 18:33. Antha Estridge, 48, won the Female Masters at 25:32.
Mike Neal, 50, won the Male Grand Masters title with a time of 18:22. Mary Ruth Sharp, 56, won the Female Grand Masters in 25:30.
Northeast Lauderdale head cross country coach James Mathews had a handful of his Trojans and Lady Trojans run in the Moonlight Run.
"This was a great way to get started for our cross country season. I was really happy to see April Lussier post that time. She now has a chance at a scholarship to West Alabama," Mathews said.
Lussier, 17, won her 15-19-year-old age group in 23:12.
"I was told that if I could run 24 minutes, I could get a scholarship to UWA," said Lussier. "The 23:12 is my best time this year."
The walkers had a little bit of difficulty with the course causing some confusion over the correct times.
Samuel Martin, though, was named the overall winner at 18:20. Wyanthia Wilson, 31, female overall winner at 25:03.
The one-mile fun run was won by 11-year-old Adam Moore in 7:39. Patrick Harper, 7, was second in 7:53. Russell Roberts, 11, was third in 8:01.
Meridian Parks and Recreation Director Mark Naylor thanked program director Mary Quince in helping putting the first-time race together.