Clocktower 5k, 2011

August 20th, 2011
Rome, Ga.
By Alice Coughlin

The Clock Strikes Again for the Annual Running of the Clocktower 5K

The Gary Tillman Memorial Clocktower 5K road race commenced at 8 o’clock Saturday morning.  Although this was the 26th running of Clocktower, it was the sixth year in which the race commemorated Gary Tillman, a Rome business man and avid runner, and his untimely death in a plane accident in December 2005.  The race benefits The Exchange Club Family Resource Center.   Thus far, the Family Resource Center has helped over 6,000 people including over 1,000 families.  Proceeds from the race benefit the Family Resource Center in their efforts to assist in the prevention of child abuse, along with providing support groups for families.

The Clocktower 5K has remained a major tradition in Rome for local athletes to take on the daunting Clocktower hill. The Clocktower of Rome rests on one of Rome’s seven hills and allows visitors to view the entire city from its summit. Aside from the top runners and top masters runners being awarded prizes, the top three runners in each age group are also awarded.  Every racer receives a t-shirt on race day and is eligible for door prizes.

Race director Gail Johnson expected 500 total runners, with 375 preregistered runners and 145 total walkers including 87 preregistered participants.  According to Johnson, the heat is always a challenge, but it never keeps people from coming out.

“The heat never stops people,” said Johnson,“We moved the race to November for three to four years, but there were always weather problems.”

Daniel Moses, Rome resident and 2010 Berry College alum, raced Clocktower for his fourth time.  Moses mentioned that the heat is always a factor, especially for road races in August.

“It was a better temperature than last year, I wasn’t in as good of shape and the humidity was unwavering.”

The fastest time of the day was posted by Shorter University senior, Oscar Ogwaro.  Even with this being his first Clocktower 5K, he dominated the field in a time of 14:50.  The first female in the race was Justyna Mudy, a 2011 Shorter University alum running with the GoGo running team, with a time of 17:30.

This was Mudy’s second time taking on Clocktower.  In 2010 and in 2008, Mudy was unable to race due to injuries; however, this year she was pleased with her performance which she described as a combination of a race and a workout-type effort.

“Today, it was actually good.  I did not expect this time with the hill,” said Mudy.  Although Mudy has completed her collegiate years of racing, she still plans to participate in both road races and open cross country races this fall.

Another Roman runner, Jesse Baker, utilized his race as a test for his upcoming senior season at Darlington Academy.  Although Baker ran approximately the same time as last year’s race, he stated that he had trained much harder than last summer and had admittedly higher expectations for this year’s race.

With several years of running and with this being his sixth Clocktower race, Baker spoke with a veteran’s perspective on racing expectations, “I’m just glad to be running and I just want to stay injury free.”

Another local runner, Jenna Tilton, is a sophomore at Rome High School.  For Tilton, this was her fourth Clocktower race.  According to Tilton, Clocktower was her first ever 5K race three summers ago.  Similarly to how she performed in her first 5K race, Tilton won her age group this year.

Regarding the race, Tilton said, “The race makes me feel really good.  It’s a good gauge and I was able to hit my target time.”  Tilton was able to improve her time of 20:58 during last year’s Clocktower to 20:30 this year.

Berry College head coach, Paul Deaton, participated in this morning’s race with his two sons, Jared and John Prosser, in tow.  Deaton described the race conditions as “typical for August.”

“Well, I love this race, even though it’s very hard.  Because I like the way the running community shows support for it.  It’s the best race in town.”

Aside from the race day excitement, post-race activities included a Sidewalk Sale in the morning and the River Revelry in Heritage Park Saturday evening.  The Clocktower 5K once again united the Rome community by celebrating the pursuit of physical endeavors, raising money for a worthy cause and honoring a former community member.

Check out the race website for results


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