Asheville runners dominate Firecracker 5k

Published 1:43 pm Wednesday, July 7, 2010

While Stuart Moran staged his own one-man British invasion of Saturday mornings Firecracker 5k in Columbus, Katie Gibson won both the race and, perhaps more importantly, a bet.

Gibson won the womens division of the 5k with a time of 18 minutes, 49 seconds, while Moran, a native of England who now lives and works in Asheville, cruised to victory in the mens division in 15:28.

I had a bet with a teammate that if I won, hed have to wear a dress at Bele Chere, said Gibson, an Asheville emergency veterinarian and member of Joes Running Club.

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Moran and Gibson also pocketed $100 each for their victories.

Gibson finished more than two minutes ahead of Spartanburgs Susan Rogers (21:13) and was three minutes faster than third-place Mandy Wolfe (21:31).

It was a very nice course, said Gibson of the inaugural race. I really liked the first mile and felt good most of the way.

Gibson sprinted to the finish alongside Landrum doctor Todd Walter, who had kept pace with her for the final section of the course.

He really helped me out the last half-mile, Gibson said of Walter, who finished first in his 40-44 age division.

While Gibson had competition to the finish line, Moran spent most of the race alone out front.

(The 15:28) was kind of on the slow end of what I normally run, said Moran. This course got kind of tough with some hills in the middle, and its easy to slack off a little bit when youre out there by yourself.

Moran was more than two minutes ahead of the field when he crossed the finish line.

Jesse Hagberg finished second overall with a time of 17:54. Phillip Rowan took third in 18:06.

In the Masters division, Ted Hubbard was the male winner in 18:37, and Laura Walker was the womens winner in 23:42.

Moran said he enjoys running in first-time events and watching them grow.

I like running new races, he said. I know (organizer Ross Fox) wants to build this race up and I think it can be a good one.

Fox, who is a former organizer of the Coon Dog 5k in Saluda, said he was happy with the way the inaugural Firecracker 5k turned out and with the 84 runners who competed in the first-time event.

Its a lot like the Coon Dog run we had with about 85 runners signed up for the first one and that number went up to 469 runners in 2007, Fox said. It really took off, and I can see that happening here.