Engle wins third River City Classic

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 28, 2000

Chuck Engle of Clinton joined Tommy Dunn as the only three-time winner of Natchez’s annual 10K road race, capturing the Taco Bell River City Classic Saturday for the third straight year.

Dunn won the second River City Run in 1980 and followed that up with two more wins. He has also had three second place finishes.

&uot;I really wanted to win it for the third time in a row because I’ve known Tommy and wanted to be in the same category,&uot; Engle said. &uot;I have a lot of respect for him.&uot;

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Engle finished Saturday’s race in a time of 34:50, more than three minutes ahead of Will Powers of Vicksburg, who was second at 38:06. Daniel Ahrens of Alexandria, La., was third at 38:55.

Engle, 29, coaches the Mississippi College track and field and cross country teams.

&uot;I just went out with the pack and looked back to see who was there,&uot; he said. &uot;We stayed together for about the first half. Then about the middle I had a lead and just kept focused on the pace car and keeping up with its lights.&uot;

Engle, whose wife Julie Engle was second among the women with a time of 45:33, said it was a perfect day for running.

&uot;You can’t run this race and not enjoy running through Natchez,&uot; he said. &uot;It is historical and beautiful. After I got out front, I just enjoyed the sightseeing and the run.&uot;

Engle admitted having a big lead over the last few miles made the race much more enjoyable.

&uot;Generally, I think when people relax, they tend to run better,&uot; he said. &uot;And the nice cool breeze helped.&uot;

Engle, who won 10K in Clinton earlier, has his eyes set on a record four wins in the River City Classic next year.

&uot;I’ll definitely be back,&uot; he said.

Dave McGovern of Mobile, Ala., won his fifth straight 5K Walk with a time of 22:20.

Bennett Randman of Jackson was second at 29:50, while Charlie Montague of Vicksburg was third at 30:19.

McGovern set the record for the event last year in 21:43, breaking his 1998 record walk of 22:34.

&uot; I dedicate this time to everybody who thought I was sandbagging last year,&uot; McGovern said laughingly.

While the men’s 10K and men’s 5K walk were familiar figures, a newcomer was the first female to cross the line.

Kate Hebert of New Iberia, La., ran Saturday because her boyfriend, Will Rountree, lives here. Hebert, 18, finished in a time of 42:27, which was 17th overall.

&uot;I felt great,&uot; Hebert said of her run. &uot;As I was coming through each mile I would hear the split times. I turned around a few times because I wasn’t sure where I was in the race. I got more excited the closer I got to the end.&uot;

Timothy Queen, 15, of Natchez won the 1-mile fun run at 5:47, while Rob Hefley, 16, of Natchez was second at 6:00 and Christopher Thomas, 17, was third at 6:03.

Janice Davis, 15, of Natchez was the top female finisher in the mile event with a time of 6:11.

Liz Lewis, 17, of Natchez was second at 7:02, while Jonda Ross of Natchez was third at 7:20.