Macon’s Jeff Dobias knew someone was not far behind him, and as last year’s 10K winner got to the five-mile mark of the Macon Labor Day Road Race, he found out who had been following him for the entire race.
Atlanta’s Kevin Graham, who was running the course for the first time, was able to catch Dobias and eventually pass him as he covered the 10K course in a time of 34 minutes and 12 seconds, a time that even surprised him.
“I was hoping to be under 36,” Graham said. “I was really, really surprised. I didn’t think I could run that fast, and I didn’t think I was in that good a shape, but it tells you how good the course is and how perfect the weather was. I had someone ahead of me for almost the entire race, and with about a mile to go we came together, and I was trying as hard as I could to shake him, and I really couldn’t do it.
“I think I just got lucky. My friend Pat Will had been trying to get me down here to run this race, and he thought I could win it. I was really just trying for a top five. When I was on the course and I had to make that decision to go try and win or just finish, I guess it was because I had Pat here and my girlfriend here, and I wanted to impress them. The young man ahead of me pushed me as hard as I can go. He just ran a great race.
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Dobias was satisfied with his performance.
“I had heard the footsteps the entire race, and when he put on his charge I tired to respond, but I just couldn’t keep up,” said Dobias, who is the cross country coach at Mount de Sales. “I ran a little bit faster last year, but it’s just one of those things where you never really know how you are gonna do and you just go out and do your best and see what happens. “
Euleen Josian-Tanner from Atlanta, coasted to a 10K victory on the women’s side.
“I loved the course so much, said Josian-Tanner, who is originally from Georgetown, Guinea. “I tend to win most of the 5 and 10Ks that I run, and I had some friends who talked me into running in this one. It’s always nice to win.”
Josian-Tanner, who is currently training for a marathon, ran as if the 10K was just a walk in the park for her.
“I am running anywhere from 100 to 120 miles per week right now, so this was just a nice tempo run for me,” Josian–Tanner said. “It was good for me to come here and compete, and like I said, it was just a great course and very fun.”
The 5K races had some very familiar winners. Grace Tinkey, a standout at FPD, won for the third straight year despite competing in a high school cross country race Saturday.
“I felt great, and it is always good to win this race. I didn’t do anything (Sunday), and really one day is not too bad of a turnaround for me,” Tinkey said. “This is the Labor day Road Race, and I had to come out here and do my best, and thankfully it worked out. It’s great to be out here with all my FPD friends who are running also.”
The men’s 5K winner could not even remember how many times he had won in this event.
“I think I have won six of the 5Ks and three of the 10Ks,” said Alan Black, who resides in Monticello. “I have been doing some triathlon training lately, and I figured it was time for me to come back here and do the 5K. The worst part for me of the entire race is when I get here to the start time. When the gun goes off all the butterflies go away, and I just want to compete. The adrenaline kind of takes over. I don’t know how many more of these I can win, so I am going to enjoy it while I can. I’m 36 years old now, so it’s always good to be able to beat the younger guys.”