December 7, 2013
(Originally published in the December 7th 2013 issue of The Daily Citizen)
Calhoun’s Grady Silver, who at 83 was the oldest runner in the 11th annual Silver Bell Sprint foot race, seemed to express the spirit of some 400 rain-drenched participants Friday night in the downtown Dalton area.
“I really enjoy this race. I’ve run it several times.”
In the feature 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) race, Silver clocked a time of 35 minutes and 45 seconds to win the 75-and-older division.
A pair of former area prep standouts who are now competing for Dalton State College’s cross country program — Isaac Pacheco and Nayeli Jacobo — were the overall male and female winners.
As for Silver, he hopes to be back for the holiday run next year.
“I’ll continue to do this as long as I can,” he said. “I run maybe five or six races a year. This is the only night race that I’ve run this year.”
Silver’s distance running career goes back almost 40 years.
“I started running at age 44. Within a year, I ran a marathon at 6:30 pace,” said Silver, who finished the Atlanta Marathon in 2 hours and 47 minutes. “I obviously had a lot of ability. I was proud to run the 100th Boston Marathon.”
Silver was one of some 300 5K finishers. About 100 completed a preliminary one-mile fun run.
Pacheco, a North Murray High School graduate, claimed the overall title for the third straight time. He won in 16:38, a pace of 5:22 per mile, although his first mile was actually completed in 4:50.
“This always has been one of my favorite races,” said Pacheco, who won in 16:14 in 2012. “I’ve run this for as long as I can remember. My time was a little bit off from last year. It was a little slick due to the rain. I think almost everybody’s time was off some.”
Dean Thompson, a 48-year-old Cohutta resident and regular contender at area road races, was the runner-up, eight seconds behind Pacheco.
Jacobo, a Murray County High School graduate who like Pacheco is a freshman at Dalton State, paced the females in 20:12.
“This is my favorite road race,” Jacobo said. “I never miss this race. I just love the Christmas feeling and jolly feeling. I really was not bothered by the rain.”
Isabel Salinas, a Southeast Whitfield High sophomore, claimed the second female spot in 20:20 to edge Shelley Taylor Rickett, the former Northwest Whitfield High School and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga standout — she now coaches at Northwest — by a fraction of a second.
In the fun run, two 10-year-old City Park Elementary School fifth graders prevailed as winners. Whitley Wingfield led the girls in 5:34, while Victor Soria paced the boys in 6:02.
“The rain cut our participation a lot,” said Staci Halyak, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sis-ters of Northwest Georgia Moun-tains, which sponsors and benefits from the event. “However, it went well otherwise,”
A record turnout of almost 800 participants took part in 2012.
Full results will be available at the coordinating Carpet Capital Running Club of Dalton’s website, carpetcapitalrunningclub.com.