Peek, McElroy prove they’re born to ‘Boogie’

McElroy leads wire-to-wire; Peek takes advantage of a 30-mile drop

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com This was presented to race director Doug Dawkins as a token of appreciation for keeping the Boogie tradition going for 20 years.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
This was presented to race director Doug Dawkins as a token of appreciation for keeping the Boogie tradition going for 20 years.

* Photo gallery – more than 1,700 photos – download for free!
* Final results by RacE NC – list of entrants
* Race reports – Joey A. – Amy S.
* Race preview

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

ELLERBE — Jennifer McElroy had a bounce in her step as she started off the 20th annual Bethel Hill Moonlight Boogie Saturday evening at Bethel Baptist Church near Ellerbe.

And her gait stayed just about the same throughout the five-loop, 50-mile road race.

At mile 16, she was asked if she wanted to take a short break. No way, McElroy said.

“I want to finish this up, then I’ll stop,” McElroy responded.

Only another 34 miles to go.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Jennifer McElroy, 38, of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., led the women's field wire to wire.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Jennifer McElroy, 38, of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., led the women’s field wire to wire.

A smile rarely left her face — maybe in a dark moment on the moonlit country roads when no one was looking — as the 38-year-old from New Smyrna Beach, Fla., led wire to wire en route to earning the title of Bethel Hill Moonlight Boogie 50-mile women’s champion with a time of 8 hours, 17 minutes and 39 seconds.

The time was good for second overall — and for a while, it looked as if McElroy might win the race outright after 39-year-old Dan Lenz, of Cameron, N.C., chose to complete only three laps.

The top 10 finishers: 1. Tyler Peek, 48, Morrisville, 8:00:42; 2. Jennifer McElroy, 38, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., 8:17:39; 3. Patrick Kane, 36, Greensboro, 8:44:33; 4. Cameron Kelly, 35, Raleigh, 9:01:30 5. John Robinson, 45, West End, 9:10:45; 6. Antonette Prather, 44, Garner, 9:14:50; 7. J.D. Prather, 51, Garner, 9:16:31; 8. David Solomon, 39, Roxboro, 9:28:47; 9. Vincent Sullivan, 9:30:42; 10. Scott Warrington, 39, Coppell, Texas, 9:31:15.

Until then, only Lenz was the only person in front of McElroy over the first 30 miles. A race official said Lenz dropped from the 50-mile race after 30 miles due to a sore back.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Dan Lenz led the first 30 miles of the race, but dropped out due to a sore back.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Dan Lenz led the first 30 miles of the race, but dropped out due to a sore back.

That left the men’s race to Peek and a handful of potential challengers. Peek won in 8:00:42 and the closest male competitor was Patrick Kane, 36, of Greensboro, who finished nearly 44 minutes back. In the early going, however, it was much closer than that.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Tyler Peek, 48, of Morrisville, N.C., was the Bethel Hill Moonlight Boogie 50-mile champion.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Tyler Peek, 48, of Morrisville, N.C., was the Bethel Hill Moonlight Boogie 50-mile champion.

About 5.6 miles in, Lenz already had a one-minute lead on McElroy for first while Peek was third, 70 seconds behind McElroy. Kane was fourth at that point, 62 seconds behind Peek. Henry Lupton, 50, of Kenly, N.C., was fifth at mile 5.6 in 50:40, only 15 seconds in front of Michael Sullivan, 42, of Fayetteville. Allen Griffin, 44, of Liberty, was seventh overall early on, 15 seconds behind Sullivan and 40 seconds ahead of Matthew Bedinghaus, 27, of Fayetteville.

Through 10.3 miles, the top four runners stayed the same but Lenz increased the gap between McElroy from 60 seconds to 3 minutes, 10 seconds. Peek, meanwhile, fell to 3:25 behind McElroy and his one-minute lead over Kane remained about the same.

At 16, the race clearly belonged to Lenz — or so most thought. Meanwhile, McElroy continued to plug along and increased her lead over Peek to nearly five full minutes. Peek’s lead over Kane increased to 5:14. Griffin moved up to fifth place (2:33:30 through 16) while Sullivan and Phillip Capaldi, 26, of Charlotte, were only three seconds apart and nearly three full minutes behind Griffin.

Mile 20 was the first major change among the top five runners. Lenz continued to increase his lead on McElroy — now up to 12:38 — while Peak was 2:18 behind the women’s leader and comfortably in third overall. Griffin had moved up to fourth place but was more than 14 minutes behind Peak. Pam Rickard, 52, of Rocky Mount, cracked the top five as she reached Mile 20 in 3:21:30, 35 seconds ahead of Capaldi.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com The start, heading downhill from Bethel Baptist Church.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
The start, heading downhill from Bethel Baptist Church.

Annette Prather, 44, of Garner, and J.D. Prather, 51, of Garner, took spots seven and eight together in 3:22:30 with 30 miles to go.

Another 32 runners stopped at 30 miles. In previous years, the Bethel Hill Moonlight Boogie offered a marathon (26.2-mile) option but that was eliminated for 2014. Instead, runners could opt out after three laps (30 miles) and receive a custom-made finisher’s mug for their efforts. However, the 30-mile distance was not a contested race event.

Notes from the road

* Bill Keane, of Winston-Salem, completed his 295th ultra marathon (any footrace over the standard 26.2-mile marathon distance). Keane finished in 38th place among 50 50-mile finishers with a time of 11 hours, 40 minutes and 53 seconds.

* The course once again took its toll on the human spirit. Of the 120 registered runners, only 50 complete the 50-mile distance, including 15 of 34 women. Thirty of the 50 50-milers (60 percent) were Mangum Track Club members.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Bill Keane, 295 ultramarathon finishes

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Bill Keane, 295 ultramarathon finishes

* Being a Mangum Track Club member pays off, as runners become familiar with a portion of the Boogie course during the rite of passage known as the Shirt Run. Ten of 15 (66.6 percent) of the women who completed 50 miles were MTC members, as were 20 of 35 men (57.1 percent). In addition, 14 of 22 (63.6 percent) of men who finished 30 miles were MTC members, as were six of 10 (60 percent) female 30-milers.

* Volunteers and members of Bethel Baptist Church provided, at no cost, hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, salads, slaw, water, sweet tea, desserts and more not only to paid runners but their family members and general spectators. They refused to take money for their efforts, saying it was their way of reaching out to the community.

* Interested in a course a little shorter, a little easier? The GNAT Scat 10K is a single-loop 6.2-mile road race scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 11 in the Norman countryside.

 

 

 

Filed in: Featured News, Front Sports News, Latest Headlines, Outdoors, Sports

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