Butler, Meacham, Inman pace Farmers Day 5K

Baxley, Caulder, Smith finish atop women’s field

By Kevin Spradlin
and Nick Beggs


* Photo gallery – the start line
* Complete results – click here
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ELLERBE — Sherri Caulder seemed relieved to get the finish line.

In the inaugural Farmers Parade 5K run and walk Saturday morning in Ellerbe, the 52-year-old woman placed 14th among 75 official finishers in a time of 27 minutes, 19.9 seconds — second in the women’s standings behind Hamlet resident Rosemary Baxley. Bailey ran through the two orange cones that marked the end of the 3.1-mile road course in 25:00.4.

Stephanie Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Rosemary Baxley, left in orange, won the women's title.

Stephanie Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Rosemary Baxley, left in orange, won the women’s title.

“I worked last night,” Caulder said, “but it was good. It was fun.”

Twenty-seven minutes into her race next weekend, Caulder won’t be even close to the finish line. That’s not a forecast of a dismal performance. Instead, its recognition of Caulder’s ultra marathon debut at the Derby 50K, a 31.5-mile three-loop course in northern Richmond County.

Like Caulder, Baxley also is in training for the longer distances. She has her eyes and training plan focused on redemption at the Ellerbe Marathon in March. This past Spring, Baxley covered the 26.2-mile distance in 5 hours, 18 minutes and 14 seconds. She had expected to run much closer to the four-hour mark and more expected given her distance-running resume.

This is the first week for many runners planning and preparing for a marathon in mid to late March. The training cycle generally ranges between 16 and 18 weeks. While endurance and strength are two key components for any marathon runner, speed also is important — even in the longer distances. That’s an element with which Kyle Butler seems to have little issue.

For the second time in as many tries this month, Butler, 27, of Rockingham, won a Richmond County 5K. On Saturday, he led the field of 75 runners to the finish in 18:51. It was 38 seconds slower than his 18:13 performance at the Allison Butler Memorial 5K at Hinson Lake on Nov. 8. The cold, Butler said, might have had an adverse impact on the outcome if not his effort.

“It was alright,” Butler said shortly after stopping the clock more than two minutes ahead of runner-up Drew Meacham. “It was a little tough, a little cold, a little windy and a little hilly. It was one of my slower 5Ks, but I think the conditions have a lot to do with it.”

Stephanie Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Stephanie Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Hilly is in the eyes of the runner. Cold — unquestionable. Event participants drove by the Carolina Farm Credit sign that indicated a frosty 25 degrees when race-day registration opened up at 7 a.m. It was only a few degrees warmer an hour later at the start line behind Town Hall.

Butler, too, is training for a Spring marathon. He has not yet picked out his goal race for early 2015 but is aiming for a Boston Marathon-qualifying effort.

Butler’s closest competitor was 17-year-old Drew Meacham, of Ellerbe. Meacham finished in 21:01 while Todd Inman, of Rockingham, was third overall in 21:19.8.

A deputy with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office helped clear the path along the out-and-back road course in a patrol car while volunteers with the Ellerbe Fire Department assisted with traffic control.

Proceeds from the race, Councilman Jean Fletcher said, will help fun the town’s Hometown Christmas event. The celebration is set to run from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 4.


Filed in: Latest Headlines, Sports

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  • Deon Cranford III

    I’m Sherri’s 3rd shift supervisor. She did work the night before and the night after. She is an outstanding coworker and a great person. I applaud her commitment to her health as well as her ability to take something she genuinely loves to do and use it to help raise money for various fund raisers. Great job to Sherri, the rest of our associates who ran, and everyone else who braved the cold and participated.

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