Webster County Magistrate, Chad Townsend dominated the men’s 40 to 44 age group by winning all five events.
He was followed closely by Jason Hughes, a Providence native who now lives in Caldwell County. Hughes won two out of five races in the 35 to 39 age bracket, finishing with-in ten seconds either way of Townsend in four of the races.
“Chad and Jason had a lot of fun competing against each other,” said Lisa Deavers, Acting Assistant Director Recreation Parks/Historic Sites Western Region Recreation Coordinator. “At the next to last race (at Kentucky Dam Village) I told Chad that Jason didn’t want him to show up for the next one.”
Townsend won his age group again in Henderson, giving him the edge he needed to win the points. When everything was tabulated he won the overall men’s championship 59 to 55 over Hughes.
“I got fortunate and was able to win my series all five times,” said Chad Townsend. “That really made all of the difference between me and Jason.”
Hughes and Townsend didn’t know each other before the five race series started, but when they got to talking they realized they were both from Webster County.
“We really developed a friendship because of this series,” Townsend said. “Running these races you get to meet a lot of people who don’t mind talking.”
Hughes said that he and Townsend both ran in the Louisville 1/2 Marathon before they met. They finished with-in a few minutes of each other.
In addition to his friendship with Hughes, Townsend said the two also got to be close with two other runners who ran times close to their own; Brian Roskoskey of Christian County (he won his age group at Providence’s Conquer Town Hill 5K) and Barry Bowlds of Owensboro.
“We were all pushing each other,” Townsend said. “We tried to motivate each other to run harder and faster. It was never discouraging when one of us finished ahead of the others.”
Points were awarded by both the runner’s finishing position in their age group, and their time. Even though their times were similar, Townsend, Hughes, Roskoskey and Bowlds were all in different age groups.
“If we’d been in the same age group it might have been different,” Townsend said with a laugh. “We were all in different groups so we weren’t competing.”
During the series runners visited Kenlake, Lake Barkley, Pennyrile, Kentucky Dam Village and John James Audubon state parks, competing in some of the most beautiful terrain in Western Kentucky.
“I’d never been to three of the four state parks we ran in,” Townsend said. “The top two finishers both received gift cards from the Kentucky State Parks, so I’m going to try to visit some more.”
Townsend said four of the five courses were very challenging for training or running - only the Kentucky Dam Village race was moderately flat.
“Yeah, the other four were the most brutal 5K’s I’ve ever run,” Hughes agreed.
Townsend said that he plans to run the series again next year but Hughes said he will have to wait and see.
“I’ve been following the Runners’ World marathon training program,” he said. “I had trouble running the 5K on Saturday and then doing distance training on Sunday.”
Hughes is training for “Rock ‘N Roll New Orleans”, a marathon that benefits the American Cancer Society. It will be held February 24, 2013.
Plans are already under way for the Western Kentucky Race Series for 2013.
“We’ve been doing this in Central Kentucky for eight years,” said Lisa Deavers. “It’s been a success there and it was very successful here. We’re already looking to hold the first race in the 2013 series on August 17 at Kenlake.”
Kentucky’s state park system will release more information about the series in February.
Chad’s wife Jeana Townsend also ran all five of the 5K races. She finished second in each and finished in 4th place in the women’s division.
J-E News Editor
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