Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - Updated: 8:52 AM
A training officer at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville conquered Kuttawa mountain in 18 minutes 35 seconds Saturday in the second annual Boo Bash Kuttawa Mountain Dash.
Major Curtis Persinger, a former college athlete who ran track and cross country at the University of Louisville, said he had run the mountain course once before but started at the west end instead of the east trailhead.
Saturday's 5K run/walk started at the small pavilion in Silver Cliff Park, proceeded east about a mile before entering the trailhead across the mountain. "That's probably one of the tougher hills I've ever run in a race," Persinger said. "It was probably every bit of a half mile long straight up, and it was hard to recover after I hit that hill."
The Boo Bash was a fundraiser to help pay the expenses for the 17th annual Veterans Appreciation Luncheon and Program, said Terrie White, program founder. And the course was expanded this year, she added.
"After last year's run was such a success, we decided to lengthen it and to make it an annual event," White said. "Many people probably take Kuttawa Mountain for granted and don't realize what a 'jewel' we have. We took suggestions from some of last year's runners to make the course better, and we plan to take suggestions this year. One suggestion we implemented was to lengthen the run from two miles to a full 5K. It's a tough climb, but the comments from the runners were all positive.
"Kuttawa Fire Chief Bill Compton, along with Dale Hawkes, emergency management director, was active in the planning, and Bill was actually the person who came up with the route to make it as safe as possible and be a full 5K," White said. "Several agencies from the county came together to help with the race including Eddyville Fire Department, Kuttawa Fire Department, Lyon County Rescue, Lyon County Emergency Management, Lyon County Sheriff Department, and Lyon County Ambulance Service.
"Art Joyce and his crew, worked on the trail to ensure it was in the best shape I have ever seen," she said. "Volunteers who helped the morning of the race were Tom and Cindy Simpson, Will and Natalie Simpson, Patti Haeberlin, Jill Akridge, and Cash White.
"As the runners came across the finish line and caught their breath, they were talking about how well marked the course was, and they liked the fact that the emergency crews were so visible in case they were needed," White said. "Many runners said they had never seen anything like it at any other race. Even though we were down in numbers from last year's first race, we hope next year we will have more runners both local and from other communities. This is one of our main fundraisers for the Veterans Program and we expect the race to grow. I knew we had great emergency teams in the county, but after Saturday, I know we have the best first responders anywhere.
Persinger, who moved to the Eddy Creek community in May, said he appreciates the volunteers who organized the Boo Bash. "I think it's an outstanding event to support the local and past military people and those who currently serve," he said. "I hope this keeps up and hope I can help out in the future. I want to try to get into community events now that I've moved down here."
Josh Renfro of Marion came in second with a time of 21 minutes, 30 seconds. "His brother was killed in action in 2008 so causes such as ours has a special meaning for him," White said.
Clint Norton of Murray, who runs several 5Ks every year and finished first last year in a little more than 15 minutes, came in third this year with a time of 21 minutes, 55 seconds.
"It was a much shorter race last year. It's a very nice course and I have to compliment the volunteers because of all the races I've been to, this is the best volunteer organization I've seen."