Eighty-three is just a number for Bill Briggs, his age, as it turns out. He belied his age by capturing second in the 65 & over age group in a local January 11 race.
The octogenarian offered proof that his running days are anything but numbered.
Briggs was among the 89 runners competing in the third annual Cooler in Pooler Resolution 5K and 15K races, both of which started and finished at West Chatham Middle School. The event benefits the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Coastal Empire and the Pooler Chamber of Commerce outreach programs.
In the 5K race, Adam Colorito, 25, topped the 48-person field in a time of 18:51. Amanda Elliot, 18, placed second overall and first among the women in 20:00. Jeremiah Dease, 15, was second among the men with a time of 20:11, and Scott Althen, 40, took third in 20:27. Michelle Hamilton, 25, placed second in the women's field with a time of 26:06, and Joy Sheppard, 43, rounded out the top three in 27:21.
In the 15K, Tim Price, 23, cruised to victory, finishing more than 8 minutes ahead of second-place Michael Manzano, 24 (1:03:12) in a time of 55:08. Brendan Mahoney, 24, was third in 1:03:24. Lauren Knight, 29, topped the women's field and was sixth overall in 1:08:40. That was nearly five minutes ahead of Dianne Majeroni, 43, who finished in 1:13:19. Aubree Erlandson, 24, was third in 1:14:00.
Briggs, a resident of Savannah, finished with a time of 37:36. He says he runs in that area and likes the course. While many Northerners welcomed the mild temperatures, the former Massachusetts resident would have preferred conditions more akin to the polar vortex. "It was too warm," Briggs says. "I like it cool - 50 and cloudy with high humidity."
Briggs has run for nearly 35 years and done 60 marathons. He describes it as a lifestyle and a contest with yourself. "All of life is a challenge," Briggs says. "Running is something I enjoy."
Briggs says running keeps him young and makes him a bit of a celebrity at races. "It's flattering when the younger generation wants to talk to you, especially when they're women," Briggs remarks. "People know you've been around a while and look up to you. That's fun."
Jeremiah Howe was a toddler when Briggs started running. Saturday, they shared top finishes as participants in the 5K.
A Marine for the past 18 years, Howe placed first in the 35-44 age group and fifth overall with a time of 23:06. He says the running conditions were excellent and the course well-marked.
Howe runs as part of his training to remain in shape. On an off day, therefore, one could hardly blame the 36-year-old Michigan resident if he took a day off from running.
Yet he's among the "few and proud" who marches to a different beat or, in this case, runs to it.
"I like to run,"says Howe, who's training at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection center in Brunswick. "It feels good to run for charity. This is more relaxed than when I'm running in the Marines." He adds that his time was a little slower than usual. "I guess I'm getting older," Howe says with a smile.