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Nine-year-olds turn heads in 5K race

Seth Tucker did more than Survive the Five K June 7 in Savannah, he won the race.

The 27-year-old Bluffton, S.C., resident blazed to a 15:59 time, averaging 5:09 miles, to prevail over the field of 196. Wright Calhoun, 16, of Americus, Ga., ran a 17:04 to place second, and Drew Wade, 39, of Savannah, finished third in 17:46.

Michell Lafleur, 42, of Savannah, finished first among the women and fourth overall in a time of 18:17. A consistent top finisher in local races, Lafleur was the 12th American woman to finish the 2001 New York City Marathon with a time of 2:47:01 and qualified for the Olympic trials. Amanda Elliott, 17, of Richmond Hill, Ga., was second in 20:36, and Caitlin Heldt, 17, of Savannah, rounded out the top three in 20:49.

Stan Dodson, 44, placed first among the masters in 21:15. Jenny Kyle, 65, of Savannah, captured top honors on the women's side with a time of 22:23. Despite reaching retirement age, Kyle continues to defy time and outrun many of her younger contemporaries.

At the other age of the age spectrum was Reed Lotter. The 9-year-old Savannah youngster placed 11th overall in 21:06. By comparison, this writer, competing in his first 5K at the age of 36, ran some 10 seconds slower. My fastest 5K time was 19:59. Something tells me young Mr. Lotter will surpass that time in the next couple of years. Keep up with him if you can. Another 9-year-old, Savannah's Griffin Taylor, also turned an impressive time for his age, placing 46th in a time of 26:43. Finishing two places ahead of Taylor was another Savannah runner, Owen Elkin, a relative grizzled veteran at 11, who finished in 26:22.