Taylor Gilland could serve as the archetypical runner taking part in the Cardinal Track Club’s annual Gallop and Gorge 8K road race on Thanksgiving Day.
“I try to stay healthy and eat healthy,” Taylor said, while admitting “but I don’t run anywhere near as much as I did in college.”
A state champion for Chapel Hill High who went on to run at the University of Virginia, Gilland ignored the frigid weather – with temperatures in the mid-20s at race time in downtown Carrboro last Thursday – and set a blistering pace to win the 8K with a time of 25:18.89.
First-place finisher in the men’s 50-54 age bracket John Hinton said it took some will power to make it to the race.
“I said, ‘It’s cold; it’s early; maybe I could just stay in bed,’” Hinton said.
“Despite the cold weather, we had a great turnout this year,” race director and Cardinal treasurer Meredith Bolon said. “We had close to (1,400) registered, and we’re thrilled to see so many families and so many generations coming out to include this in their holiday weekend.”
Taylor, who now lives and works in Boston, agreed that dedicated runners will defy poor conditions. “It’s cold up there, but people still get out and run.”
Marc Jeuland (25:56.14) earned second place in the Gallop & Gorge, while Tyle Stelzig (27:58.39) took third.
“(Rob Jeuland) and I started off and ran right next to each other for most of the race,” Gilland said. “I just picked it up a little at the end – right around four miles.”
Finishing first among females was Bull City Running Club’s Jennifer Woods (30:14.64), who bested teammate Allie Bigelow (30:55.65) and Joan Nesbit Mabe (31:12.64).
“My friend Allie Bigelow and I were pacing off each other,” Woods said. “I pulled away with two miles to go.”
“There are so many turns on that course,” she said. “The cold wasn’t bad once you started going.”
Capturing gold among the masters men was Allen Baddour (28:31.61), followed by Adam Eigenrauch (28:46.87), and Patrick McGahan (29:30.90). Among the masters females, it was Caren Mangarelli (32:34.39) in first place, with JoAnna Younts (33:44.65) finishing second, and Shannon Johnstone (34:26.38) also earning a place on the podium.
The Gallop and Gorge marked the final event in another round of Cardinal’s Tour de Carrboro three-race series. The Four on the Fourth road race was held in July, and the Carrboro 10K race was on Oct. 5.
The Cardinal Track Club ( www.cardinaltrack.com) is a Carrboro / Chapel Hill-based organization dedicated to the enjoyment and promotion of running at all levels.
“It’s been a great turnout with great enthusiasm and participation throughout the three races,” Bolon said.
“This is like my dessert before dinner,” said Nesbit Mabe, who was joined by her husband Dave Mabe in this year’s race.
“I actually choose to stay here in town for Thanksgiving because of this race. This is a priority,” she said. “Thanksgiving’s about family, and this is our family, too.”
The Four on the Fourth drew 767 runners, while 550 runners registered for the Carrboro 10K. The Gallop and Gorge topped both of the previous races combined, with 1,366 runners registered, and 1,246 crossing the finish line last Thursday.
All three races in the Tour de Carrboro series benefit the Optimists’ Club of Chapel Hill, the Arc of Orange County, the Orange County Rape Crisis Center, the Get Real and Heel Breast Cancer Program, the UNC Wellness Medical Fitness Scholarship, and TABLE – a non-profit organization bringing college students and community volunteers together to help feed hungry children locally.
“Last year, we were thrilled to give $45,000 to our partner charities,” Bolon said, “and we hope to do the same or better this year.”
Bolon was quick to spread the credit around.
“We’re thankful for the scores of volunteers from our partner charity organizations,” she said. “They came out here early in the morning to direct parking, to monitor the course, and to make sure all of the runners and their families could get where they needed to go safely.
“We’re also so grateful for the all the different community organizations who come out on Thanksgiving to support this race, including the Carrboro Police, Carrboro Public Works, the South Orange Rescue Squad.”
Next up for many of the runners will be the Trailheads’ Little River Trail Runs on Jan. 18, which has maxed out registrations every year.
“We’re coming up on the ninth annual Little River 10-mile and 7K Trail Runs,” Little River co-race director Dave Elam said. “We’ve raised over $41,000 for the park so far. We have a cap of 650 runners, so there’s still room.”
For more information, runners can email: firstname.lastname@example.org.