The 26th annual 300 Oaks Road Race was blessed with glorious sunshine, cooler than normal temperatures and more than 900 runners and walkers eager to make their mark.
“It's perfect,” said Beth Stevens, executive vice president of the Greenwood-Leflore County Chamber of Commerce. “We've all been complaining because we're chilly this morning. We couldn't ask for better weather.”
She said more than 900 runners and walkers signed up by Friday night. Before the start of the race Saturday morning, the number of participants increased to more than 1,000.
Miles Martin of Florence won the Men's Overall 10K run with a time of 35:01 - beating 2006's winning time of 35:32 held by Rob Oates of Brandon.
Oates came in third overall this year with a time of 36:13.
Angel Overstreet of Magee took the overall 10K run for women with a time of 40:33.
After crossing the finish line, Martin said he's a veteran of the Greenwood race.
“I've run it several years. The thing I like about it is it's flat. It's cooler than it usually is. That was nice,” he said.
Martin was accompanied this year by his wife, Amanda, and his daughter, Chloe, 14 months.
Amanda said this was her first time to come to Greenwood for the race.
“It's pretty, real pretty,” she said.
Saturday's cool temperatures, she said, reminded her that it's “almost time for a jacket,” she said.
Janey Seabergh of Vicksburg is a veteran of the race. Her husband, Bill Seabergh, is an avid walker.
“It's lovely. Isn't this beautiful weather?” she said.
“This is one we come to often because it is so nice up here in Greenwood. We spend the night,” Seabergh said.
The Seaberghs stay busy racing. Bill Seabergh races in the Grand Prix of the Mississippi Track Club based in Clinton.
On Saturday, 19 teams competed in the race. Greenwood's Viking Range Corp. had the largest team with 189 members. That team had a combined time of 187:00.
Saturday's wind was a cause of concern to Greenwood Fire Chief Larry Griggs, who last raced in the 10K in 1988.
“The wind is going to slow them down a little bit. In fact, the wind must be 15 miles per hour at least,” he said.
Griggs said the first runner would likely cross the finish line some 31 to 36 minutes after the race started.
Martin beat Griggs' outside time by 59 seconds.
John Nevels of Starkville is a veteran of 300 Oaks. He likes it and calls it a “fun race.”
Will Dean of Cleveland, who started running at the beginning of this year, said he intends to come back next year.
“There's a spirit about it, getting out and seeing the racers prepare for the race. It's good to be a part of it,” he said.
Esther Williams of Greenwood has participated for the three years as an individual contestant. This year she was part of the Continue Home Health team.
She said she likes the way 300 Oaks brings people together.
“It's getting bigger and bigger every year. It's great,” Williams said.