Derek Bovard of Atlanta, Georgia, and Jessica Jones of Dauphin Island, Ala. were the overall winners of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon’s 5K Run Saturday at the Point Cadet.
An estimated 1,000 runners braved near-freezing temperatures at the start on Biloxi’s east end to run the 3.1 miles.
“It’s been a great weekend so far,” Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon co-founder Patrick Fellows said. “A little bit hairy yesterday trying to get people to come in and get their packets. But the next two days are perfect weather for running.”
Fellows felt the weather did not affect the 5K run turnout.
“From a registration standpoint, we are a little ahead of where we were last year,” said Fellows. “A few show up on race day. Sometimes it depends upon the weather, so I don’t know exactly how many started the 5K, but we had about 1,000 registered.”
Bovard, a former Ocean Springs resident, crossed the finish line first with a time of 18:50. Jones was the first female to finish with a time of 21:51.
“It was great, nice and cold, but these conditions allow for great times,” said Bovard. “It’s easier to breathe. The hotter and the more humid it is, the harder it is to breathe. My family lives here, so I like to come home and support the hometown race. Last year I jogged with my sister. It was one of her first races. I just jogged with her to get her to the finish line.”
The win was Bovard’s fifth of a 5K event in 2017. He is scheduled to run the half marathon on Sunday.
Jones enjoyed the course, but needed to adjust to the cold weather.
“It’s a nice course, and it’s well organized, I like it,” said Jones. “I live in the south, so this cold I’m not use to, especially since it just got here yesterday. But I dressed warm and did alright.”
Jones is running the full marathon on Sunday as a pacer.
Charlie Anderson of Zachary, La., finished second in the men’s competition with a time of 20:01. Kelly Goff of St. Francisville, La. finished second in the women’s competition with time of 22:09.
For some, the 5K is a way to work on pace and running style. For others it’s way to get introduced to running. Svetlana Lucas ran her second 5K run on Saturday. The Hattiesburg native began working out in late May.
“It meant a lot to me,” said Lucas. “This is my second 5K. I’ve only been working out since May 28th. It meant a great deal to me. It took everything I had, but I knocked off four minutes from the first time, which was phenomenal to me.”