FREDERICKTOWN — The 2009 Fredericktown Tomato Show 5-mile run was another chance to renew old acquaintances and talk about old times, while pitting one’s own body against the challenging course in hilly Fredericktown.
Fredericktown High School’s Isaac Potes and Fredericktown Middle School girls track coach Christine Stone dominated the field en route to victory in the men’s and women’s categories, respectively. Potes’ time of 26:28 led all runners. Todd Hawkins finished second in 26:55, and Jason Montgomery was third at 27:07. Stone ran the course in 34:23.
“I’ve been waiting six years for this one,” said Potes, who led the entire field for the first time this year. “I got started in this because of coach Sites. She was my fifth-grade teacher and she got me interested in cross country in the first place.”
“Beautiful morning,” said Stone, who led all female runners. “Lots of people out and it was a nice day to run. It’s a little hilly. Most of the people, who ran today have run for several years.”
As a longtime participant in the Tomato run, Stone recalls running against Potes in the yearly local classic when he was in middle school.
“We ran together,” said Stone. “That’s no longer the case because he is so much faster, but we ran a lot of it together.”
“I ran a 45:00 my first year, but times got progressively better,” said Potes, who turned to Stone and continued. “I remember running with you one year, but I don’t remember when it was.”
Potes, showing his plaque as the overall winner, said to Stone, “This is my first plaque, but you probably have about 50, though.” He quickly reminded his old friend (who has only been running it for 10 years) that he was only joking.
“Hopefully, I’ll still be running in this when I’m 70 years old,” laughed Stone.
Despite the fact that he was already running cross country in middle school, participation in the longer Tomato Run was no easy choice back then for Potes and his family six years ago.
“It was a big controversy because actually my asthma was much worse then,” said Potes. “Really, I run my asthma off is what I do. I started in sixth grade and I’ve been doing it ever since. It’s not as severe as it used to be and, actually, the more you train, the less prominent it is. Today, I was feeling it. I was feeling like a goose at the end, my throat was a bit constricted — it happens.”
There is a difference for Potes at the 5-mile distance, but it is not anything he can’t handle.
“The longer (the race) is, it kind of affects me a little more, but I can still get through it,” said Potes. “It’s annoying but it’s manageable.”
Stone had the opposite situation. The 5-miler is a short race for her.
“Really, I like the marathons better than the shorter races, but you have to do the local races yearly,” said Stone. “I get to see some of my junior high girls and all the cross country kids. It’s fun to watch them run a 5-mile instead of a 3-mile.”
One of Potes’ goals, beside finishing first, was to outrun Fredericktown assistant cross country coach, Bob Geiger.
“Last year, my game plan was just to beat Geiger,” said Potes. “Then, I ended up about a mile-and-a-half to two miles in and I said, ‘He’s running a little slow today.’ I saw the pack about, maybe, 300 meters up and I though, ‘I’m going to go after them.’ So I left him behind last year and ended up getting second.”
Potes has an advantage in these shorter distance races.
“I am more of a speed runner and (Geiger) is more of a marathoner,” said Potes.