Rain didn’t deter Tanner Cook from his appointed run through Burke’s Garden. While he didn’t break the course record he set in 2017 Cook’s time of 1:14:18 for the Varmint half marathon was more than six minutes in front of second place finisher Jason Wieltal, who ran it in 1:20:42. Cook, a 25-year-old Johnson City resident averaged 5:40 a mile for the 13.1 mile course and appropriately wore number 1 in the race.
Ryan Morris, 20, from Dryden took third place with a time of 1:21:31. Macie Carrier, from Bluff City, TN was the first woman across the line and sixth overall at 1:29:48. Stephanie Place Buchanan, 31, of Bristol was on her heels at 1:30:16 for seventh overall and second among the women.
Laura Duffy, 42, of Johnson City took third in the female division and 13th overall, running the course in 1:36:19. Concord cross country runner Samuel Haynes, 20, from Cana, Va. won the 5k running the course in 18:01. Matt Blankenship, a 17-year-old cross country and track runner at Tazewell High finished second and Scott Gross, 31 of Marion took third. Erica Morgan, 35, of Princeton, WVa. took home the big sheep in the women’s division with a time of 24:39. Samantha Ferrell, 18, from Richlands claimed the second spot among females with a time of 28:42. 11-year-old Addison Huffman covered the course in 28:54 to finish third among the females and 16 overall.
Nathan Cook, a 12- year-old finished sixth overall at 23:11. Nick Taylor, from Tazewell and Ian Rhudy from Burke’s Garden, both 13 were eighth and ninth respectively. This year’s race honored three Tazewell County students who are patients at St Jude’s. Zack Carter, Hunter Campbell and Brent Anderson are pictured on the shirts and the proceeds were donated to St Jude’s. Organizer Charity Hurst said the number of runners was down this year and attributed it to the weather and that a lot of runners did a 50K the prior week. 141 runners braved the elements and the 13 mile course. Hurst, one of three people to run the course virtually kept her string of running the course every year alive as did Millie Keene of Baptist Valley, who finished 119 overall in the Varmint.
Friends pushed Josh Wandell, a former principal at Eastside High School was again pushed by his friends. Wandell, who suffers from ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, continues to take part in races to raise awareness to the search for a cure.