Unique Running Event Benefits Mercer Cross Country Programs
The inaugural “Middle Georgia Distance Challenge” to benefit the Mercer Cross Country team was held on Saturday (June 26). The challenge consisted of three separate races contested over a 12-hour period: A 10 kilometer road race, a one mile race and a 5 kilometer trail race.
Trophies and prizes were awarded for each race and to the runners who posted the fastest aggregate time for all three races. RunFit Sports sponsored the winner's prizes.
L.H. Thompson (manufacturer of state-of-the-art bicycle parts) were the gracious hosts of the Challenge at their facility at Northeast Industrial Blvd., just south of Macon. The 10K race began and ended at the L.H. Thompson factory, while the one mile and 5K trail race were contested entirely on the facility’s property.
The Challenge was organized by Mercer cross country alumnus - and vice-chairman of the “Friends of Mercer Cross Country” organization - Jason Morgan (’06) as a fund-raiser for the Bears’ cross country team. “I am very pleased and honored that Jason has continued to be involved and support the team,” said MU head coach Ryan Bailey. “Jason is our number one fan and a real asset to the squad. This event was a complex and labor-intensive effort and he really went out of his way to make it nice.”
Morgan’s efforts in making the Challenge successful were supported by the Mercer coaching staff as well as several members of the current cross country team.
The men’s challenge was dominated from start to finish by local collegiate runner, Robert Bradham. Bradham (Georgia Military College) won all three races.
The women’s race was much closer with no clear winner until the final few paces of the 5K race. The overall winner for the women’s Challenge was Andrea Berger, a local runner and member of the Macon Tracks running club (Berger is a familiar face at road, trail and adventure races across the state).