Runners in The Advocate Cypress 5k figured to have to move quickly to get their blood pumping with temperatures hovering around 40 degrees as the race started Saturday morning.
Baton Rouge resident Joshua Andrews did just that, as the 31-year-old set a personal best by nearly a minute to win the race by a 23-second margin.
The clock above the finish line showed 16 minutes, 56 seconds as Andrews crossed, but the race’s online results displayed his finish time as 17:38.
“I’m just happy with my time, to be honest with you,” Andrews said. “I didn’t think I’d win, so it’s even better.”
“I could’ve run that time in 20th place and been happy.”
The straightaway finish down Fourth Street toward the capitol buoyed Andrews. With nothing except a pace car in front of him, he pumped his arms and legs into overdrive.
“It’s a well organized race,” Andrews said. “I liked the big straightaway (at the end); it was nice because you know where you’re at. I think that helped my time.”
Peter Alleman and David Haynes rounded out the top-three finishers with times of 18:01 and 18:16 according to the online results.
The big surprise on race day came from the top female finishers — all of whom were 13 years old or younger.
Annie Hill — a 13-year-old St. Aloysius cross-country runner — was the top female finisher, crossing the line in 19:14.
Hill has won a couple of cross-country and track races, but Saturday was her first competitive 5K. Hill turned in a fourth place overall finish.
“I’ve run two-mile races, but never a 5K,” Hill said. “I’ve done more than a three-mile run before, but it was my first 5K race. I felt good, but it was cold.”
“Towards the end, the last half-mile, it was tough. I was tired, and I had to go faster.”
Hill runs approximately five days per week according to her mother, Louise, with each run averaging around five miles.
Louise Hill, who has completed 15 marathons, was beaming after the race.
“It’s a proud moment,” she said. “You’re grateful. You’re grateful for her athletic ability. You can’t help it. I lived it and enjoyed it as a parent.”
Thirteen-year-old Shelby Granier and 12-year-old Angelle Primeaux rounded out the top-three female finishers in the race with times of 21:17 and 21:26.
LSU fans who crossed the finish line were in for a pleasant surprise when they received their finisher’s medals.
LSU junior quarterback Zach Mettenberger was among the volunteers handing the medals out. Mettenberger declined an interview, but said he was doing it to help one of his former teachers.