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Four-year-old Jackson Coffey (565) gets some last-minute advice from running buddy Nolan Light, 4, before the 1-mile fun run at the River City Run in Decatur on Saturday.
DAILY Photo by Jonathan Palmer
Four-year-old Jackson Coffey (565) gets some last-minute advice from running buddy Nolan Light, 4, before the 1-mile fun run at the River City Run in Decatur on Saturday.

Twice the speed
White collects gold winning River City Run

By Paul Stackhouse
DAILY Correspondent

Moulton's Heath White readily admits that winning the River City 10K Run on Saturday morning at Point Mallard Park was just another day.

In a time of 33:01, Heath White of Moulton grabbed his second straight River City 10K Run crown.
DAILY Photo by Jonathan Palmer
In a time of 33:01, Heath White of Moulton grabbed his second straight River City 10K Run crown.
White, who will turn 23 on May 2, took first place in the men's division in 33 minutes, 1 second. He became the third runner to win the race two times and the second to win it consecutively.

Huntsville's Amber Keller, 31, finished first among females in 43:25.

White, who says running races is an addiction for him, finished his final year of eligibility for the University of North Alabama cross country team this past fall. He said he plans on graduating in the spring of 2007 with a degree in finance.

"Just because I'm not running cross country with UNA any more doesn't mean I'm going to stop running races," White said. "There's just something about doing this. Not only do I enjoy it, but, I sort of feel like it is some kind of addiction."

White has had success running in nearby races.

"I won the Jesse Owens 10K the last two years in Moulton also," White said. "I can't really say that winning my first race there was my most memorable moment in racing, but it has to be close. I don't want anybody to think I'm not proud of winning the Jesse Owens 10K because I am, I'm very proud of it. But, I don't tend to dwell on races I've won or have run in. I sort of take everything one day at a time.

"I did stay up sort of late last night, but I wasn't necessarily thinking about winning this race. Staying up late is sort of a routine for me. I came in fairly confident I could win, but I haven't been worrying about it."

White finished in third place out of 75 runners Feb. 25 in the Bankhead Forest 50K. His time was 4 hours, 17 minutes.

"Running in these events is something I do to push myself," White said. "No matter what I do in them, I'm never satisfied with myself. I'm always telling myself I can do better than what I did.

"I can't really say I have any definite goals in running. I want to keep my future wide open. But, if I was to set a world record in the Olympics, the first thing I would think about is how come I didn't finish five seconds faster."

Keller, 31, who works for Lockheed-Martin in Huntsville, said she had no plans to participate in the River City Run.

"I have a friend (Jason Gilliam) who is getting started running races," Keller said. "I really came over here in support of him. I was running closely with him on the course when I saw I had a chance to win. So, I knew he wouldn't mind — I took off without him and ending up winning."

Said Gilliam: "She's been pulling me along and getting me involved and I've really enjoyed all of it. The only way I was able to keep up with her today was by driving her here."

Anne Park, 66, of Huntsville was able to set her 60th state record by finishing with a time of 52:12 in her age group.

"I was able to set a new record by about five seconds," she said. "I wanted to do better, but it was sort of rough on me out there. Maybe it's because I'm getting old. That may be true, but, it's something I'll never admit."

Decatur's Samuel Hand, 14, an eighth-grader at Oak Park Middle School, won the 1-mile Fun Run with a time of 5:30.

Despite severe thunderstorms rumbling across the area the night before, 186 runners participated in the 10K run, while 72 ran in the fun run.

"We had some no-shows because of the weather," said race director Eric Schotz of Decatur.

"But still, we had a great turnout. It turned out to be a beautiful day and the course was in fine shape with the exception of being just a little bit wet."

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