Black leaves Torture Trail as champion again

Overall male winner Alan Black, who has won the Torture Trail 10k race multiple times, is presented with his winnings.  

PHOTO: Casey Parrish 

By Brandon Bush


A familiar face came in first last weekend in the Dairy Festival’s annual road race.

Many runners attended the 2018 Putnam County Dairy Festival’s Torture Trail 10k and Fun Run races last Saturday and several winners were named. One name that has been present many times over the years was there once again this year when Alan Black, of Hillsboro, completed the 10k race as the male overall winner, finishing with a time of 35:14.6 at a pace of 5:41/m.

“This is one race I look forward to every year,” Black said about the Torture Trail 10k. “This is the race that got me started into running and I’m really happy to come here and win it again and get it off my back for the rest of the year.”

A former longtime resident of Putnam County, Black ran the Torture Trail for the first time in 1993 and won the race 14 times leading up to Saturday. This year’s race was the first he’s taken part in since missing the previous two years while recovering from an injury.

“I’m glad to be back in the winner’s circle,” Black said about his return to the race, which runs through the streets of downtown Eatonton. “I come here every year to pay my dues since this was the race that got me into running. It feels great to, at the age of 44, continue to be able to be on the competitive level I am now.”

Joining Black was Carlee James from Statesboro, who finished with a time of 43:32.6 at a 7:01/m pace as the female overall winner. Stacy Paine, of Madison, was the female masters winner while Milledgeville’s Jerry Herrin was the male masters winner.

Eatonton native Carly Cannon finished as the female overall winner of the Fun Run, coming in with a time of 7:25.8 at a pace of 7:25/m. Tyler Chesser, of Spanish Fort, Ala., was the male overall winner of the Fun Run and finished with a 6:34.2 time.

Although many runners came from out of town to compete in the races, a large number of Putnam County residents took part in the Torture Trail. Over 50 of the Torture Trail participates were from Eatonton and Putnam County. Of all the local participants in the race, Brandi Huskins was the overall female winner from Putnam with a time of 49:09.1 while Jerry Tillery was the overall male winner from Putnam with a time of 46:26.5.

Other winners of the 10k by age group included Piper Cowart (female 14 and under), Manato Arndall (male 14 and under), Grace Bridges (female 15 to 19), Byron Yoder (male 15 to 19), Veronica Yoder (female 20 to 24) and Ryan Cassiday (male 20 to 24).

Lauren Bach placed first among females 25 to 29. Other first-place finishers include James Toller (male 25 to 29), Helen Marie Davenport (female 30 to 34), Dustin Gandee (male 30 to 34), Thomas Harris (male 35 to 39), Tonya Hodgkins (female 45 to 49), Edward Duke (male 45 to 49), Lisa Eisele (female 50 to 54), Arthur Schwartz (male 50 to 54), Mara Nance (female 55 to 59), Cheryle Michael (female 60 to 64), Randy Ballew (male 60 to 64), Carol Williams (female 65 to 69), Dan Ash (male 65 to 70), Autumn Perry (female 70 and over) and Joe Hudson (male 70 and over).

In addition to being overall and masters winners, James won female 35 to 39, Paine won female 40 to 44, Black won male 40 to 44 and Herrin won male 55 to 59.

As Black celebrates another victory in the Torture Trail 10k, he will be preparing for more races throughout the year, including a few that could result in championships. He will spend the summer getting ready to compete in several national championship races in August, so his time spent in Eatonton winning the Torture Trail for another year was time well spent.

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