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Madison resident fifth in Cotton Row run

Madison resident Josh Whitehead, seeded 14th in the 31st annual Mercedes-Benz Cotton Row Run, shaved more than a minute off his 2009 time in the 10K race to earn a top 10 finish in the race Monday in Huntsville.
Whitehead completed the course in 32:01 to finish fifth overall. He also won the men’s 30-34 age group title.
He did come away with an overall title at the Cotton Row Run festivities, though. With a time of 16:10, Whitehead won the 5K overall championship by finishing 13 seconds ahead of University of North Alabama runner Hirbo Hirbo.
George Towett of Kennesaw, Ga., was the top overall finisher in the 10K race with a time of 29:20.
Towett came into this year’s race seeded fifth overall, but he was the only runner to run a sub-30 minute time.
Towett, a native of Kenya, was competing in his third Cotton Row Run and quickly established a lead in the race along with top-seeded Tyson David.
David, a former University of Alabama runner, finished second with a time of 30:58.
Six Madison area runners finished in the top 60 places with Emily Harden finishing fifth among females. The Madison resident ran a 37:28 to finish 38th overall.
Hardin edged Huntsville’s Candace Jacobs for the women’s 25-29 age group title.
The Cotton Row Run’s 10K race had 2,045 finishers.
Tristan Mannix of Evansville, Ind. was third overall in the race.
Former Bob Jones standout David Riddle, now a Huntsville resident, was fourth at 31:37.
But none were able to match the success of Towett, who finished just 10 seconds off the course record.
John Wellerding set the course record at 29:10 during the 1983 race.
Janet Cherobon of Rome, Ga., won the 10K women’s title for the second straight year.
Towett and Cherobon both won $1,200 for their efforts.
Other Madison area runners to finish among the top 60 places in the race were Chris Platt, George Dewitt, Brian Hackenburg, Erik Debolt and Mark Ullom.
Platt was 21st overall after running a 35:23, while the 51-year old Dewitt was 26th overall with a time of 36:08.
Dewitt won the men’s 50-54 age division title by a margin of nearly five minutes.
Hackenburg was 43rd, followed by Debolt at 49th and Ullom at 57th.
Sarah Buckelew of Madison won the women’s 11-13 age group championship after holding off a tough challenge from Winfield’s Emma Kate Holdbrook.
Buckelew ran a 49:25 to finish 29 seconds ahead of Holdbrook.
In the men’s 11-13 division, Harvest’s Tucker Haverkamp (46:30) beat Madison’s Jase Bell by just 24 seconds to win the age group.
Ten-year-old Aubrie McFall, who ran a 58:35 won the girls’ 10-and-under age division by finishing nearly a minute faster than Huntsville’s Regan Weakley.
Whitehead was joined by Harden in the winner’s circle after the 5K race. The 26-year-old ran an 18:14 to win the title in the shorter race. She was ninth overall.
Jayson Perry, 16, was fifth overall with a time of 17:38.
Other top Madison area finishers in the 5K race were Carl Smith (14th overall, 19:15) and Rick Maehlmann (24th overall, 19:56).

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