By Rick Sheek
J Penny might have a peculiar first name, but there is nothing unusual about the way he performs on the local road race circuit.
The East Tennessee State alumnus breezed in Saturday morning’s Sycamore Shoals Hospital Foundation 5-kilometer victory. Penny covered the 3.1-mile course in 16:26.8, easily outdistancing fellow Johnson Citian Tony Casey (16:59.0).
“When I was younger, I used to run this race a lot, but this is the first time I’ve run it in a long time,” Penny said. “I just kind of came out for a run. It’s a good course, though.
“It’s flat, for East Tennessee. It really is.”
The women’s winner was Susan Rollins, also from Johnson City. She crossed in 19:32.1, bettering the effort of Jacqueline Parson (20:05.1) from Crumpler, N.C.
Casey and Banner Elk, N.C.,’s Dennis Gillingham were on Penny’s shoulders in the early going. Gillingham placed third (17:26.9).
“Probably about the mile marker, I was trying to pull away,” Penny said. “I wanted to win the race.”
There were a record 499 participants, including the 3K walk.