Saturday, March 31 2012 2:00 PM EDT2012-03-31 18:00:23 GMT
While about 43,000 racers huffed and puffed their way over the Cooper River Bridge for this year's race, hundreds also sat relatively comfortably along downtown streets like King.More >>
By Brian Troutman firstname.lastname@example.org
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- As the announcers shared Bobby Mack had taken the lead in Saturday's 35th Cooper River Bridge Run, it was all the buzz among spectators near the finish line. Would this be the year for an American winner?
Unfortunately for Mack and dozens of hopeful spectators near the finish, it wasn't.
The 2012 winner was Solomon Deksisa of Ethiopia with a time of 29:37.
Deksisa was a man of few words after the race, maybe it was a language barrier, maybe he was exhausted. Regardless, his overall feeling of the outcome was clear.
"So happy," Deksisa said with a grin from ear-to-ear. "So happy."
Mack wasn't far behind the Ethiopian runner. He finished sixth, 13 seconds behind the winner and one second away from the award for top U.S. runner. Mack and Atmani Adelaziz of Indiana both finished the race with a chip time of 29:50. According to the official clock, Mack was a step behind at 29:51.
Mack, a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina was a favorite to win the top American spot. He was also considered to be a person capable of taking control of the elite field often dominated by runners from Kenya and Ethiopia.
While he didn't win the race, Mack said he was happy with where he finished.
"I think things were a little more tactical with the wind. So, the pace was kinda on the slower side," Mack said. I think everyone was content to kind of cling together for the sprint finish. I wish I would have moved a little bit earlier, because they formed about a 15 meter gap."
"I was sixth overall, which I am happy with. I'd like to come back next year and get in the top three or win it one year."
Regardless, it was Mack who changed the pace early in the race. He made a move in the first mile to separate the boys from the men. He took the lead and set a faster pace.
"Usually being in the lead, you are using a little bit more energy. But up the hill and the wind, there is no real hiding from the wind on the bridge. I was wanting to stretch things out just a little bit just so we could separate the pack. We had such a tight pack, and I wanted to thin out the field. We had 25-30 guys in there at a mile and I wanted to see that number at around 10-12 going into the last half of the race. I definitely increased the pace."
From there, Mack said the lead changed about 10-12 times before the finish.
"Sometimes it was back-and-forth between two guys. Then, someone else would want to get in on it, pushing the pace a little bit," he said.
As far as the nearly hour-late start of the race, Mack said it had little effect on the elite field.
"You just kind of put it in perspective," he said. "Everyone else is dealing with it too. So, you try not to let if affect you. So, I don't think that was an issue."
Mack, an assistant coach with the N.C. State cross country team, said he recovered from hamstring issues just prior to the bridge run. From here, he said training will focus on the 2012 Olympic Trials scheduled for late June in Eugene, Oregon.
"Hopefully I run a good 10k on the track and maybe punch a ticket to London," he said.