51st Chattanooga Chase draws variety of runners
The rain didn't stop about a thousand runners who lined up for a Chattanooga tradition that's more than a half-a-century old. The Chattanooga Chase returned for its 51st event.
Running an 8k is no easy feat, and the rain added another challenge for some. However, that didn't stop people from returning to this race.
"Because I had such a good time last year, I had to come back to see if I could do it again," said Jane Ensign. Jane has been running this race since 2012, a lot has changed in that time.
"Last year I could pretty much walk by myself, she went with me but didn't have to push,” she said. This year, is different, Jane is 90 and recently had a bad fall. Now she's in a wheelchair.
"Grandma has had a rough year so I’m more than happy to be out here with her because she's been doing this for a couple of years and really enjoys it," said Kelsey Ensign. The Ensign family wasn't going to let a wheelchair limit Jane’s goals.
"Just knowing that she was going to feel okay and feel good and get through the race,” said Barbara Ensign. So the family took turns, gripping the handles to steer, and taking the steps to push the wheels that carried Jane.
"The challenge was for Barbara who was pushing me up the hill, there's no challenge when you're just sitting still,” Jane said.
Her granddaughter agrees. "I would say the hardest part was that hill over there, pushing her up there was a little rough, but we took turns and it was a little easier that way,” Kelsey explained.
In the running community, some athletes are fast, others take their time. Some compete with two feet, others with wheels. They have in common -- loved ones pushing them to finish.
"They are very supportive and very helpful, I couldn't do it without them. It makes all the difference; I wouldn't do it if it weren't for them,” Jane said.
Jane said she hopes to participate next year in the Chase, whether on her feet or with the support of her family.
Proceeds from the race benefit youth track programs in the community.