Originally created 07/25/99

Road race draws competitors from many generations



As O.B. Poole of Blythe strolled past red-faced Augustan Brent Hadden on Riverwalk Augusta, the greatest gap in the history of the Georgia Games Championships was created.

Mr. Poole, 86, is believed to be the oldest participant ever for the Games, and Brent, at 16 months, is the youngest. Both turned out in the sweltering heat for the road race event Saturday. Poole was among 240 who slogged through the humidity to run the 5K event; Brent toddled along with 10 others in the Tot Trot.

"You're looking at four generations plus that are participating," said Nick Gailey, executive director for the Games, as he stood in the shade and sweat spotted his dark-green shirt.

Even after the 5K race, Poole continued trotting up and down the Riverwalk, trying to get in six miles as part of his training for a national 10K seniors run in Orlando, Fla., in October. He paused in the shade long enough to stare out at the Savannah River and think back to when he saw it as a boy in 1918.

"It was as yellow as gold," he said, and much smaller. Mr. Poole took up a faithful running regimen at age 65.

"My daughter told me if you start running, you can live to be real old," he said. "I'll keep running as long as I'm living."

Brent, meanwhile, squirmed in the arms of his mother, Emily, seemingly oblivious to his honor.

"He did OK, considering it's his nap time," Mrs. Hadden said.

Generations seemed to be the theme, as father Hernan Sabio ran alongside a daughter, Ale Sabio-Kennedy, and sons David, 12, and Daniel, 11. Father Sha-Run Hurt, 51, of Milledgeville, joked before the race with sons Tony, 24, and LaVance, 29. Dad started running about seven years ago, after he quit a 20-year smoking habit, and got his sons interested about two years ago. Truth be told, he still smokes them.

"We see his back" during the race, Tony Hurt joked. "If we catch up, that's fine. If not, that's OK, too."

They couldn't quite catch him this time, either. "But I can feel the heat," Sha-Ron Hurt joked.

Mrs. Sabio-Kennedy, 26, a serious runner, managed to best her father by a couple of minutes. But Dr. Sabio, a pediatric hematologist at Medical College of Georgia, still was awarded one of two Atlanta Gas Light Sportsmanship awards for the event.

As father and daughter stood next to each other panting at the end of the race, their times didn't matter.

"It's not the finish line," Dr. Sabio said. "It's the race."

Tom Corwin can be reached at (706) 823-3213 or ttomc@augustachronicle.com.