KINGSPORT — In 1996 Peter Githuka set the world record for the 8K, running the Crazy 8s in a time of 22:03. While the $10,008 prize offered by the Regional Eye Center may have weighed heavily in his motivation, others who run the race are driven by different factors.
One of the latter, Rochelle Snead, will be one of the newcomers in that crowd of runners on July 13.
While motivation differs from runner to runner, when Rochelle laces up her sneakers for the 9:58 p.m. start that Saturday night, her purpose will be straightforward: crossing that finish line puts her almost 5 miles closer to reuniting with her husband.
Rochelle’s husband, Jarrod, is currently serving in Afghanistan but will be coming home in August after an eight-month deployment. Rochelle, who is from Kingsport originally, has been staying with her mother before returning to Clarksville later in July and preparing for his return.
The Sneads have a 6-month-old daughter.
“I started running in March with my mom. My reasons were to lose a little weight and to keep my mind occupied with him gone,” Rochelle said. “But one of my biggest reasons — he is a big runner — was that we can take our daughter and enter events together after he returns.”
Though thousands of miles separate them, the couple is still able to communicate on a regular basis.
“I get to Skype with him once a week and we email every other day,” Rochelle said. “My daughter has begun to recognize him through Skype and recognize her daddy.”
The Crazy 8s, sponsored by Indian Path Medical Center and Crestpoint Health, will be Rochelle's second race. She ran the Amazing Grace 5K in May. Jarrod, who is from Gate City and has run the Crazy 8s before, was the one who originally suggested she enter the World's Fastest 8K.
“I’m just wanting to compete,” Rochelle said. “I have no set time, but I do want to finish strong.”
Come race night you will be able to find Rochelle in the middle of thousands of runners, each with a different story to tell.