NASHVILLE, Tenn. –** The Titans 5K, presented by Academy Sports & Outdoors, drew another big crowd at Nissan Stadium on Saturday morning.
Dozens of players were on hand, along with general manager Jon Robinson and head coach Mike Vrabel.
Here’s a look at five observations
Nearly 2,000 participants turned out for the team's 7th annual 5k run/walk, presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Saturday at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, Kristen Sheft)
On your marks…**
Titans Pro Bowl safety Kevin Byard was the starter for the Titans 5K.
When Byard sounded the gun, roughly 2,000 participants began to flood past him at the starting gate. Titans players and team officials slapped hands with the runners as they flew by, and they were cheered on by Titans cheerleaders, and T-Rac.
“I ran track back in the day – the 300 hurdles, and the 4X100, 4X400,” Byard said. “I never did any long-distance running, and it’s the first time I’ve started a race like this. It was a fun experience. I appreciate having the opportunity to do this.
“Starting this 5K and having so many people run for different causes and different reasons, it’s a pretty cool event.”
Not long after Titans players walked from outside Nissan Stadium to the finish line inside, Hendersonville’s Scott Wietecha came running through the tunnel and into the stadium himself.
Wietecha finished as the top male finisher with a time of 16:10. He beat Chris Demetra (16:35) and Ryan Snellen (17:05) to the finish line.
Nashville’s Melissa Haynes was the top female finisher with a time of 19:59. She finished ahead of Krista Kraemer (20:31) and Laura Wind (20:41).
Wietecha, a track coach at Beech High School, won the Rock and Roll Nashville Marathon for the sixth year in a row in April.
“Last year when I ran the marathon I took off for about five months,” Wietecha said. “I’m trying to stay more active, and run more races. I definitely wanted to win.”
The ending of the race was comical. Titans center Ben Jones jumped in late and lifted his arms up before crossing the line, only to have Wietecha blow past him at the end.
“I might challenge him in the marathon next year,” Wietecha, smiling, said of Jones.
Go coach go!
Titans running backs coach Tony Dews put on an impressive showing on Saturday.
Dews, in his first year with the team, was in the early group of runners to cross the finish line.
Dews was among a number of Titans assistant coaches who ran in the race. He was the first to cross the finish line among team officials, but his official time wasn’t recorded.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever run in one of these,” Dews said.
Dews said he decided to run in the 5K since the proceeds go to Girls Inc., a nonprofit organization that encourages all girls to be “strong, smart, and bold” through direct service and advocacy.
Dews has four daughters.
“I thought it was a great cause,” he said. “We all want to empower women. I have a mom, I have three sisters and I have four daughters. So there’s a lot of women in my life.”
Dews said he runs in the treadmill on a regular basis to stay in shape. He said he enjoyed the race, and seeing players at the start and the finish lines cheering on the participants.
“It was great to be able to see the city,” a sweat-soaked Dews said with a smile. “Unfortunately I got to see some hills in the city, too.”
Kern and family
Titans punter Brett Kern ran the 5K with his wife, Tiffany, and son, Bryce.
Kern has participated in the race every year.
The first year he ran it with his wife, Bryce was in a stroller.
Tiffany crossed the finish line in front of dad and son on Saturday in a time of roughly 36 minutes.
Then the family rushed off for Bryce’s All-Star baseball game.
Coaches, GM and players
A big group of players turned out for the 5K.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota, defensive lineman Jurrell Casey, linebacker Rashaan Evans, edge rusher Harold Landry, III, linebacker Jayon Brown, safety Brynden Trawick, tight end Phillip Supernaw and Byard were among those on hand.
Vrabel and Robinson were at the starting line, and they signed autographs and took photos with participants after the race.
Overall winners (Top 3 male and female) received personalized Titans jerseys
Each age group winner (male and female) received a commemorative football.