Banks, Knowles blister Floppin’ Flounder 5K run

Floppin’ Flounder 5K overall winner Michael Banks

The Charleston Running Club’s 25th annual Floppin’ Flounder 5K on Saturday was marked by two comeback runs of sorts.

Michael Banks, 29, of Charleston, has been out of the running scene due to a hamstring injury since he won the top local finisher award at the Cooper River Bridge Run in 2015.

He started back running — five minutes easy on a treadmill — during Bridge Run weekend this year and was doing well until he suffered foot pain that he suspected was a stress fracture. In the last three weeks, he guessed he has run six times.

On Saturday, Banks strung together three sub-five minute miles to finish first with a time of 15 minutes, 22 seconds. His closest competition was more than a minute behind him. Tom Ford, 25, of Daleville, Va., finished in 16:30.

The third place top finisher was also the first place female.

After not being able to finish in her third appearance in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in February, 38-year-old Laurie Sturgell Knowles of Charlotte finished as the third-place American and 17th female in the Boston Marathon.

Knowles, who will be training on Kiawah Island this summer, finished the 5K in 17:04. Her time was almost two minutes faster than 32-year-old Caitlin Batten, who was the top local finisher in the Bridge Run this year and is preparing for the World Beer Mile World Classic in London on July 31.

Floppin’ Flounder, thanks in part to participation by a contingent of about 70 from Louie’s Kids, set another finisher record with 460, up five from 2015. For most of its history, the race typically drew between 100 and 200 finishers. The race is held on Sullivan’s Island and was started by the island’s fire and rescue squad in advance of its annual fish fry.

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