The race started from Tallahassee Community College, marking the first time since 1975 that the Palace Saloon 5K didn't start from Messer Park. Early in the morning it looked like the race might not start at all, as powerful electrical storms accompanied by a tornado watch swept through Tallahassee. But the rain had stopped by 7:00 am, and much of the cloud cover had drifted away by 7:30. When the starting siren sounded after 8:00, the storms were just a bad memory.
Lake led early, closely followed up Appleyard Drive by Marc Akbar, Tripp Southerland, and Ryan Sloan. Sloan had fallen off the pace by the end of the third kilometer, but Akbar and Southerland were still in striking range of Lake. But the end of the fourth kilometer is marked by a long climb on Jackson Bluff Road, and Lake was too strong on the uphill for Akbar and Southerland. From the crest of the hill you can see the Palace Saloon and the finish line, and Lake cruised downhill to victory in 15:48. Akbar beat out Southerland for the runner-up spot, 15:57 to 16:03, while Nate Kaiser (16:18) overtook Ryan Sloan (16:22) for fourth.
Lauren Poulos set the early pace for the women, but two-time Palace champ Lisa Johnson was never far behind--and neither was Lindsay Zeiler. Johnson soon took over the lead, and then Zeiler passed Poulos during the third kilometer to move into second. As with the men's race, Jackson Bluff Road and its hill was where the women's race turned. Zeiler went by Johnson and built up a commanding lead, arriving at the Palace Saloon at 18:24 to take the women's title. Johnson stumbled across the line runner-up in 18:43. Poulos was third, holding off Sheryl Rosen 19:01 to 19:05.
Michael Martinez (17th, 17:51) defeated Tony Guillen (23rd, 18:04) to take the master runner title. The fastest woman master of the morning was Thomasville's Mary Anne Grayson (62nd, 20:17); it was Grayson's third straight master win at the Palace Saloon 5K. After Grayson the next woman master runner was Julie Clark (93rd, 21:38). Grayson and Clark were respectively the ninth and eleventh women to finish the race.
Many of the entries didn't show up Saturday morning, perhaps because of the weather. Still, 1064 runners finished the 2011 Palace Saloon 5K, the third straight year that over 1000 completed the race. Only in 2010 did more runners cross the finish line at the Palace. It was also the largest race in Tallahassee so far in 2011, exceeding both the Springtime 10K (934) and the Springtime 5K (731).
Top Ten Men, 37th annual Palace Saloon 5K
- 15:48, Chris Lake (M, 23) Tallahassee, FL
- 15:57, Marc Akbar (M, 19) Palm Coast, FL
- 16:03, Tripp Southerland (M, 26) Jacksonville Beach, FL
- 16:18, Nate Kaiser (M, 31) Tallahassee, FL
- 16:22, Ryan Sloan (M, 23) Jacksonville, FL
- 16:25, David Thomas (M, 22) Tallahassee, FL
- 16:31, Nathan Holden (M, 25) Jacksonville, FL
- 16:32, Charlie Johnson (M, 31) Tallahassee, FL
- 16:35, Stephen Cox (M, 27) Tallahassee, FL
- 16:44, Jacob Slupecki (M, 17) Tallahassee, FL
Top Ten Women, 37th annual Palace Saloon 5K
- 18:24, Lindsay Zeiler (F, 26) Tallahassee, FL
- 18:43, Lisa Johnson (F, 29) Tallahassee, FL
- 19:01, Lauren Poulos (F, 25) Tallahassee, FL
- 19:05, Sheryl Rosen (F, 26) Tallahassee, FL
- 19:38, Kirsten Hagen (F, 24) Tallahassee, FL
- 19:40, Kailand Cosgrove(F, 20) Tarpon Springs, FL
- 19:57, Kelly Stevens (F, 29) Tallahassee, FL
- 20:08, Micah Adriani (F, 33) Tallahassee, FL
- 20:17, Mary Anne Grayson (F, 45) Thomasville, GA
- 21:31, Cara Lavier (F, 32) Tallahassee, FL
- Complete results of the 2011 Palace Saloon 5K at racesmith.com
- Age-group and team results of the 2011 Palace Saloon 5K at racesmith.com
- Searchable results of the 2011 Palace Saloon 5K at active.com
- Fred Deckert's photos of the 2011 Palace Saloon 5K
- Cole Tessier's photos of the 2011 Palace Saloon 5K (Part 1)
- Cole Tessier's photos of the 2011 Palace Saloon 5K (Part 2)
- The Robbins Running Blog report on the 2011 Palace Saloon 5K
- 2010 story: "Lake, Woytalewicz run into Palace Saloon 5K history"
- While waiting for the 2012 Palace, find another great road race in the area: