Sunday, August 4, 2013

Van Dam and Liles-Weyant star in the final act of the trail series

Bryce Van DamIt had to be a shock to the squirrels.


There a squirrel would be, foraging in the woods, when suddenly it would hear distant panting. Then footfalls, and the crashing of disturbed underbrush. A fox? A coyote? A wildcat? No, it was a two-legged beast, barreling along the path. It smelled like a predator, but it wasn't chasing any prey. Nor was there a larger creature chasing it. But then the beast was gone, taking its noise with it, and the squirrel could go back to squirrel business. Until another noisy intruder raced by minutes later, and then another, and another, and another.
2013 Red Bug Trail Run

That was the squirrels-eye view of Gulf Winds Track Club's Red Bug Trail 4-1/2 mile Run on Saturday evening, 3 August 2013. In defense of the runners, Tallahassee's Red Bug Trail is a well-used mountain bike loop, so the squirrels around Forestmeadows Park are used to a lot of traffic. A procession of 92 runners just might be different from the traffic they usually see.


Doug BellThe race, the fourth and final in Gulf Winds' 2013 Summer Trail Series, started from Forestmeadows Athletic Center just after 6:00 PM. Bryce Van Dam and Paul Guyas paced the field through the parking lot, but back on the trails the race was all Van Dam's. For the rest of the run he got the first chance to startle the squirrels, winning the race in 33:31. Behind Van Dam, Doug Bell and Michael Kennett swapped second place back and forth several times, but Bell was the one who crossed the finish line as runner-up and top master, clocking 38:50. Kennett was third in 39:12, with Brian Molen fourth in 40:04 and Paul Guyas fifth in 41:01.


Stephanie Liles-WeyantAshley Daily ran near Stephanie Liles-Weyant early in the women's competition, pushing the pace. But Tallahassee master runner Liles-Weyant had won the women's title first and third races in the Summer Trail Series and was determined to take the fourth. After half a mile on the trails Liles-Weyant was six seconds up on Daily and going away. Liles Weyant went on to finish as first female, placing 14th overall in 43:46. Brook Pace overtook Daily during the second mile, ultimately finishing runner-up on the women's side, 17th overall in 45:37. Daily clung to the third women's spot, coming in 20th overall at 47:00.


Brook PaceUnder ordinary conditions the Red Bug Trail is a challenging circuit featuring narrow paths, steep descents and climbs in and out of waterways, sharp turns, and treacherous roots. An afternoon rain shower before the race added slick footing to the mixture. It also might have cut down on the number of athletes who showed up for the Red Bug Trail Run--the three earlier events of the trail series had averaged about 120 runners. Whatever the obstacles on the trail, there were no serious casualties among the 92 finishers. Series director Bobby York is determined that the Summer Trail Series will be back with another four races next year.


Top Ten Males, 2013 Red Bug Trail 4.5-Mile Run
  1. Michael Kennett33:31 ~ Bryce Van Dam (M, 26)
  2. 38:50 ~ Douglas Bell (M, 44)
  3. 39:12 ~ Michael Kennett (M, 39)
  4. 40:04 ~ Brian Molen (M, 37)
  5. 41:01 ~ Paul Guyas (M, 35)
  6. 42:20 ~ Sean Isenberg (M, 16)
  7. 42:21 ~ Juan Ordoñez (M, 39)
  8. 42:26 ~ Jon Mason (M, 39)
  9. 42:36 ~ Camilo Ordoñez (M, 34)
  10. 42:36 ~ Duane Evans (M, 46)

Top Ten Females, 2013 Red Bug Trail 4.5-Mile Run
  1. Ashley Daily43:46 ~ Stephanie Liles-Weyant (F, 41)
  2. 45:37 ~ Brook Pace (F, 34)
  3. 47:00 ~ Ashley Daily (F, 26)
  4. 47:48 ~ Melissa Hooke (F, 35)
  5. 48:30 ~ Carla McDonald (F, 35)
  6. 48:43 ~ Heather Hill (F, 17)
  7. 50:16 ~ Allie Caldwell (F, 22)
  8. 51:32 ~ Beverly Hamilton (F, 35)
  9. 51:52 ~ Michelle Perry (F, 28)
  10. 52:38 ~ Jamie Harris (F, 36)

A Summary of Gulf Winds Track Club's 2013 Summer Trail Series
DateRaceTop MaleTop FemaleFinishers
June 22Cadillac Trail 5½M37:38, Kevin Sullivan45:07, Stephanie Liles-Weyant121
July 13Swamp Forest Trail 4½M30:19, Kevin Sullivan34:12, Micah Adriani124
July 27Magnolia Trail 3½M21:44, Kevin Sullivan24:45, Stephanie Liles-Weyant114
August 3Red Bug Trail 4½M33:31, Bryce Van Dam43:46, Stephanie Liles-Weyant92


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