None of us make it through four decades without changing, and the same is true of sports events. Since 1975, the Palace hasn't missed an annual running, although not all of those races were at the same time of year. The race has started and finished at Natural Bridge, started and finished at Messer Field, and one year it even started at TCC and finished at the Palace Saloon. Most years, though, the race has started at Messer Field and finished at the Palace Saloon, even if not always by the same route. A menagerie of different people have directed the race over the years. Race conditions have varied from warm to cool, from wet to dry.
A variety of athletes have won the race over the years. There haven't been 40 different winners, because some of the champions have been both fast enough and greedy enough to win multiple times. This year, for instance, Chris Lake scored his third Palace title in five years, winning the race in 15:52. On the women's side there was a new champion when Amy Hines won her first Palace title, placing 15th overall in 17:45. 1304 athletes finished this year's 3.1-mile trek from Messer Field to the Palace.
There were no extremes of weather for the history books on Saturday morning; when the race started at 8:00 AM conditions were clear, calm, and close to perfect. Chris Lake wasn't the only one on the starting line with ambitions of winning the landmark 40th Palace Saloon 5K. Lake may have led the field through the first mile in 5:07, but five other runners were right with him--Zach DeVeau, Vince Molosky, Stephen Cox, Marc Akbar, and Adam Greenstein. Lake decided it was time to thin out the lead pack.
"I put in a little 'mini burst' at the mile," he recalled later.
It worked. Runners began to drop out of the front group. When Lake passed the two-mile mark in 10:13, Zach DeVeau was still just a few strides back, but everyone else was far behind. Early in the third mile, the runners started up the one major grade on the course. Lake increased his lead on DeVeau during the climb. With half a mile to go, the runners crested Michelob Ridge and could see the finish line in the distance at the bottom of a long downhill.
"I tried to go on the downhill," said DeVeau. "I just didn't have the legs."
Lake had no such problem, racing down Michelob Ridge, across the Budweiser Creek bridge, and reaching the finish line in front of the Palace Saloon with a 15:52 win. DeVeau was second in 16:12. Stephen Cox grabbed third with a 16:26, and Nate Kaiser took fourth in 16:38. Bryan Koon was the fastest master runner in the race, finishing fifth overall in 16:46.
Soon after the start, Amy Hines went to the front of the women's field and stayed there. Her 17:45 was not only good enough to win the Palace Saloon 5K women's title, it was also the fastest 5K run by a woman on the roads of Tallahassee so far this year. Katie Sherron edged Lisa Johnson for the second women's spot, placing 29th overall in 18:42. Johnson was 30th overall in 18:47. Thomasville, Georgia, athlete Mary Anne Grayson was the first woman master, coming in 77th overall in 20:37 and placing tenth in the women's standings. It was Grayson's sixth year in a row as the top woman master at the Palace Saloon 5K.
The 40th Palace Saloon 5K won't go down in history for being freezing, sweltering, or wet. There were no memorable breakdowns in race management that sent runners off course or lost their results. This race will just have to be remembered for good times, both of the athletic and the bon temps variety.
Top Ten Men, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2014 Palace Saloon 5K
- 15:51.1 ~ Chris Lake (M, 26)
- 16:11.4 ~ Zach DeVeau (M, 26)
- 16:25.4 ~ Stephen Cox (M, 30)
- 16:37.4 ~ Nate Kaiser (M, 34)
- 16:45.4 ~ Bryan Koon (M, 42)
- 16:47.9 ~ Marc Akbar (M, 22)
- 16:50.1 ~ Vince Molosky (M, 34)
- 17:03.1 ~ Peter Kaus (M, 30)
- 17:05.9 ~ Matt Bulecza (M, 32)
- 17:27.8 ~ Michael Martinez (M, 48)
Top Ten Women, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2014 Palace Saloon 5K
- 17:44.1 ~ Amy Hines (F, 33)
- 18:42.0 ~ Katie Sherron (F, 32)
- 18:46.9 ~ Lisa Johnson (F, 32)
- 19:03.4 ~ Adriana Piekarewicz (F, 25)
- 19:17.6 ~ Lauren Gelzinis (F, 22)
- 19:34.9 ~ Micah Adriani (F, 36)
- 19:42.0 ~ Jillian Heddaeus (F, 31)
- 19:51.9 ~ Renee Cox (F, 26)
- 20:17.9 ~ Cora Atkinson (F, 19)
- 20:36.1 ~ Mary Anne Grayson (F, 48)
|40 Years of Palace Saloon 5K Champions, 1975-2014|
|4/12/2014||15:52, Chris Lake||17:45, Amy Hines|
|4/20/2013||15:46, Stanley Linton||17:49, Sheryl Rosen|
|4/14/2012||16:07, Josh Myers||17:20, Lindsay Zeiler|
|4/16/2011||15:48, Chris Lake||18:24, Lindsay Zeiler|
|4/10/2010||15:45, Chris Lake||17:42, Christina Woytalewicz|
|4/11/2009||16:21, John Robida||18:11, Lisa Johnson|
|4/12/2008||15:25, Nick Sunseri||18:46, Lisa Johnson|
|4/14/2007||16:12, J. P. Cook||17:14, Breeda Willis|
|4/15/2006||16:04, Justin Cross||18:33, Stephanie Liles|
|4/16/2005||16:06, Lee Willis||16:31, Breeda Willis|
|4/10/2004||16:39, Shawn Patterson||18:29, Breeda Willis|
|4/12/2003||16:26, Martin Littlefield||19:21, Tricia Snyder|
|4/13/2002||17:22, Chris Stanley||21:03, Allison Eagen|
|4/14/2001||16:51, Art Remillard||19:05, Kate Wallace|
|4/15/2000||15:39, Paul Spangler||17:19, Anna Pichrtova|
|4/17/1999||15:45, Robert Pautienus||17:22, Sarah Docter-Williams|
|4/18/1998||16:18, Jason Carter||17:29, Sarah Docter-Williams|
|4/19/1997||15:53, Gary Droze||17:37, Sarah Docter-Williams|
|4/6/1996||15:55, Gary Droze||17:59, Jane Johnson|
|4/8/1995||16:01, Tim Simpkins||17:48, Jane Johnson|
|4/2/1994||14:56, Robin Rogers||17:51, Lisa Herman|
|4/3/1993||15:30, Andy Palmer||19:37, Carrie Hunnicutt|
|4/11/1992||15:48, Gary Droze||17:45, Paula Johnson|
|4/13/1991||15:10, Gary Droze||18:20, Vikki Saga|
|4/14/1990||14:57, David Keen||18:38, Vikki Saga|
|4/15/1989||15:23, Rick Miller||19:05, Yvonne Gsteiger|
|4/9/1988||15:30, Rick Miller||17:55, Karen MacHarg|
|4/11/1987||15:03, Jacob Hoesly||17:33, Karen MacHarg|
|4/12/1986||14:36, Paul Waldron||18:44, Paige Dempsey|
|3/9/1985||15:39, Rick Miller||17:52, Margaret Coomber|
|2/18/1984||15:32, Greg Doss||16:34, Kristy McDermott|
|4/16/1983||14:52, Rick Miller||16:38, Darien Andreu|
|3/21/1981||15:02, Dennis Lunne||18:16, Janice Gage|
|3/8/1980||14:59, George West||19:37, Marty Graham|
|3/10/1979||14:55, Tom Herron||17:37, Kathy Moore|
|2/25/1978||14:30, George West||17:45, Laura Ledbetter|
|8/14/1976||14:37, George West||18:05, Janice Gage|
|11/15/1975||18:17, David Price||19:56, Janice Gage|
- Complete results of Gulf Winds Track Club's 2014 Palace Saloon 5K at gulfwinds.org
- More photos of the 2014 Palace Saloon 5K
- Part 1: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10104399215024673.1073741971.5215641&l=4fb077b4da
- Part 2: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10104401690039723.1073741972.5215641&l=e256520f55
- Fred Deckert's photos of Gulf Winds Track Club's 2014 Palace Saloon 5K
- Part A: https://picasaweb.google.com/112560881455823075870/Palace14A
- Part B: https://picasaweb.google.com/112560881455823075870/Palace14B
- 2013 story, "Linton and Rosen lead a record crowd to the Palace Saloon"
- 2012 story, "Myers, Zeiler win the Battle of Jackson Bluff at Palace Saloon 5K"
- 2011 story, "Lake grabs his second Palace win, Zeiler her first"
- 2010 story, "Lake, Woytalewicz run into Palace Saloon 5K history"
- 2009 story, "Robida outruns a thousand to win the Palace Saloon 5K"
- 2013 Palace Saloon 5K USATF course certification map FL13028EBM
- Palace Saloon 5K website
- The Palace Saloon 5K on Facebook
- A huge list of upcoming races, but none like the Palace Saloon 5K