Friday, May 29, 2015

Droze and Autore have their day at Africa Day

In Tom Brown Park on Saturday morning, 23 May 2015, it was just minutes away from the start of the fourth annual Tallahassee, Florida, Africa Day 5K. Maclay coach Gary Droze jogged up to me.

“I need to pick your brain,” he said. “Is it really 5K if you run on the trail from Connor Boulevard to Weems Road and back?”

That was the ground that the Africa Day race was going to cover. I assured him that whether through design or coincidence, that stretch of the Goose Pond Trail really was almost exactly 2500 meters long.

“That's good!” said Droze. “I was worried that this race was going to be 2.9 or 3.2 miles long.”

So far as competition was concerned, a little bit of extra distance or a slight deficit from the regulation 3.1 miles wasn't going to make a difference to Droze. Soon after the race started the Maclay School track coach was out in front, leading the field of 46 athletes up the trail towards Weems Road. He was farther ahead at the turnaround and continued to widen the lead during the trek toward Connor Boulevard. When Droze crossed the finish line in a winning 17:04 the next runner was half a mile behind him.

Alese Autore, the top woman in the Africa Day 5K, was that second finisher. Autore led the women's competition from the start. Less than half a mile into the race she was running second overall, and for the latter four kilometers of the five kilometer race, her only running companion was her dog. Autore covered the 3.1-mile course in 20:30.

Lincoln High frosh Franz Roeder was the second male finisher, third overall in 21:03. Swift Creek Middle School eighth-grader Calvin McGinnis was fourth overall in 21:03. FAMU professor Mike LaBossiere was fifth in 21:14.

Jena Mickel was second on the women's side, finishing eighth overall in 23:11. Karen McGinnis was the top woman master and third female finisher, placing ninth overall in 25:02.

Top Ten Men, 2015 Tallahassee Africa Day 5K
  1. 17:03.31 ~ Gary Droze (M, 54) USAFranz Roeder, Calvin McGinnis
  2. 21:02.68 ~ Franz Roeder (M, 15) USA
  3. 21:06.62 ~ Calvin McGinnis (M, 13) USA
  4. 21:13.55 ~ Mike La Bossiere (M, 49) USA
  5. 21:44.48 ~ Eric Dueno (M, 47) USA
  6. 22:57.36 ~ Jack McDermott (M, 46) USA
  7. 25:10.05 ~ Dan Oronje (M, 49) USA/KENYA
  8. 25:15.01 ~ Jonathan Morse (M, 41) USA
  9. 25:40.99 ~ Jon Brown (M, 40) USA
  10. 25:55.08 ~ Pidi Lamango (M, 14) USA/CAMEROON

Top Ten Women, 2015 Tallahassee Africa Day 5K
  1. 20:29.25 ~ Alise Autore (F, 37) USAJena Mickel
  2. 23:10.21 ~ Jena Mickel (F, 30) USA
  3. 25:01.85 ~ Karen McGinnis (F, 41) USA
  4. 25:54.08 ~ Cherelle Rogers (F, 29) USA
  5. 26:01.45 ~ Christine Morse (F, 48) USA
  6. 26:08.82 ~ Blessing Nkembo (F, 15) USA/CAMEROON
  7. 26.59.30 ~ Eberhard Roeder (F, 47) USA
  8. 27:27.54 ~ Judy Williams (F, 50) USA
  9. 28.59.70 ~ Andrea Eddy (F, 42) USA
  10. 30:21.02 ~ Susan Cornwell (F, 66) USA