Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Schoolgirl Ani Veltcheva cranks a 17:17 5K in Clermont

18 March 2017 was the 173rd Saturday since 27 April 2013 that there was a 5K parkrun on the South Lake Trail in Clermont, Florida. Dustin Ross edged master runner Richard Berry for the win that morning, 17:04 to 17:05. A few seconds later, Ani Veltcheva of Gainesville, Florida crossed the finish line third overall in 17:17. The Abraham Lincoln Middle School student had just set a new single-age world record for twelve-year-old girls.

The previous record was 17:32.4, set by Lauryn Heskin in Garden City, New York on 16 April 2016. Veltcheva had been taking aim at that mark for months. She first came close at the Matanzas 5K in Saint Augustine, Florida on 21 January 2017, running 17:44. Veltcheva followed that run with a 17:35 at the Run For The Cookies 5K in Tallahassee on 11 February 2017, a a 17:34 at the Five Points Of Life 5K in Gainesville on 25 February 2017, and a 17:35 at the Superhero 5K in Palm Coast on 4 March 2017. Consistent performances in the 17:30s seemed to indicate that she could go faster. But as the spring progressed, the Florida temperatures were rising, even as the deadline of Veltcheva's April birthday approached.

But with a little over a month to spare, Veltcheva ran 17:16.8 at the Clermont Waterfront Parkrun. The record was hers.

Ani Veltcheva
Ani Veltcheva

Just behind Veltcheva, master runner Bill Vanos finished third in the men's column and fourth overall in 17:18, a few steps ahead of Jake Rhyner (5th, 17:19). Master runner Yolimar Bolivar was the second woman in the race, placing fifteenth overall in 23:25. Master runner Anne McFarlane was third in the women's standings and sixteenth overall in 23:40. 68 athletes finished the race.

The Clermont Waterfront Parkrun course is certainly attractive to an athlete chasing a record. The USATF-certified 5K route follows the South Lake Trail along the shores of Lake Minneola. There are no discernible hills; the difference in elevation between the highest point on the course and lowest is less than three meters. There are two turnarounds during the race, but the rest of the course is innocent of corners, following the gentle curve of the lake shore. Athletes pursuing a world best or a personal best can race on the course any Saturday morning at 7:30 AM in one of the weekly Clermont Waterfront parkruns.

Top Ten Men, Clermont Waterfront Parkrun #173
  1. 17:04, Dustin Ross (M, 25-29)
  2. 17:05, Richard Berry (M, 40-44)
  3. 17:18, Bill Vanos (M, 45-49)
  4. 17:19, Jake Rhyner (M, 30-34)
  5. 17:33, Benjamin Drew (M, 25-29)
  6. 19:51, Colton Cardewell (M, 11-14)
  7. 20:19, David Tisdale (M, 45-49)
  8. 20:41, Jackson Babington (M, 11-14)
  9. 21:12, Aiden Roeder (M, 10)
  10. 21:21, Josh Castleman (M, 40-44)

Top Ten Women, Clermont Waterfront Parkrun #173
  1. 17:17, Ani Veltcheva (F, 11-14)
  2. 23:25, Yolimar Bolivar (F, 40-44)
  3. 23:40, Anne McFarlane (F, 55-59)
  4. 23:54, Claudena Coulter (F, 45-49)
  5. 26:11, Sally Schade (F, 50-54)
  6. 26:55, Alexis Hill (F, 15-17)
  7. 27:59, Marcia Insley (F, 50-54)
  8. 28:37, Camille Chenier (F, 50-54)
  9. 28:48, Frances Post (F, 60-64)
  10. 28:58, Carrie Roeder (F, 40-44)