Saturday, April 22, 2017

Stan Linton stuns with a 15:52 at the Hops & Half Shells 5K

As a Florida State Seminole distance runner, Stan Linton raced as far east as Boston, Massachusetts, as far west as Palo Alto, California, and any number of far-flung places between the two. The US Navy Ensign didn't have to roam much, though, to get to the Wakulla Environmental Institute, site of the Hops & Half Shells 5K.


"This is actually a mile and a half from my parents' house," said Linton.

Stan Linton
Stan Linton

Being close to his Crawfordville, Florida home certainly didn't hurt Linton's performance. He won the second annual race by more than 800 meters, covering the rugged cross-country course in 15:52. Tallahassee, Florida runner Christina Linton (no relation to Stan) topped the women's standings, placing thirteenth overall in 24:05.


The race was very much a Tallahassee Community College affair. The run took place on the grounds of TCC's Wakulla Environmental Institute, was directed by Flagler College-TCC professor Jeanne O'Kon, and proceeds of the event went to support TCC student scholarships. TCC's Oyster Aquaculture Program farmed the oysters that runners enjoyed after the race. One of the prominent entries was the TCC cross-country coach, master runner Gary Droze.

Gary Droze
Gary Droze

But when the race started at 9:00 AM, it wasn't a TCC Eagle who shot to the front, it was former Seminole Stan Linton. Over sugar sand, coarse grass, and even a few bits of pavement, Linton relentlessly pulled away from the rest of the field, continuing to race against the clock when there were no other athletes to challenge him. When Linton crossed the finish line first in 15:52, there wasn't another competitor in sight. Gary Droze was the first master runner in the race, taking second overall in 18:58. Master runner Mike Peymann was third overall, holding off a closing Paul Guyas 19:38 to 19:43.


As close to home as the Institute was for Linton, it was the first time he had been on the grounds.


"I was happy to run here," said Linton. "I've driven by here before and seen paths leading into the woods and thought, 'That would be a nice place to run!'"


It's a distance runners' attitude. On the rim of the Grand Canyon, most people would be enjoying the view, or contemplating the vast forces that shaped the landscape. The distance runner, though, would be wondering how long it would take to run to the other side and back. Christina Linton, relatively new to running, was also drawn by the novelty of the venue.

Christina Linton
Christina Linton

"It was different because it was a trail run," said the women's champ. This was my first time racing on trails. I've been running competitively since October."


Early in the race Mia Wiederkehr led the women's field. Wiederkehr, a member of the TCC women's cross-country team, certainly had some trail running on her resume. The less experienced Christina Linton was right behind her though, and overtook Wiederkehr during the second mile.


"At around halfway I passed a female runner but no others after that," said Linton. "I didn't know I had won till after I crossed the finish line and my parents told me I was the first woman."

Abigail Feuka
Abigail Feuka

Christina Linton had indeed won the women's division with a 24:05. Abigail Feuka was second in the women's standings and fifteenth overall at 24:27, and Mia Wiederkehr the third woman and sixteenth overall in 24:46. Marien Dimacali was the top woman master and fifth female finisher, 25th overall in 26:08.


One of the first things you noticed upon arriving at the race was the scent of insect repellent, which was not so much a cologne of choice as one of necessity in the woods that morning. For anyone who could see past the insects, the Wakulla Environmental Institute was a fine place to run. Traffic-free trails take you through pine forests, past sinkholes, and near a natural bridge. 261 athletes enjoyed the venue, finishing the second annual Hops & Half Shells 5K. Gulf Winds Track Club chip-timed the race.


Top Ten Men, 2017 Hops And Half Shells 5K
  1. 15:52, Stan Linton (M, 23)
  2. 18:58, Gary Droze (M, 55)
  3. 19:38, Mike Peymann (M, 54)
  4. 19:43, Paul Guyas (M, 39)
  5. 20:19, Lane Williams (M, 21)
  6. 20:25, Eric Miller (M, 30)
  7. 20:40, Duane Evans (M, 49)
  8. 21:40, Michael Savage (M, 60)
  9. 22:21, Scott Stewart (M, 47)
  10. 22:40, Shawn Morris (M, 24)

Top Ten Women, 2017 Hops And Half Shells 5K
  1. 24:05, Christina Linton (F, 36)
  2. 24:27, Abigail Feuka (F, 23)
  3. 24:46, Mia Wiederkehr (F, 19)
  4. 25:30, Trisha Teig (F, 33)
  5. 26:08, Marien Dimacali (F, 55)
  6. 27:23, Martha Guyas (F, 32)
  7. 27:29, Tiphani Tiphani (F, 38)
  8. 27:35, Allison Gordon (F, 22)
  9. 28:01, Emma Dugger (F, 54)
  10. 28:10, Terra Bradley (F, 42)

Hops & Half Shells 5K winners, 2016 - 2017
DateMenWomenFinishers
23 April 201617:40, Zach DeVeau21:53, Katie Sherron319
22 April 201715:52, Stan Linton24:05, Christina Linton261


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