Sunday, May 21, 2017

McCurdy and Sack land victories in the Catfish Crawl 5K

Just before Blountstown, Florida’s sixth annual Catfish Crawl 5K on Saturday morning, 20 May 2017, Matt McCurdy and Kat Sack had in common that they had both been winners the previous week at the Run For Ansley 5K in Tallahassee. McCurdy had carried away the men’s title and Sack the women’s. After a morning in Blountstown, McCurdy and Sack also had Catfish Crawl wins in common. McCurdy took the 3.1-mile race in 17:23, and Sack finished atop the women’s field in 19:47.

2017 Catfish Crawl 5K
The leaders after 1500 meters

In each of the last four years, the race at the Catfish Crawl 5K has developed like a race on the track, with a large group of leaders being gradually whittled down to a few contenders, and finally a single winner. Perhaps it’s because the out-and-back course on the Blountstown Greenway Rail Trail is as flat as any track. Or perhaps it’s just coincidence. Whatever the reason, the 2016 race followed the same script. One mile into the race there was a lead pack of five, with Tallahassee runners Matt McCurdy and Chris O’Kelley setting the pace for Elijah Sarmiento of Wewahitchka, Jesse Boyd of Blountstown, and Geb Kiros of Tallahassee. At that point, one of the athletes threw in a bit of improvisation.


“He wasn’t wearing a watch, and he asked us for the mile time,” recalled O’Kelley. “After we told him he took off.”

Chris O'Kelley, Matt McCurdy
Chris O'Kelley and Matt McCurdy

The surge was short-lived. After the turn-around halfway through the race, McCurdy and O’Kelley were in command. With a quarter mile to go they were still running side by side. After that?


“I just started sprinting,” said McCurdy.

Geb Kiros
Geb Kiros

O’Kelley had no response. McCurdy dashed ahead to win in 17:23 while O’Kelley was second in 17:31. Geb Kiros was the fastest master runner in the race, placing third overall in 17:43. Boyd edged Sarmiento for fourth, 17:48 to 17:50.

Chelsee Cook, Kat Sack
Chelsee Cook and Kat Sack

Kat Sack may have been coming off of a win, but Blountstown High graduating senior Chelsee Cook was the defending women’s champ of the Catfish Crawl. Cook was also the women’s course record holder, having run 21:37 in the 2016 race. During the first mile she was actually half a step ahead of Sack. The two raced closely until Sack made a break half a mile from the finish line.


“I started to pull away about a minute before the bridge,” said Sack. “She kept me on my toes. She definitely kept me on my toes.”

Kat Sack
Kat Sack

It took a new women’s course record for Sack to beat Cook. Sack ran 19:47, finishing fourteenth overall and becoming the only woman to ever run under 20:00 at the Catfish Crawl. Cook also clocked under the previous women’s record, running 20:01 for second in the women's standings and sixteenth overall. Tallahassee schoolteacher Laura McDermott was the third woman and 23rd overall in 21:45. Tsige Tadesse of Tallahassee was the top woman master and fourth female finisher, 27th overall in 22:18.


A record field of 212 athletes finished the Blountstown Fire Department’s 2017 Catfish Crawl 5K. Another seven participated in the event as race walkers, and 22 others completed a one-mile fun run.

Chelsee Cook
Chelsee Cook

Top Ten Men, 2017 Catfish Crawl 5K
  1. 17:23, Matthew McCurdy (M, 24) Tallahassee, FL
  2. 17:31, Chris O'Kelley (M, 24) Tallahassee, FL
  3. 17:43, Geb Kiros (M, 50) Blountstown, FL
  4. 17:48, Jesse Boyd (M, 17) Blountstown, FL
  5. 17:50, Elijah Sarmiento (M, 18) Wewahitchka, FL
  6. 18:10, Mickey Moore (M, 47) Tallahassee, FL
  7. 18:17, Jim Halley (M, 37) Blountstown, FL
  8. 18:32, Chance Logan (M, 20) Blountstown, FL
  9. 18:38, Paul Guyas (M, 39) Tallahassee, FL
  10. 18:53, Blayton See (M, 16) Blountstown, FL

Top Ten Women, 2017 Catfish Crawl 5K
  1. 19:47, Kat Sack (F, 25) Tallahassee, FL
  2. 20:01, Chelsee Cook (F, 18) Blountstown, FL
  3. 21:45, Laura McDermott (F, 37) Blountstown, FL
  4. 22:18, Tsige Tadesse (F, 44) Tallahassee, FL
  5. 22:56, Paula O'Neill (F, 55) Tallahassee, FL
  6. 23:27, Kory Skrob (F, 46) Tallahassee, FL
  7. 23:27, Nazarae Rodriguez (F, 27) Tallahassee, FL
  8. 23:44, Monica Judd (F, 43) Tallahassee, FL
  9. 23:51, Kristin Halley (F, 35) Tallahassee, FL
  10. 23:57, Nancy Proctor (F, 56) Tallahassee, FL

Blountstown Fire Department Catfish Crawl 5K champions, 2012 - 2017
DateMenWomenFinishers
19 May 201217:45, Billy Naylor21:41, Hannah Plazarin96
18 May 201316:38, Billy Naylor23:45, Hannah Plazarin128
17 May 201417:23, Thomas Howell25:05, Lydia Miles117
16 May 201517:47, Michael Martinez22:41, Kristi Johnson135
21 May 201618:08, Geb Kiros21:37, Chelsee Cook132
20 May 201717:23, Matthew McCurdy19:47, Kat Sack212


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