Monday, August 14, 2017

A quick bite and a quicker run for Johnson and Sherron at the Breakfast on the Track Mile

After American track and field went metric, opportunities to race a mile on the track disappeared, replaced by either the 1600 meters or the 1500 meters. Most athletes would only see those events in high school or college competition. Sometimes not even then. Charlie Johnson, a project manager at Landscape Architects, missed out on the mile or its equivalents during his athletic career at Cairo High in Cairo, Georgia.

Charlie Johnson
Charlie Johnson

“I ran track in high school,” recalled Johnson. “That was my favorite. Trouble was, there were no other distance runners on our team.”


Similarly, Florida State University economics professor Katie Sherron never raced the mile during her tenure as a student-athlete at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.


“I did the 4 x 400 relay and the 800,” said Sherron. “They were looking for someone to run the 100 hurdles and there were two of us.”

Katie Sherron
Katie Sherron

Nevertheless, in Tallahassee, Florida on Saturday morning, 12 August 2017, Charlie Johnson won the Gulf Winds Track Club Mile at the Breakfast on the Track, circling the Maclay School track four time in 4:32. Katie Sherron was the top woman in the event with a 5:16.


Gulf Winds Track Club’s Breakfast on the Track is a track meet with just one event--the mile. 185 athletes covering a wide variety of abilities raced in 2017, so to break up the crowd the mile had to be run in ten sections, with the faster runners in the earlier sections.


The first section started at 7:45 AM. Armando Abaunza grabbed the lead, with Charlie Johnson a step behind. On the backstretch of the second lap, about 600 yards into the race, Johnson passed Abaunza. Before the end of the second lap, Matt McCurdy and Jake Mazziotta had also overtaken the early leader, but Johnson was still out front, setting the pace.

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

On the third lap Johnson opened a huge gap on the field. Mazziotta moved into second. A recent graduate of Maclay School, Mazziotta was running his last race on his alma mater’s track before heading to Virginia Military Institute. Home track advantage didn’t help him against Johnson. Pouring on the speed during the fourth and final lap, Johnson charged across the finish line in a winning 4:32. Mazziotta was second in 4:40 and McCurdy third in 4:47. Bryan Koon held off Carter Hay for top master runner honors, Koon placing fourteenth overall in 5:06 and Hay fifteenth overall in 5:07.


In the second section, Katie Sherron let the leaders go during the first lap, patiently running well back in the field. On the third lap Sherron took over. During the final lap she left everyone else on the track behind, winning the section in 5:16 and taking the women’s title. Kat Sack, also racing in the second section, ran 5:39, taking second in the women's standings and 36th overall in 5:39. Competing in section three, Hannah Hosay was the third woman and 37th overall in 5:40. Laurie Wisotsky was the top woman master and tenth female finisher, placing 60th overall in 6:11.


“This was my PR today,” noted Katie Sherron. Her previous best was 5:17.98, the time she had posted to win the women’s title at the 2015 Breakfast on the Track. What about the 2016 race?

Kat Sack
Kat Sack

“This is Barrett’s first birthday,” said Sherron, referring to her son. “Last year I was in labor.”


In section ten, Barrett tried his first mile, but abandoned the attempt after the first hundred yards or so.


True to the event’s name, breakfast was served at Breakfast on the Track. After racing, athletes could enjoy pancakes (with or without blueberries), coffee, juice, and watermelon. At the Iffley Road track in Oxford, England on 6 May 1954, Roger Bannister ran a 3:59.4 mile, the first sub-4:00 mile in history. Who knows how much faster he might have run if there had been pancakes waiting for him?


Top Ten Men, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2017 Breakfast on the Track Mile
  1. 4:32, Charlie Johnson (M, 37)
  2. 4:40, Jake Mazziotta (M, 19)
  3. 4:47, Matthew McCurdy (M, 24)
  4. 4:48, Chris O'Kelley (M, 24)
  5. 4:56, Gatlin Nennstiel (M, 18)
  6. 4:58, Ryan Truchelut (M, 31)
  7. 4:58, Armando Abaunza (M, 24)
  8. 5:00, Zach Deveau (M, 29)
  9. 5:01, George Escobar (M, 19)
  10. 5:02, Nick Loffer (M, 33)

Top Ten Women, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2017 Breakfast on the Track Mile
  1. 5:16, Katie Sherron (F, 35)
  2. 5:39, Kat Sack (F, 25)
  3. 5:40, Hannah Hosay (F, 15)
  4. 5:52, Jillian Heddaeus (F, 34)
  5. 5:55, Meagan Giddens (F, 19)
  6. 6:01, Avery Smith (F, 15)
  7. 6:08, Alyssa Terry (F, 24)
  8. 6:09, Emma Spencer (F, 36)
  9. 6:10, Sofia Paredes (F, 12)
  10. 6:11, Laurie Wisotsky (F, 46)

“Breakfast On The Track” Mile champions, 1998 - 2017
DateMenWomenFinishers
8 August 19984:36, Robert Pautienus5:21, Jane Johnson101
14 August 19994:26, Lee Willis5:27, Jane Johnson123
26 August 20004:42.97, Gary Droze5:09.08, Sarah Docter-Williams112
18 August 20014:21.47, Ryan Deak5:08.94, Sarah Docter-Williams130
17 August 20024:35.07, Lee Willis5:10.33, Sarah Docter-Williams123
16 August 20034:45.20, David Huntzinger5:02.28, Sarah Docter-Williams122
14 August 20044:32.40, Lee Willis5:11.79, Sarah Docter-Williams162
13 August 20054:46.26, Art Remillard5:07.13, Sarah Docter-Williams157
12 August 20064:47.58, Whitney Strickland5:09.85, Sarah Docter-Williams202
18 August 20074:48.04, Michael Martinez5:12.91, Sarah Docter-Williams163
16 August 20084:31.39, Whitney Strickland5:12.79, Jana Stolting190
15 August 20094:43.40, Patrick Swain5:05.66, Jana Stolting176
21 August 20104:33.30, Trevor Touchton5:00.97, Stefanie Kurgatt191
20 August 20114:26.90, Kevin Sullivan5:05.82, Stefanie Kurgatt231
18 August 20124:40.52, Travis Covert5:01.74, Stefanie Kurgatt210
17 August 20134:34.92, Remy Tamer5:12.07, Sheryl Rosen178
16 August 20144:22.11, Matt Mizereck5:26.81, Caroline Willis213
15 August 20154:35.32, Joseph Garcia5:17.98, Katie Sherron214
13 August 20164:30.10, Stan Linton5:26.47, Caroline Willis204
12 August 20174:32, Charlie Johnson5:16, Katie Sherron185


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