Saturday, August 5, 2017

The return of Ryan Deak highlights the Fallen Heroes 5K

Ryan Deak was seventeen years old when he left Tallahassee, Florida for Colorado in 2003. At that time Deak was winning nearly every distance race in town that he cared to run. So although it was a surprise when Deak returned to Tallahassee for a visit on Saturday morning, 5 August 2017, it was no surprise that during that visit he won the Fallen Heroes 5K. Running the 3.1-miles through Maclay Gardens State Park in 17:01, Deak finished more than half a kilometer ahead of the next runner. Brittney Barnes of Tallahassee took the women's title, placing eighth overall in 22:36.

Ryan Deak
Ryan Deak

The sky was dark, threatening rain, when the race got started right at 8:30 AM. The run began with a 400-meter climb out of the Lake Hall recreation area, heading to the first turn on the course. Ryan Deak was the first around that turn, followed by master runners Myles Gibson and Mike Peymann. Deak wasn't waiting for anyone, though, and soon the rest of the field was left far behind. Alone in the lead, he hit the first mile in 5:25. During the second mile the race left the pavement and the going got tougher.

"I was trying to stay relaxed out there so it wouldn't look like I was dying," said Deak. "But I was."

Myles Gibson
Myles Gibson

His last two miles were a bit slower than his first, but Deak was still running faster than any other athlete on the course. As a light rain started to fall, Deak continued to widen his lead, returning to Lake Hall to cross the finish line in a winning 17:01.

"I felt old and slow," he said.

Deak, 32, teaches physical education and coaches cross-country at Alice Deal Middle School in Washington, DC.

Mike Peymann
Mike Peymann

Behind Deak, Myles Gibson and Mike Peymann dueled for the runner-up spot. Gibson held second place early, then Peymann overtook him during the middle of the race. But Gibson came back.

"I passed him around the two-mile mark," said Gibson, who had driven through a storm from his home in Donalsonville, Georgia to run the race.

Gibson spent the final mile opening a gap of 70 meters on Peymann, taking second in 19:01.

Brittney Barnes
Brittney Barnes

"It's getting harder every year to break 19:00," said Gibson.

Tallahassee's Peymann was third in 19:17. "That's my fastest 5K this year," said Peymann. "I'm training for the Berlin Marathon. I've got a twenty-mile training run tomorrow."

Behind women's champ Brittney Barnes, Amy Triggs took second in the women's standings, placing fourteenth overall in 23:58. A West Palm Beach athlete, Triggs was also the top woman master in the race. Leslie Brett edged Julie Cosper for the third women's spot, 26:55 to 26:59. Brett and Cosper were 24th and 26th overall respectively.

Amy Triggs
Amy Triggs

The rain stopped as the last of 120 athletes finished the race.

From 2009 to 2011, the Fallen Heroes 5K was hosted annually by the North Florida chapter of Operation One Voice. After a hiatus in 2012, the race was taken up by Operation One Voice Florida. Operation One Voice raises funds to support children and families of wounded and fallen members of United States Special Operations Forces.

Top Ten Men, 2017 Fallen Heroes 5K
  1. 17:01, Ryan Deak (M, 32)
  2. 19:01, Myles Gibson (M, 51)
  3. 19:17, Mike Peymann (M, 55)
  4. 20:22, David Guhl (M, 17)
  5. 21:02, Matt Triggs (M, 53)
  6. 22:17, Michael Savage (M, 60)
  7. 22:32, Jonathon Richard (M, 19)
  8. 22:42, Julian Hill (M, 16)
  9. 23:05, Mark Ray (M, 30)
  10. 23:09, Steve Outlaw (M, 56)

Top Ten Women, 2017 Fallen Heroes 5K
  1. 22:36, Brittney Barnes (F, 28)
  2. 23:58, Amy Triggs (F, 52)
  3. 26:55, Leslie Brett (F, 26)
  4. 26:59, Julie Cosper (F, 32)
  5. 27:02, Nami Imaizumi (F, 38)
  6. 27:51, Molly Triggs (F, 21)
  7. 28:20, Nicole Kelly (F, 12)
  8. 28:49, Jill Foster (F, 44)
  9. 29:49, Laura McDermott (F, 37)
  10. 30:30, Christina Munoz (F, 29)

Winners of the Fallen Heroes 5K, 2009 - 2017
1 August 200917:02, Christian Minor22:07, Olivia Swedberg164
4 September 201018:27, Robert Abellera23:50, Karima Anderson140
13 August 201117:14, Gary Droze21:38, Tiffany Barz232
7 September 201315:45, Stanley Linton21:04, Jillian Heddaeus94
20 September 201418:21, Michael Martinez20:25, Brittney Barnes107
5 September 201516:57, Gary Droze25:01, Deborah Congdon77
6 August 201618:07, Zach DeVeau20:13, Sheryl Rosen151
5 August 201717:01, Ryan Deak22:36, Brittney Barnes120
The 2009 Fallen Heroes 5K was run on a slightly long course in Tom Brown
The 2010-2017 races were run in Maclay Gardens State Park.

There was no Fallen Heroes 5K in 2012.