Saturday, January 17, 2009

2009 Gulf Winds Track Club 30K / 15K

Sub-freezing temperatures at race-time did not prevent 87 runners from finishing the Gulf Winds Track Club 30K early on Saturday morning, 17 January 2008. Vince Molosky won his second straight GWTC 30K title with a course-record 1:54:06, comfortable ahead of runner-up John Robida. Third overall was top master runner Jay Wallace at 1:58:11. These are the only three runners to crack two hours on the Old Centerville Road - Sunny Hill Road course.

In the women's race, Sheryl Rosen was victorious for the third year in a row, running 2:11:41. Running 2:12:59, Jane Johnson won the women's master title, her seventh straight. In nine starts at this race since becoming a master, Johnson has come away with nine wins in the master division.

In the 15K fun run, defending champion Matt Mizereck fell to the 2008 runner-up, Will Stanford, 51:05 to 51:47. Both Stanford and Mizereck run for the Leon High School cross-country team. The Leon team puts in many miles training on this course, and each of the first five places went to Leon cross-country runners. Lisa Johnson successfully defended her women's title, racing to a 61:49 finish. Edged out by Johnson was top male master Tim Unger, running 61:50. The women's master titleist was Mary Anne Grayson of Thomasville at 73:05.

The course for the Gulf Winds Track Club 30K is mostly off pavement. It's an out-and-back course the first few yards of which are on Bradley Road before a turn onto Old Centerville Road. After about two miles on blacktop, the pavement ends and the runners are on the same red clay that the hills around them are made of. Patriarch live oaks hung with spanish moss loom over the road. This used to be cotton country; now it is managed for quail hunting and for timber. Around six miles (just short of the Georgia state line), the runners make a left turn to head west on Sunny Hill Road, named for Sunny Hill Plantation. The clay hills on this road are no smaller than those on Old Centerville Road. The runners stay on Sunny Hill Road till the turn-around at 15 km.

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