Sunday, November 29, 2009

No Turkeys Were Harmed in the Trotting of this Race

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Over 3,600 athletes took advantage of a perfect Thanksgiving morning for distance running in Tallahassee on 26 November 2009 by running in one of Gulf Winds Track Club's four Turkey Trot races in the Southwood area. Chris Lake was the fleetest in the event's marquee race, the 15K, taking the lead early and never relinquishing it. Lake ran 51:19 to bury his nearest challenger, Gary Droze, who ran 52:49 to finish as runner-up and top master. Behind Lake and Droze, David Altmaier (53:18) and Jay Wallace (53:19) battled for the third spot while Tony Guillen (53:39) watched from fifth place. Amy Hines outran Sheryl Rosen for top woman honors, finishing 13th overall in 57:49 to Rosen's 16th place effort of 58:53. At 40th overall, Jane Johnson was the top woman master in 65:31.

Florida State's Tyler Price won the 10K race in 32:15, finishing almost a mile ahead of runner-up Matthew Mattson (37:44). Kristen Findley finished third overall to capture the top woman's spot with a 39:45. Holden Dickson (40:39) edged out Hamp Stoutamire (40:42) for fourth place, but Stoutamire finished as the first master in the 10K. In 41st place and the seventh woman overall, Kristen Baggett (46:27) was the top woman master.


The 5K was a much closer contest than the two longer races, with Nick Stenuf crossing the line barely ahead of Harry Norton. Both Stenuf and Norton were clocked in 14:52, the fastest road 5K in the Tallahassee area this year. Stenuf was a NCAA All-American in track and cross country at Nazareth (c/o 2008) and currently runs for the Syracuse Chargers TC, while Norton was a top miler at Dartmouth (c/o 2008). On the women's side, FSU cross-country coach Karen Harvey (17:38) outran one of her own runners, Kara Taylor (18:09), for the title. In master competition, Paul Carico was the first male master in, placing 16th overall in 18:25, just ahead of Reid Vannoy, 19th overall in 18:30. Krista Killius (21:28) and Julie Clark (21:32) had a similar close struggle for the top woman's master spot.

The races were run on two 5K loops, the second being a modified version of the first. This made the faster runners in the 10K and 15K victims of the popularity of the Turkey Trot--at several points after their first loop, they had to wade through throngs of slower runners and walkers in the 15K. The race directors made some course changes this year that somewhat alleviated the problem, but still haven't solved it. There is perhaps no solution short of having three entirely different loops or turning away over 2,000 5K participants, neither of which is a particularly desirable option. But the Turkey Trot management team has a year to puzzle it out before the next edition of the event on 25 November 2010.

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