Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lee and Rosen Flash to the Front

176 runners left Woodville, Florida's J. Lewis Hall Park to run the 22nd annual Flash 12K on the chilly morning of 20 February 2010. The first to return to the park and the finish line was Daniel Lee, a narrow victor over Maclay assistant coach Stephen Cox, 41:57 to 41:59. The top woman was Sheryl Rosen, who finished 11th overall in 47:12, over 300 meters ahead of her nearest female challenger, Lisa Johnson.

By the end of the first kilometer, a group of six runners had seized the lead--Daniel Lee, Stephen Cox, Vince Molosky, Tony Guillen, defending champion Jay Wallace, and Gary Droze. The six proceeded to run away from the field. After three kilometers, Wallace could no longer hold the pace set by the leaders and fell out of the group. At four kilometers Droze decided that he'd had enough for the morning and dropped out of the race. That left Lee, Cox, Molosky, and Guillen, pursued by an ever more distant Wallace. Through ten kilometers four leaders ran together as a tight group, sharing the lead, no runner able to break away from the other three. Then on the eleventh kilometer Cox and Lee opened a gap. Guillen fell back. Molosky tried to give chase but failed. The race belonged to one of Lee or Cox now--it was a battle of surge and counter-surge as they fought for the title. At the final turn into the park, though, Lee had won a few steps on Cox, and that was enough to get him across the finish line first. Molosky held on to finish third in 42:29, while Guillen was fourth and first master in 42:36.

In the women's competition Rosen and Johnson went to the front early and ran together through four kilometers. After that, though, Rosen took command of the race. By the end of six kilometers Rosen led Johnson by 50 meters, a gap that she continued to widen. Rosen went on to win top woman honors, while Johnson had to settle for runner-up, finishing 16th overall in 48:25. The third woman finisher and top woman master was Thomasville's Mary Anne Grayson, who crossed the line 30th overall in 51:51.

For the second year the Flash also included a 6K event, won by Ben Kail in 24:43. Runner-up Tad David was the top master in 25:05. Rachel Phipps was the first woman across the line, eighth overall in 31:35. The top woman master was Alyson Hornby-Prichard, the 21st finisher in 34:48.

After 21 years of race direction by Joe Dexter, Mark Priddy took his first turn at directing the race this year. The Flash 12K was originally run near Chaires in eastern Leon County, but has since moved to a course on the northernmost section of the Tallahassee-St Marks Historic Rail Trail, which is about as flat as anyplace you'll ever find to run. The race is named after the DC Comics character "the Flash" (the 1960s and later version who wore a red bodysuit and not the 1940s version who wore a helmet like the FTD man). Time-Warners' lawyers still haven't contacted the Gulf Winds Track Club about the name, a good thing for all parties concerned.


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