Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cook and Rosen lead the Madness

The story is that cross-country event organizers in Europe want nothing more than to have a muddy course for their runs. To that end, they want rain. They pray for rain. They hire witches to conjure up rain. If rain fails, they soak the course with fire hoses the night before the race. The story is that the Europeans are serious about their mud.


It's not such a big thing with us in Tallahassee. But Tom Perkins, race director for the Miller Landing Madness 8K, 5K, and 3K races, had a little bit of that European love-for-mud in him the morning of his event, 28 August 2010.


"Did you see my mud patch?" asked Perkins.

"Your mud patch?" I responded in confusion. I'm often confused when talking to race directors.

"Yeah, my mud patch. I could only make one of them."

"Oh, you mean where the 5K course and the 8K course split."

"Yeah, that's it," beamed Perkins. "That's my mud patch!"


By the end of Saturday morning over 400 runners had seen his mud patch, the runners in the Miller Landing Madness 8K, 5K, and 3K, all of whom had to make at least one trip around or through the mud. The rest of the course through Elinor Klapp Phipps Park was excellent for running, firm and well-drained in spite of the rain the day before the races.


Florida State University grad student Kevin Cook didn't seem to have a problem with the footing or anything else as he won the 8K race in 26:28. Last year's champion, Chris Lake, never let Cook get out of sight, but he couldn't catch Cook, either, and had to settle for the runner-up spot in 26:42. It was Lake's first loss since the 2008 Palace Saloon 5K. Just behind Lake, Peter Wood outdueled Daniel Roberts for third, 26:46 to 26:47. Tallahassee's Michael Martinez was the top master runner, finishing seventh overall in 32:45. Sheryl Rosen (12th, 33:29) dominated the women's division, finishing more than half a kilometer ahead of the second-place female, Katie Showman (33rd, 37:50). Kirsten Baggett was the first woman master to finish, placing 66th overall in 42:26.


In the 5K Patrick Swain ran 17:15 for the win. Swain, a cross-country runner at Maclay School, is the defending Florida high school cross country champion in class A. Swain's teammate at Maclay, Austin Stevens, took second in 17:20, while the next two places went to Jacob Slupecki (17:22) and Travis Covert (17:45). Terance Keenan of Tallahassee was the top master, running 19:26 to finish 13th overall. Maclay School's Stefanie Kurgatt (11th, 19:22) was the first female, well ahead of runner-up Micah Adriani (16th, 20:17). Nancy Stedman (52nd, 24:19) was the first woman master in the 5K.


Wil Luca outran Sukhi Khosla for the 3K title, 11:14 to 11:25. Madeline Horgan was the first female finisher, 21st overall at 13:30.


I have one last story from the race. As I was taking pictures of the 8K, one of the slower runners went by me with about a mile to go.

"What's your name?" she called out.

"Herb Wills," I replied.

"I'm Patti," she said. "And I'm going to finish."

She did. 1:09:54.


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