It wouldn't be hard to come to that conclusion. After all, every year since 2003 Seppala has shown up in Hahira, Georgia on a Saturday in October, run 16 minutes and change, and collected a win. Well, in 2008 he ran 17:02, but that was also the year he won by over half a mile. Not that anyone ever finished within 100 meters of Seppala when the Honeybee title was at stake.
Until this year.
On 9 October 2010 Scott Gardner of Naylor ended Seppala's seven-year winning streak at the Honeybee 5K, running 16:46 to Seppala's runner-up performance of 16:59. Gardner and Seppala were also the first two master runners in the race. Gardner's only previous showing in the Honeybee 5K was last year, when he ran 19:19 for 4th. Gardner is no stranger to winning, however, having taken top honors in Valdosta's Break Bread Bun Run 5K this past July.
While the top two places in the men's race went to the masters, the same spots in the women's race went to the juniors. Ashley Powell placed 19th overall to win the women's division in 20:08, with second place going to Allison Peters (20th, 20:26). Both Powell and Peters are freshmen at Lowndes High School in Valdosta, where they compete on the cross-country team. Two weeks ago they led Lowndes to the team title at the Quail Trail Invitational outside of Thomasville, Georgia, Peters finishing second in 21:30 and Powell fourth in 22:23. On the roads in Hahira, though, their order of finish was reversed. Cathy Helms of Homerville, Georgia was the first woman master, finishing in 24:23 as the 12th woman and 60th runner overall.
The race was one of activities at Hahira's 29th annual Honeybee Festival, a celebration of Hahira's history in the package bee business. Dadant and Sons was one of the honeybee businesses that had offices in Hahira. Now there is a parade, a honeybee queen, and a 100-mile bike ride. And the Honeybee 5K.
|Eight years of Honeybee 5K Champions, 2003-2010|
|4 October 2003||John Seppala (16:31.0)||Amy Mark (23:13.3)|
|2 October 2004||John Seppala (16:29.9)||Sundonia Williams (22:12.3)|
|8 October 2005||John Seppala (16:46.4)||Susan Fischer (20:40.4)|
|7 October 2006||John Seppala (16:53.2)||Susan Fischer (20:42.7)|
|6 October 2007||John Seppala (16:54.0)||Jana Grygarova (18:56.4)|
|4 October 2008||John Seppala (17:02)||Heidi Gonzalez (21:13)|
|3 October 2009||John Seppala (16:51)||Ashley Powell (20:12)|
|9 October 2010||Scott Gardner (16:46)||Ashley Powell (20:08)|
2010 Honeybee Festival 5K
- Hahira's Honeybee Festival
- Tales from the Trail, the second annual Quail Trail
- Gardner conquers Valdosta's Wood Valley hills to win the Bun Run 5K
- Running Central for the Valdosta area, Get Active!
- Find upcoming races in Valdosta, Hahira, and other towns within 100 miles of Tallahassee