"Herb!" he called out. "How far is 12K? 7.2 miles? 7.4?"
"7.5!" I shouted as he ran by.
"So the halfway is at 3.2?"
"Three-and-three-quarters!" I called at his back.
No one who knew Kunish while he was running cross country at Florida State would be at all surprised.
But Kunish has run on the United State Marine Corps' marathon team, so he was able to overcome the handicap of not knowing just how long a race he was running to win Gulf Winds Track Club's 23rd annual Flash 12K on Saturday morning, 19 February 2011. Kunish ran 40:57, holding off a late charge by runner-up Nate Kaiser (41:03). Jay Wallace took top master honors, running third in 41:53. Kelly Stevens was the woman's champion, placing 23rd in 49:23, well ahead of runner-up Brandi Campbell (28th, 50:20). Mary Anne Grayson (34th, 52:23) of Thomasville was the first female master and the fifth woman finisher overall.
The race was forced to a new venue by work on the Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Rail Trail on the old course near Woodville, and the 2011 Flash 12K started in the town of St. Marks from the front of Fort San Marcos de Apalachee State Park. Brian Manry led the runners through the streets of St. Marks, closely followed by Kunish. John Robida, Jay Wallace, and Nate Kaiser were not far behind. After two kilometers the race turned onto the St. Marks Trail, where Kunish took control of the race. As Manry fell back, Robida moved into second near the end of the third kilometer. At five kilometers Kunish led Robida by 21 seconds. Robida couldn't keep up the pursuit, though, and by early in the second half of the race he had lost his position to Kaiser and Wallace. Kaiser began to close on Kunish. Just past nine kilometers Kaiser was 18 seconds down, but the gap was narrowing. By the last turn on the course, just 300 meters from the finish, Kunish was only three seconds up on Kaiser. But Kunish ran away on the final stretch to win 40:57 to 41:03.
Top Ten Men, Flash 12K
- Thomas Kunish (M, 30) 40:57
- Nate Kaiser (M, 31) 41:03
- Jay Wallace (M, 46) 41:53
- John Robida (M, 30) 42:33
- Christopher Coutts (M, 37) 44:15
- Douglas Bell (M, 42) 44:27
- Brian Manry (M, 32) 44:37
- Michael Martinez (M, 45) 45:00
- Keith Howell (M, 28) 45:07
- David Knauf (M, 46) 45:21
Top Ten Women, Flash 12K
- Kelly Stevens (F, 29) 49:23
- Brandi Campbell (F, 35) 50:20
- Katie Showman (F, 29) 50:30
- Micah Adriani (F, 33) 52:01
- Mary Anne Grayson (F, 45) 52:23
- Kristine Cox (F, 33) 54:30
- Julie Clark (F, 49) 54:42
- Stephanie Stout (F, 26) 55:01
- Ashley Daily (F, 24) 55:28
- Christienne Coutts (F, 39) 56:06
Ten-year-old Caleb Harris of Bainbridge, Georgia won the associated six-kilometer race, running 23:59 ahead of runner-up James Dexter's 24:31. Douglas McMurray (3rd, 25:33) was the first master finisher. Ashton McMurray (11th, 31:26) finished as first female in the 6K, with Michele Bagget (19th, 33:18) second. Barbara Yonclas (20th, 34:10) was the top woman master.
Top Ten Men, Flash 6K
- Caleb Harris (M, 10) 23:59
- James Dexter (M, 26) 24:31
- Douglas McMurray (M, 46) 25:33
- Ryan Fitzgerald (M, 31) 26:13
- Mike Culligan (M, 36) 27:24
- David Savary (M, 45) 27:53
- Robert Whitehurst (M, 22) 29:33
- Robert Champlin (M, 41) 30:12
- Chris Dexter (M, 29) 31:03
- Cory Cardoza (M, 35) 31:19
Top Ten Women, Flash 6K
- Ashton McMurray (F, 15) 31:26
- Michele Baggett (F, 35) 33:18
- Barbara Yonclas (F, 63) 34:10
- Marisol Townsend (F, 33) 34:21
- Marly Upcavage (F, 20) 35:12
- Shelby Murphy (F, 16) 35:15
- Veronica Durham (F, 21) 35:22
- Maria Matheu (F, 32) 35:30
- Sara Rysavy (F, 16) 35:31
- Courtney Heidelberg (F, 33) 35:54
- Complete results of the 2011 Flash 12K / 6K at gulfwinds.org
- More photos of the 2011 Flash 12K (Part 1)
- More photos of the 2011 Flash 12K (Part 2)
- Fred Deckert's photos of the 2011 Flash 12K / 6K
- Course map, 2011 Flash 12K
- 2010 story: "Lee and Rosen Flash to the Front"
- 2008 Flash 12K story
- Plan your racing schedule in the Tallahassee region with the Trouble Afoot! calendar