Sunday, February 6, 2011

Vanegas wins and Harvey sets record at Tallahassee Marathon XXXVII

Coming from behind, master runner Esteban Vanegas blew by Jerome Recker in the closing miles of the 37th annual Tallahassee Marathon, winning the event in 2:28:38. In her first marathon, Florida State University track coach Karen Harvey debuted with a 2:43:33 win in the women's division, the fastest time ever run by a woman in the Tallahassee Marathon. The first master woman was women's runner up Nina Kraft of Braunschweig, Germany, the 2009 Tallahassee Marathon women's champ who finished seventh overall in 2:51:43.

The race started shortly after 7:30am on Sunday, 6 February 2011 from the campus of Florida State University. Vanegas led as the runners headed south and away from the university, but Recker took the lead during the early miles. Recker continued to move away from Vanegas, leading by half a minute at eight miles, 1:49 at the halfway point, and by over two minutes at the 19-mile mark. But Recker faded in the closing miles and Vanegas ate into his lead. Ultimately, Vanegas caught Recker and went on to win by over a minute, 2:28:38 to Recker's 2:29:39. For the fifth straight year, it had taken a sub-2:30 performance to win the Tallahassee Marathon.

Karen Harvey, after successes as an athlete in the middle distances and cross-country at both the collegiate and international levels, had decided to try the marathon. As the race left the Florida State campus, Harvey slipped by Nina Kraft and to the front of the women's field. Harvey would never relinquish that lead. Even though she was fading in the closing miles, Harvey had opened such a wide gap on her competition that she finished nearly two kilometers ahead of the runner-up, Kraft.

The Tallahassee Marathon has seen many course changes over its 37-year history, but seemed to have finally found a home on an out-and-back route that follow the Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Rail Trail. Unfortunately, the St. Marks Trail was scheduled for re-paving and widening in early 2011, and this year's race had yet another new course (USATF #FL10098EBM), one that took the runners east on Tram Road to the Southwood community. 234 marathoners completed the new course, just one more than finished the Tallahassee Marathon in 2010 but more than have ever before finished the race. If all goes well, the race will return to an improved St. Marks Trail in 2012.

Top Ten Men
  1. Esteban Vanegas, 2:28:38
  2. Jerome Recker, 2:29:39
  3. Justin Gillette, 2:30:50
  4. Vince Molosky, 2:43:46
  5. John Robida, 2:43:55
  6. Ryan Kelly, 2:56:55
  7. David Knauf, 2:58:23
  8. Karim Hasnaoui, 2:58:46
  9. Jacinto Fernandez, 2:58:54
  10. Kyle Kugler, 2:58:59

Top Ten Women
  1. Karen Harvey, 2:43:33
  2. Nina Kraft, 2:51:43
  3. Jennie Hansen, 2:54:06
  4. Loni Smith, 3:00:14
  5. Allison Eagen, 3:01:04
  6. Hadley Nyquist, 3:04:30
  7. Carrie Seiberlich, 3:04:38
  8. Amanda Roache, 3:08:00
  9. Melissa Gillette, 3:15:50
  10. Britta Fortson, 3:15:54


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