Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lake grabs his second Palace win, Zeiler her first

Chris Lake powered up the Jackson Bluff Road hill, shedding his pursuers and going on to win his second straight title at Tallahassee's 37th annual Palace Saloon 5K on Saturday morning, 16 April 2011. Lake covered the course in 15:48, becoming the first to win back-to-back men's titles in the race since Gary Droze in 1996 and 1997. While Lake was racing to victory, former Southeast Missouri Redhawk distance runner Lindsay Zeiler was putting together a strong last mile to win the Palace Saloon 5K women's championship in 18:24.

The race started from Tallahassee Community College, marking the first time since 1975 that the Palace Saloon 5K didn't start from Messer Park. Early in the morning it looked like the race might not start at all, as powerful electrical storms accompanied by a tornado watch swept through Tallahassee. But the rain had stopped by 7:00 am, and much of the cloud cover had drifted away by 7:30. When the starting siren sounded after 8:00, the storms were just a bad memory.

Lake led early, closely followed up Appleyard Drive by Marc Akbar, Tripp Southerland, and Ryan Sloan. Sloan had fallen off the pace by the end of the third kilometer, but Akbar and Southerland were still in striking range of Lake. But the end of the fourth kilometer is marked by a long climb on Jackson Bluff Road, and Lake was too strong on the uphill for Akbar and Southerland. From the crest of the hill you can see the Palace Saloon and the finish line, and Lake cruised downhill to victory in 15:48. Akbar beat out Southerland for the runner-up spot, 15:57 to 16:03, while Nate Kaiser (16:18) overtook Ryan Sloan (16:22) for fourth.

Lauren Poulos set the early pace for the women, but two-time Palace champ Lisa Johnson was never far behind--and neither was Lindsay Zeiler. Johnson soon took over the lead, and then Zeiler passed Poulos during the third kilometer to move into second. As with the men's race, Jackson Bluff Road and its hill was where the women's race turned. Zeiler went by Johnson and built up a commanding lead, arriving at the Palace Saloon at 18:24 to take the women's title. Johnson stumbled across the line runner-up in 18:43. Poulos was third, holding off Sheryl Rosen 19:01 to 19:05.

Michael Martinez (17th, 17:51) defeated Tony Guillen (23rd, 18:04) to take the master runner title. The fastest woman master of the morning was Thomasville's Mary Anne Grayson (62nd, 20:17); it was Grayson's third straight master win at the Palace Saloon 5K. After Grayson the next woman master runner was Julie Clark (93rd, 21:38). Grayson and Clark were respectively the ninth and eleventh women to finish the race.

Many of the entries didn't show up Saturday morning, perhaps because of the weather. Still, 1064 runners finished the 2011 Palace Saloon 5K, the third straight year that over 1000 completed the race. Only in 2010 did more runners cross the finish line at the Palace. It was also the largest race in Tallahassee so far in 2011, exceeding both the Springtime 10K (934) and the Springtime 5K (731).

Top Ten Men, 37th annual Palace Saloon 5K
  1. 15:48, Chris Lake (M, 23) Tallahassee, FL
  2. 15:57, Marc Akbar (M, 19) Palm Coast, FL
  3. 16:03, Tripp Southerland (M, 26) Jacksonville Beach, FL
  4. 16:18, Nate Kaiser (M, 31) Tallahassee, FL
  5. 16:22, Ryan Sloan (M, 23) Jacksonville, FL
  6. 16:25, David Thomas (M, 22) Tallahassee, FL
  7. 16:31, Nathan Holden (M, 25) Jacksonville, FL
  8. 16:32, Charlie Johnson (M, 31) Tallahassee, FL
  9. 16:35, Stephen Cox (M, 27) Tallahassee, FL
  10. 16:44, Jacob Slupecki (M, 17) Tallahassee, FL

Top Ten Women, 37th annual Palace Saloon 5K
  1. 18:24, Lindsay Zeiler (F, 26) Tallahassee, FL
  2. 18:43, Lisa Johnson (F, 29) Tallahassee, FL
  3. 19:01, Lauren Poulos (F, 25) Tallahassee, FL
  4. 19:05, Sheryl Rosen (F, 26) Tallahassee, FL
  5. 19:38, Kirsten Hagen (F, 24) Tallahassee, FL
  6. 19:40, Kailand Cosgrove(F, 20) Tarpon Springs, FL
  7. 19:57, Kelly Stevens (F, 29) Tallahassee, FL
  8. 20:08, Micah Adriani (F, 33) Tallahassee, FL
  9. 20:17, Mary Anne Grayson (F, 45) Thomasville, GA
  10. 21:31, Cara Lavier (F, 32) Tallahassee, FL



  1. Great writeup, Herb. We all showed mother nature just what she could do with her lightning bolts and tornadic threats, didn't we?

  2. Did you notice Lauren's time says 19:01 but the pic clearly has her across the line in 18:59? Am I missing something?

  3. Thank you, Paula! And no one had to run into the glare of the rising sun.


  4. Kelsey,

    The display clock is never the official timepiece. At any race I've worked, the display clock is started after the race begins and manually synchronized with the race clock, sometimes less accurately than others. At the Palace in particular, the display clock was more trouble than usual. In some of the pictures it looks like Bill Lott is trying to hold the clock up to keep it from falling down!


  5. Haha, that's awesome, Bill is a good man.