Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sweet victories for Palmer and Showman at Melon Run

Monticello, Florida celebrated the 61st annual Monticello-Jefferson County Watermelon Festival on Saturday, 18 June 2011. Monticello isn't hard to find; the courthouse is at the junction of US 90 and US 19. However, if you didn't know the way, you could always get there by following the "WATERMELON FOR SALE" signs along the road. Part of the Watermelon Festival was the 33rd annual Melon Run 5K. The course was well marked, but if any of the more than 250 runners didn't know the way they could always get to the finish by following Sammy Palmer. Palmer, a former University of North Florida distance runner (c/o 2010), led practically from start to finish, recording a 16:38 winning time for the 3.1-mile tour of the streets of Monticello. It was the fastest time at the Melon Run since Nathan Haskins ran 16:08 in the 2008 race. Palmer finished the race over 400 meters ahead of runner-up Joel Piotrowski, the top master in the race at 18:13. Cairo, Georgia schoolboy Stephen Robbins took third in 18:37.

2010's winning woman Micah Adriani was back to defend her title, but Katie Showman and Sheryl Rosen were going to have something to say about that. After a kilometer of running the three Tallahassee women were running closely together, with Showman setting the pace. By halfway Adriani had fallen out of contention, and Showman was leading Rosen by a few steps. With 300 meters to go Showman had opened a nine-second gap over Rosen, with a monster uphill to the finish line left to run. Showman maintained her lead on the climb, though, beating Rosen 19:28 to 19:36. Adriani was the third woman in at 20:37. On the same final hill, Susan Seibert of Alpharetta, Georgia broke contact with Tallahassee's Paula O'Neill and passed Tallahassee runner Tiffany Barz to take the fourth women's spot in 22:13, finishing as the first woman master. Barz (32nd, 22:18) was the fifth woman in and O'Neill (33rd, 22:21) was the sixth woman and the second woman master.

Top Ten Men, 2011 Monticello Melon Run 5K
  1. 16:38 Sammy Palmer (M, 23) Jacksonville, FL
  2. 18:13 Joel Piotrowski (M, 41) Tallahassee, FL
  3. 18:37 Stephen Robbins (M 14) Cairo, GA
  4. 18:46 Jeff Armstrong (M, 35) Tallahassee, FL
  5. 18:48 Tim Unger (M, 51) Tallahassee, FL
  6. 19:40 Michael Kennett (M, 32) Tallahassee, FL
  7. 19:49 Eric Miller (M 24) Tallahassee, FL
  8. 20:22 Phillip Wilburn (M, 31) Blakely, GA
  9. 20:26 Juan Ordonez (M, 37) Tallahassee, FL
  10. 20:28 Mike Shank (M, 42) Tallahassee, FL

Top Ten Women, 2011 Monticello Melon Run 5K

  1. 19:28 Katie Showman (F, 29) Tallahassee, FL
  2. 19:36 Sheryl Rosen (F, 27) Tallahassee, FL
  3. 20:37 Micah Adriani (F, 31) Tallahassee, FL
  4. 22:13 Susan Seibert (F 46) Alpharetta, GA
  5. 22:18 Tiffany Barz (F, 24) Tallahassee, FL
  6. 22:21 Paula O'Neill (F, 49) Tallahassee, FL
  7. 23:11 Amber Hodor (F, 25) Macon, GA
  8. 23:33 Cora Atkinson (F, 16) Crawfordville, FL
  9. 23:50 Rebecca Lightle (F, 28) Tallahassee, FL
  10. 23:56 Allison Clarke (F, 19) Tallahassee, FL

Known winners of the Monticello Melon Run 5K, 1979-2011

28 June 1980
Gary Slayton (15:28)
Debbie Dickson (19:49)

19 June 1982
Andy Whitener (15:10)
Laura Ledbetter (17:38)

23 June 1984
Gary Slayton (15:37)
Cindy Walker (19:45)
22 June 1985
Felton Wright (16:09)
Barbara Balzer (19:12)
21 June 1986
Bill Crooks (15:55)
Karen MacHarg (18:32)
20 June 1987

25 June 1988
Bill Crooks (15:47)
Karen MacHarg (18:18)
24 June 1989
Jeff Pigg (15:02)
Vikki Saga (19:05)
23 June 1990
Jessie Close (15:20)
Karen MacHarg (18:06)
22 June 1991
Phillip Rowan (15:23)
Vikki Saga (19:34)
20 June 1992
Jessie Close (15:10)
Lynda Nilges (18:35)
26 June 1993
Bill Crooks (16:07)
Sue Kany (19:37)
29 June 1994
Gary Droze (16:13)
Sarah Heeb (18:49)
24 June 1995



27 June 1998
Tommy Kunish (16:33)
Sarah Docter-Williams (17:51)
26 June 1999
Tommy Kunish (16:23)Peggy Simpson (21:05)
17 June 2000
Tim Simpkins (17:08)
Kim Winn (18:32)
16 June 2001
Ryan Deak (16:29)
Sarah Docter-Williams (17:54)
22 June 2002
Doug Gorton (17:54)
Laura Atlee (21:41)
21 June 2003

19 June 2004Tim Unger (17:18)Kate Remillard (20:30)
18 June 2005Jack McDermott (18:31)
Sarah Docter-Williams (18:07)
17 June 2006
Nathan Haskins (17:36)
Loranne Ausley (22:35)
16 June 2007
Nathan Haskins (16:28)
Sarah Docter-Williams (18:50)
21 June 2008
Nathan Haskins (16:08)
Deb Jones (20:16)
20 June 2009
Charlie Johnson (16:54)
Sandy Holt (23:49)
19 June 2010
Gabriel Leitz (18:07)
Micah Adriani (19:59)
18 June 2011
Sammy Palmer (16:38)
Katie Showman (19:28)



  1. Super, Herb! Good pics, the ones where it looks like you're standing on a mountain. I guess to the runners that hill must've felt like a mountain! I can't believe the mule couldn't stay ahead of Sammy Palmer...whoops!
    Thanks for sharing,

  2. Thanks, Judy!

    The trouble with the Mule is that the Monticello Bike Trail is designed so that motor vehicles such as cars, trucks, and Mules can't turn off of US 90 and start driving on the trail. So while the Mule was trying to slowly weave around the barriers, Palmer was catching up and passing the vehicle.

    To Palmer's credit he was very good-natured about it. It certainly slowed him up, but I don't think it cost him a sub-16:00 performance.

    And you will hear people complaining about the "mountain" at the end, but I didn't hear many people remarking on the exceptionally good running weather for mid-June. It may be years before the Melon Run gets another morning that pleasant.


  3. Yes, Sammy was very pleasant in the finish chute, too. Do you know if he runs for the Jacksonville Running Company or if he just happened to be wearing their jersey?

    You're right about the weather, for sure. Like you said, although I didn't hear the usual complaining about the oppressive heat/humidity/sunshine usually present at that race, I didn't hear anybody saying how nice the overcast/decent temp was or anything. Oh well.