Saturday, July 23, 2011

Droze & Droze rack up Moose 5K wins in Quincy

HillFlorida has the reputation of being flat. It's probably the fault of all the tourist advertising that features photos of white sand beaches, beautiful but innocent of any topographical variation. So runners from out-of-state will regale you with tales of their own hill running, then pause, smile pityingly, and remark, "But of course, you guys don't have any hills do you?" This is especially annoying when the speaker is from Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, or some other region that isn't exactly famed for its mountains.

Gary DrozeNaturally, the first thing you want to do is invite the offender on a run on Old Centerville Road, or some other road through the Red Hills. Or get them to enter one of notoriously hilly races in the Tallahassee area, like the Gulf Wind Track Club 30K, the Springtime 10K, or the Pine Run at Tall Timbers.

Or the Run With The Moose 5K in Quincy.

Only 22 athletes finished the first Run With The Moose in 2010, not many to carry reports home about the course. But as the date of the 2011 race approached, rumors started to fly. "I hear it's hilly." "Is it as hilly as they say it is?" "The course is long." "There's supposed to be a really long climb to the finish."

Vicky DrozeAbout ninety athletes ignored the whispers and showed up for the race on Saturday morning, 23 July 2011. From the starting line on North Shelfer Street, you could see that the first few hundred meters of the race were going to plunge down a slope--a plunge that ended at the foot of a steep climb. So when the starter sent the field loose, everyone had an idea what they were in for, whether or not they had toured the course before the race.

Stephen RobbinsMaclay School cross-country and track coach Gary Droze led the runners off the starting line, but Seth Venable moved to the front during the first kilometer. On the second kilometer, Droze regained the first spot for good, and cruised to a 17:57 victory. Droze was also the first master runner across the finish line. Cairo's Stephen Robbins overtook Venable to finish second in 19:36, while Venable took third in 20:40.

Sandra CanadaVicky Droze of Tallahassee was never challenged for the lead in the women's competition, placing ninth overall in 24:05 to finish as the first woman, over 300 meters ahead of the runner up. Behind Droze, Sandra Canada of Woodville moved up through the field, ultimately passing Jillian Heddaeus of Tallahassee to move into the second women's position. Canada finished the race as the second woman in and the first woman master, twelfth overall in 25:42. At 26:27 and 15th overall, Heddaeus was third among the women.

Seth Venable87 athletes finished the race, a fundraiser for Special Olympics of Gadsden County hosted by Moose Lodge #2672. After the race there was still some talk about the course being long ("3.24 miles." "Six kilometers!"), but my own informal measurement showed that the run was only about thirty meters off of five kilometers. Without a certified course, though, people are always going to speculate about the actual length of the event, especially when runners have times that are slower than they might like. If the times were a bit off at the Run With The Moose, though, you can attribute that to the summer heat and the challenging hills. You can always wait till the cool days of November and find a level or downhill 5K, but most runners take pride in testing themselves on the slopes in July. Well, most runners.

Jillian Heddaeus"If we can do anything next year to make it better," declared the announcer at the awards ceremony, "please let us know!"

"Iron it out!" called someone from the back of the room.

Like I said, most runners.

Top Ten Men, second annual Run With The Moose 5K
  1. Doug McMurray17:57 Gary Droze (M, 50) Tallahassee, FL
  2. 19:36 Stephen Robbins (M, 14) Cairo, GA
  3. 20:40 Seth Venable (M, 16)
  4. 22:04 Doug McMurray (M, 46) Tallahassee, FL
  5. 22:29 Dave Hoock (M, 55)
  6. 22:37 Matthew Vickory (M, 20) Tallahassee, FL
  7. 23:21 Gary Johnston (M, 36) Tallahassee, FL
  8. 23:46 David Anderson (M, 61) Tallahassee, FL
  9. 24:14 Scott McAnally (M, 47) Tallahassee, FL
  10. 24:34 Mike Culligan (M, 37) Tallahassee, FL

Top Ten Women, second annual Run With The Moose 5K
  1. Ruthie McCormick24:05 Vicky Droze (F, 36) Tallahassee, FL
  2. 25:42 Sandra Canada (F, 48) Woodville, FL
  3. 26:27 Jillian Heddaeus (F, 28) Tallahassee, FL
  4. 27:26 Ruthie McCormick (F, 35) Tallahassee, FL
  5. 27:45 Meaghan Pickles (F, 29) Havana, FL
  6. 28:00 Carson Durrance (F,40) Tallahassee, FL
  7. 29:44 Jessica Wynn (F, 32) Bainbridge, GA
  8. 30:37 Birgit Maier-Katkin (F, 48) Tallahassee, FL
  9. 31:02 Kelly Torres (F, 32) Tallahassee, FL
  10. 31:37 Lily Henkel (F, 15) Tallahassee, FL