Usually the Apalachee Regional Park Trail is the venue for a scholastic cross-country meet, whether at the middle school, high school, or collegiate level. At the Tannenbaum 6K, it was just a bunch of people who love to run assembling on the starting line, nearly 200 of them. Sure, there were some cross-country team members there, but they weren't competing in their school colors. The race started soon after 9:00AM. After half a kilometer a lead group of five runners was pacing the field--Vince Molosky, Chris Lake, Stephen Cox, Wakulla High's Stanley Linton, and Carolina Upstate cross-country runner Riley Doherty. Shortly after the end of the first kilometer (3:13) the leaders dropped Doherty and the lead group was down to four. Molosky was the next to go, and there were three runners fighting for the lead at two kilometers (6:28). Winding through the jungle on the third kilometer, Maclay School coach Cox pushed the pace and lost Linton. Cox couldn't shake off Lake, though, and at the Wall, the steep rise before the runners left the woods to return to the starting field, Lake burst ahead and took command of the race for good. Lake hit the halfway mark in the lead with a 9:47 split, then ran home alone to a 19:49 win. Cox clung to second, finishing runner-up in 20:21. Charlie Johnson had stalked the lead pack throughout the race, picking off Doherty, Molosky, and Linton as they fell off the pace, ultimately finishing third in 20:29. Linton was fourth in 20:35, and Molosky fifth in 20:55. Behind Mike Nesius (6th, 21:01), Gary Droze was first master, placing seventh overall in 21:16.
Tallahassee's Katie Showman grabbed the women's lead early in the race and was never seriously challenged, going on to finish 29th overall in 25:33 as the first female. Kate Chunka of Tallahassee trailed Showman in second for the first four kilometers, but on the second loop Thomasville (Georgia) master runner Mary Anne Grayson picked off Chunka to take the women's runner-up spot, placing 42nd overall in 26:46. Chunka (45th, 27:08) was the third woman in, and Tallahassee's Sandy Holt (49th, 27:46) was the fourth woman finisher.
More than a few area athletes liked the idea of a mid-December race; 173 finished the Tannenbaum Trail 6K. Each finisher received a pair of lightweight running gloves, a change from the usual T-shirt. Overall and age-group winners were awarded a poinsettia plant.
Leon County's Apalachee Regional Park Trail was in its third year in 2011, but there were still many people who hadn't heard of the trail, and even more who hadn't run on it. December seemed like a good time to have a race to showcase the trail, the only dedicated cross-country running facility in the area. In December the weather is great for distance running, the trail is still well-groomed from cross-country season, and there aren't that many races on the calendar. Nationwide, there are probably hundreds of December holiday runs, but unlike the November crop they aren't all named "Turkey Trot." There are loads of Jingle Bell Jogs, Reindeer Runs, and Santa Strolls of various lengths. There's even a "12 'K's of Christmas," which I wish I'd thought of first. But if there's already a Tannenbaum Run or even a Tannenbaum Trail Run, I'm willing to wager that there's not a Tannenbaum 6K.
Not that six kilometers is an entirely unheard of distance, even if it is somewhat unusual. The women's championship distance in NCAA cross-country competition is six kilometers. Internationally, the junior (19 and under) women compete at 6K in the world cross-country championships. Tallahassee itself has already had 6K races on the road at the Flash 12K and cross-country at the Run Wild 6K.
Top Ten Men, 2011 Tannenbaum Trail 6K
- 19:48.62 ~ Chris Lake (M, 24) Tallahassee, FL
- 20:20.84 ~ Stephen Cox (M, 28) Tallahassee, FL
- 20:28.56 ~ Charlie Johnson (M, 32) Tallahassee, FL
- 20:34.17 ~ Stanley Linton (M, 17) Crawfordville, FL
- 20:54.66 ~ Vince Molosky (M, 32) Tallahassee, FL
- 21:00.38 ~ Mike Nesius (M, 26) Tallahassee, FL
- 21:15.36 ~ Gary Droze (M, 50) Tallahassee, FL
- 21:23.45 ~ Riley Doherty (M, 19) Tallahassee, FL
- 21:40.48 ~ Bryan Koon (M, 39) Tallahassee, FL
- 21:49.20 ~ Roger Schmidt (M, 20) Tallahassee, FL
Top Ten Women, 2011 Tannenbaum Trail 6K
- 25:32.47 ~ Katie Showman (F, 30) Tallahassee, FL
- 26:45.98 ~ Mary Anne Grayson (F, 45) Thomasville, GA
- 27:07.78 ~ Kate Chunka (F, 28) Tallahassee, FL
- 27:45.92 ~ Sandy Holt (F, 26) Tallahassee, FL
- 27:53.45 ~ Micah Adriani (F, 34) Tallahassee, FL
- 27:54.45 ~ Sheryl Rosen (F, 27) Tallahassee, FL
- 28:22.52 ~ Kirsti Satterstrom (F, 27) Tallahassee, FL
- 29:09.66 ~ Lisa Rutledge (F, 50) Tallahassee, FL
- 29:09.84 ~ Paula O'Neill (F, 50) Tallahassee, FL
- 30:33.92 ~ Kirsten Hawkins (F, 29) Tallahassee, FL
- Complete results of the Gulf Winds Track Club's 2011 Tannenbaum 6K at gulfwinds.org
- More photos of the Gulf Winds Track Club's 2011 Tannenbaum 6K (Part 1)
- More photos of the Gulf Winds Track Club's 2011 Tannenbaum 6K (Part 2)
- Fred Deckert's photos of the Gulf Winds Track Club's 2011 Tannenbaum 6K
- Cole Tessier's photos of the Gulf Winds Track Club's 2011 Tannenbaum 6K
- Jason Hand's photos of the Gulf Winds Track Club's 2011 Tannenbaum 6K
- John Kalin's video of the Gulf Winds Track Club's 2011 Tannenbaum 6K
- John Kalin's map of the 2011 Tannenbaum 6K course at tallahasseetrails.com
- If there are any more holiday-themed races left, they'll be on the Trouble Afoot! calendar