Sunday, December 11, 2011

Testing limits at the 2011 Tallahassee Ultra-Distance Classic

When the number of daylight hours is almost at a minimum in Tallahassee, it's time for the Tallahassee Ultra-Distance Classic. You'd think that you'd want more sunlit hours in which to run either event at the Classic, the 50-kilometer (31 miles) or the 50-mile. But you'd also want cool December temperatures. Besides, the Classic has always been run in December going back to 1980. The Classic has also always taken place in Wakulla Springs State Park, although the current ten-kilometer loop where the athletes log their distance has only been used since 2010.


The 2011 Classic started in Wakulla Springs at 7:00AM last Saturday, Dec. 10. In the 50K, Florida State University student Dan Mosier jumped out into the lead. 50K is almost five miles longer than a marathon, though, and early race exbuberance will only get you so far. Mosier was overtaken by Pete Kaplan, a master runner from Charlotte, North Carolina. Kaplan built up an enormous lead, winning the 50K in 3:39:47, almost half an hour before the next runner finished. Mosier was runner-up in 4:07:38, just ahead of a closing Andy Roberts (4:08:05). St. Petersburg master runner Kristine Cox was the first woman finisher, placing fourth overall in 4:14:19.


A couple of hours later the first of the 50-milers were crossing the finish line. 2007 champion, master runner Jack McDermott of Tallahassee's Gulf Winds Track Club, ran his third and fastest Classic 50 mile. Unfortunately for McDermott, Jacksonville ultra-marathoner Sung Ho Choi ran even faster. Making it look deceptively easy, Choi won the 50-mile race in 6:18:45, with McDermott just over a mile back in 6:27:24. Choi averaged 7:35 a mile, or the same pace as a 23:32 5K. Of course, 50 miles is 16 back-to-back 5K runs. As far as 50 miles is, though, seven days earlier Choi had won a 100-mile race, the Ancient Oaks Endurance Run in Titusville, Florida. Jacksonville's Amy Costa followed McDermott across the line in third place at 7:39:09, the first woman and the first woman master.


Most of the Tallahassee Ultra-Distance Classic's 10K lap is on a four-kilometer stretch of Wakulla Springs Road (aka State Road 61). Under ordinary conditions, it's not a heavily traveled highway, but what traffic it gets is often in a hurry. This was evidenced on the morning of the classic by a bloody streak on the pavement where a white-tail deer had died in a collision. The Toyota that hit it hadn't done much better; it was still parked along the road waiting for a tow. But during the Classic that short stretch of highway is barricaded off. It belongs to the runners then. There are no sounds of racing engines or squealing breaks. There are birdcalls and the occasional report of an 80-caliber acorn dropping onto the pavement. There are also the sounds of runners. From hundreds of feet away you can hear the murmurs of conversation from small groups of ultra-runners. Closer, you can hear the footfalls of individual athletes (or the scrape of the shuffling gait of the exhausted). As they pass you, you can hear their breathing, and know from its volume who is having a good day and who is having a bad one. Soon they go by, taking the sound of their passage with them. All you can hear then is the wind in the trees. The cars are back on Wakulla Springs Road now. Pedestrians and wildlife should beware. But the runners will be back again next December.


50 Kilometer
  1. 3:39:47 ~ Pete Kaplan (M, 55) Charlotte, NC
  2. 4:07:38 ~ Dan Mosier (M, 21) Tallahassee, FL
  3. 4:08:05 ~ Andy Roberts (M, 44) Tallahassee, FL
  4. 4:14:19 ~ Kristien Cox (F, 46) St. Petersburg, FL
  5. 4:16:03 ~ Joseph Burgasser (M, 73) St. Petersburg, FL
  6. 4:27:30 ~ Kathryn Schubert (F, 27) Gainesville, FL
  7. 4:27:54 ~ Eric Scott (M, 47) Tallahassee, FL
  8. 4:32:53 ~ Maria Anderson (F, 56) Tampa, FL
  9. 4:44:11 ~ Dana Stetson (M, 55) Tallahassee, FL
  10. 4:44:54 ~ Matt Minno (M, 52) Tallahassee, FL
  11. 4:44:55 ~ Bill Hillison (M, 67) Tallahassee, FL
  12. 4:47:50* ~ Micah Thorning (M, 33) Tallahassee, FL
  13. 4:47:59 ~ Janice Anderson (F, 45) Marietta, GA
  14. 4:48:25 ~ Juli Aistars (F, 53) Lake Zurich, IL
  15. 4:49:03 ~ Mark Marsiglio (M, 37) Tallahassee, FL
  16. 4:51:58 ~ Judy Alexander (F, 50) Tallahassee, FL
  17. 4:52:23* ~ Robin McKinstry (F, 40) Jacksonville, FL
  18. 4:55:18 ~ Daniel McKeague (M, 27) Tallahassee, FL
  19. 5:04:25* ~ Jeff Bryan (M, 44) Tallahassee, FL
  20. 5:05:36 ~ Kelsey Kilinski (F, 25) St. Marks, FL
  21. 5:06:22 ~ Gary Cato (M, 55) Bainbridge, FL
  22. 5:10:16 ~ Pat Judd (M, 61) Pensacola, FL
  23. 5:12:59 ~ Matthew Rack (M, 35) Hixson, TN
  24. 5:16:55 ~ Stephanie James (F, 37) Montgomery, AL
  25. 5:18:22 ~ Edwin Lundy (M, 39) Madison, FL
  26. 5:19:29 ~ Bess Anderson (F, 56) Tampa, FL
  27. 5:19:30 ~ Bill Hoffman (M, 56) Tampa, FL
  28. 5:23:59 ~ Susan Kelly (F, 60) Tallahassee, FL
  29. 5:25:21 ~ Mary Scott (F, 33) Jacksonville, FL
  30. 5:33:55 ~ Kyle Pease (M, 26) Atlanta, GA
  31. 5:33:55 ~ Brent Pease (M, 28) Atlanta, GA
  32. 5:34:44 ~ Galen Garrison (M, 47) St. Petersburg, FL
  33. 5:37:50 ~ Erin Keefer (F, 29) Chapel Hill, NC
  34. 5:40:11 ~ Kristina Peeples (F, 41) Crawfordville, FL
  35. 5:42:47 ~ Leigh Ceci (F, 47) Tallahassee, FL
  36. 5:42:47 ~ Beth Miller (F, 47) Mobile, AL
  37. 5:46:00 ~ Ithel Jones (M, 57) Tallahassee, FL
  38. 5:46:04 ~ Hillary Goode (F, 29) Crawfordville, FL
  39. 5:47:46 ~ Dale Pearson (M, 48) Crawfordville, FL
  40. 5:49:19 ~ Carey Shepherd (M, 44) Tallahassee, FL
  41. 5:57:07 ~ Jared Nelson (M, 28) Holt, FL
  42. 5:57:18 ~ Kristi Matherne (F, 29) Fleming Island, FL
  43. 5:57:20 ~ Maria Littlejohn (F, 40) Fleming Island, FL
  44. 6:01:28 ~ Donald Fialka (M, 70) Venice, FL
  45. 6:04:30 ~ Carlos Zapata (M, 66) Tallahassee, FL
  46. 6:06:06* ~ Richard Czekalski (M, 48) Tamarac, FL
  47. 6:06:11* ~ Sergio Radovic (M, 37) Delray Beach, FL
  48. 6:09:22 ~ Susan Haag (F, 45) Jacksonville, FL
  49. 6:09:22 ~ Rick Shields (M, 54) Alachua, FL
  50. 6:10:03 ~ Leisa Eastman (F, 32) Tallahassee, FL
  51. 6:10:06* ~ Christine Lamia (F, 49) Tallahassee, FL
  52. 6:22:34 ~ Jeffrey Vieyra (M, 64) Lafayette, CA
  53. 6:28:16 ~ Scott Blaser (M, 49) Oviedo, FL
  54. 6:31:03 ~ Michelle Black (F, 39) Duluth, GA
  55. 6:33:20 ~ Kathleen Wheeler (F, 50) St. Petersburg, FL
  56. 6:36:03 ~ James Betts (M, 66) Atlanta, GA
  57. 6:39:36 ~ Gordy Hawkins (M, 62) Madeira Beach, FL
  58. 6:43:51 ~ Jim Emig (M, 65) Roswell, GA
  59. 6:47:17* ~ Becky Sandrik (F, 30) Oakland, FL
  60. 6:51:50 ~ Nick Mazza (M, 63) Tallahassee, FL
  61. 7:02:54 ~ Frank Dempsey (M, 47) Land O Lakes, FL
  62. 7:04:22 ~ Dan Molnar (M, 53) Vine Grove, KY
  63. 7:25:07 ~ Jennifer Knight (F, 34) Orlando, FL
  64. 7:35:19 ~ Dan Bowser (M, 70) Summerville, PA
  65. 8:02:21 ~ Vicki Sue Merry (F, 54) Cantonment, FL
  66. 8:02:22 ~ Melody Hughes (F, 48) DeFuniak Springs, FL

50 Mile
  1. 6:18:45 ~ Sung Ho Choi (M, 35) Jacksonville, FL
  2. 6:27:24 ~ Jack McDermott (M, 42) Tallahassee, FL
  3. 7:39:09 ~ Amy Costa (F, 47) Jacksonville, FL
  4. 7:50:09 ~ Keith Gates (M, 30) Tallahassee, FL
  5. 8:04:09 ~ Mark Kreuzer (M, 42) Dallas, TX
  6. 8:06:04 ~ Stephanie Stout (F, 27) Tallahassee, FL
  7. 8:06:49 ~ Jessica Rosario (F, 33) Jacksonville, FL
  8. 8:39:09 ~ Christienne Coutts (F, 40) Tallahassee, FL
  9. 8:51:21 ~ Joe Edgecombe (M, 52) Panama City, FL
  10. 9:15:38 ~ Elizabeth Stupi (F, 27) Tallahassee, FL
  11. 9:25:03 ~ Ellen Comeaux (F, 33) Alpharetta, GA
  12. 9:26:41 ~ Birgit Maier- Katkin (F, 49) Tallahassee, FL
  13. 9:29:29 ~ Christine Richardville (F, 27) Jacksonville, FL
  14. 9:29:30 ~ Steve Hendricks (M, 52) Newnan, GA
  15. 9:30:19 ~ Sandra Canada (F, 49) Woodville, FL
  16. 9:46:49 ~ Diane Seale (F, 55) Milton, GA
  17. 10:21:05 ~ Duane McKee (M, 44) Gainesville, FL

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