Saturday, June 16, 2012

Cox and Gutierrez grab the biggest slices at Monticello's 34th Melon Run

Stephen CoxBelow the old Jefferson County High School in Monticello, an anonymous tributary stream of Wards Creek flows under the south end of Water Street. It's a peaceful spot, shaded by trees and shrouded by vines. Birds call and frogs croak. They weren't disturbed a bit by Stephen Cox, who ran by them quietly on Saturday morning, 16 June 2012. But he was only the first of nearly 400 runners who passed by that morning on their way to the finish line of the 34th annual Monticello Kiwanis Club's Melon Run 5K. By the time the last runner labored by, the birds and frogs were probably thinking about a new home. It wasn't the favorite spot on the 3.1-mile course for the runners, either. Sure, it's only 400 meters from the end of the race. But it's also the lowest spot on the course, about 45 feet lower than the finish line.

Stanley Linton and Vince MoloskyThe race started on West Washington Street, also known as US 90. Vince Molosky set the early pace, and 800 meters into the run he was five seconds ahead of the next runner, Stanley Linton. Stephen Cox and Nate Kaiser trailed by another five seconds. But after the second kilometer, Molosky missed a turn and Linton followed him. By the time the two strays had returned to the course they had lost the lead. Stephen Cox broke away from Nate Kaiser and by three kilometers Cox was out in front by himself. Over the last two kilometers Cox steadily widened the gap, ultimately winning the race by over 100 meters in 16:28. Kaiser finished the race in the runner-up spot with a 16:56. Molosky and Linton reached the bottom of Water Street together, but Linton was tougher on the final uphill and took third over Molosky, 17:04 to 17:10. Maclay School track coach Gary Droze was the first master runner in the race, finishing fifth in 17:18.

Seeley GutierrezKatie Showman, the Melon Run's defending women's champion, was on the starting line that morning, as was the 2010 Melon Run women's champ, Micah Adriani. But it was Tallahassee triathlete Seeley Lovett who led the women from the start, getting 12 seconds ahead of Showman in the first 800 meters. Adriani was another nine seconds behind Showman. Lovett didn't let up, leaving her rivals farther and farther behind as the race progressed. She won the race in 18:59, the fastest time for a woman at the Melon Run since 2007. Showman reached the base of the final hill a few steps ahead of Adriani, but the finish line was still 400m away. Over that final 400m Adriani overtook Showman and then pulled away to take the second women's spot, 19:42 to 19:53. For the third year in a row, Susan Seibert of Alpharetta, Georgia was the fastest woman master in the Melon Run. This time around, Seibert ran 21:53 and finished 47th overall, the seventh woman in the race.

There are other Melon Runs around the state and around the country. Even Gainesville has one. But this is the one and only Monticello Kiwanis Melon Run, part of the Monticello-Jefferson Country Watermelon Festival. Accept no substitutes.

Top Ten Men, 34th annual Melon Run 5K
  1. Nate Kaiser16:28 ~ Stephen Cox (M, 28) Tallahassee, FL
  2. 16:56 ~ Nate Kaiser (M, 32) Tallahassee, FL
  3. 17:04 ~ Stanley Linton (M, 18) Crawfordville, FL
  4. 17:10 ~ Vince Molosky (M, 32) Tallahassee, FL
  5. 17:18 ~ Gary Droze (M, 51) Tallahassee, FL
  6. 17:34 ~ Peter Kaus (M, 28) Tallahassee, FL
  7. 17:41 ~ Jay Wallace (M, 47) Tallahassee, FL
  8. 18:15 ~ Sean Hudson (M, 41) Tallahassee, FL
  9. 18:18 ~ Michael Martinez (M, 46) Tallahassee, FL
  10. 18:41 ~ Brian Molen (M, 36) Tallahassee, FL

Top Ten Women, 34th annual Melon Run 5K
  1. Ashley Daily18:59 ~ Seeley Gutierrez (F, 35) Tallahassee, FL
  2. 19:42 ~ Micah Adriani (F, 34) Tallahassee, FL
  3. 19:53 ~ Katie Showman (F, 30) Tallahassee, FL
  4. 20:09 ~ Kelly Stevens (F, 30) Tallahassee, FL
  5. 21:21 ~ Kristine Cox (F, 34) Tallahassee, FL
  6. 21:50 ~ Ashley Daily (F, 25) Tallahassee, FL
  7. 21:53 ~ Susan Seibert (F, 47) Alpharetta, GA
  8. 21:57 ~ Tiffany Roddenberry (F, 27) Tallahassee, FL
  9. 22:16 ~ Molly Rodriguez (F, 37) Thomasville, GA
  10. 22:30 ~ Nancy Stedman (F, 50) Tallahassee, FL

Known winners of the Monticello Melon Run 5K, 1979-2012

28 June 198015:28, Gary Slayton19:49, Debbie Dickson

19 June 198215:10, Andy Whitener17:38, Laura Ledbetter

23 June 198415:37, Gary Slayton19:45, Cindy Walker
22 June 198516:09, Felton Wright19:12, Barbara Balzer
21 June 198615:55, Bill Crooks18:32, Karen MacHarg
20 June 1987

25 June 198815:47, Bill Crooks18:18, Karen MacHarg
24 June 198915:02, Jeff Pigg19:05, Vikki Saga
23 June 199015:20, Jessie Close18:06, Karen MacHarg
22 June 199115:23, Phillip Rowan19:34, Vikki Saga
20 June 199215:10, Jessie Close18:35, Lynda Nilges
26 June 199316:07, Bill Crooks19:37, Sue Kany
29 June 199416:13, Gary Droze18:49, Sarah Heeb
24 June 199514:57, John Charlton19:54, Sissi Carroll
22 June 1996

28 June 1997

27 June 199816:33, Tommy Kunish17:51, Sarah Docter-Williams
26 June 199916:23, Tommy Kunish21:05, Peggy Simpson
17 June 200017:08, Tim Simpkins18:32, Kim Winn
16 June 200116:29, Ryan Deak17:54, Sarah Docter-Williams
22 June 200217:54, Doug Gorton21:41, Laura Atlee
21 June 2003

19 June 200417:18, Tim Unger20:30, Kate Remillard
18 June 200518:31, Jack McDermott18:07, Sarah Docter-Williams
17 June 200617:36, Nathan Haskins22:35, Loranne Ausley
16 June 200716:28, Nathan Haskins18:50, Sarah Docter-Williams
21 June 200816:08, Nathan Haskins20:16, Deb Jones
20 June 200916:54, Charlie Johnson23:49, Sandy Holt
19 June 201018:07, Gabriel Leitz19:59, Micah Adriani
18 June 201116:38, Sammy Palmer19:28, Katie Showman
16 June 201216:28, Stephen Cox18:59, Seeley Gutierrez



  1. Thanks! It was another good morning for a run. We have so many of them....


  2. I enjoyed this writeup, Herb. There is no finer treat than fresh watermelon at the end of this race!

  3. Thanks! Glad you enjoyed reading!

    Runners in the region will get a chance to savor more post-race watermelon at the Hot Trot 5K in Chipley next Saturday, 23 June 2012. Coincidentally, just like the recent Monticello Melon Run, the Hot Trot will also be a 34th annual race. It's run in conjunction with the Panhandle Watermelon Festival--but you may be holding out for the State Watermelon Festival, or perhaps even the World Watermelon Festival. ;-)