The master runner from Perry, Florida didn't need to worry about being rusty, though. At Tallahassee's second annual Allen Beal Memorial 5K on Veterans Day, 12 November 2012, Taylor finished at the front of a field of 115 athletes, recording a 19:12 on a 3.1-mile course through the hills of Myers Park and the downtown area. About 80 meters behind Taylor, Peter Falcone placed second in 19:31, while Chuck Lang and Charlie Lang were third and fourth respectively in 19:43 and 19:56. Kelly Brennan was the fastest woman finisher, placing seventh overall in 21:34. Top woman master honors went to Paula O'Neill, the fifth woman finisher and 23rd runner overall in 24:15.
The race started on South Gadsden Street at East College Avenue, from where the runners quickly descended to Franklin Boulevard--one of the lowest points in town if flooding is any indication. After that, the race climbed into the Myers Park neighborhood, making it all the way up to the Old Fort, built on high ground during a fit of Civil War anxiety. Heading up Lafayette Street, less than 800 meters into the race, James Taylor found himself in the lead.
"I was wondering where all the runners were," Taylor said after the race.
114 runners were behind him, with the closest, Peter Falcone, already 40 meters back. Taylor maintained that margin over Falcone through the streets of Myers Park, then widened the gap on the climb to the finish line on Gadsden Street at Park Avenue.
There was more of a battle for the women's title. Kelly Brennan and Lindsey Pfau turned off of Lafayette into the Myers Park area racing side by side, leaving the rest of the women's field well behind. Neither could gain an advantage over the other, though, until the four-kilometer mark, just before leaving Myers Park, where Brennan opened a gap. From there, Brennan raced home, building up a lead of more than 100 meters and defeating Pfau 21:34 to 22:06. Shannon Colavecchio moved up through the field to take the third woman's spot in 23:36. At 24:05, Swift Creek Middle School cross-country runner Arianna Neely was the fourth female finisher. In a duel of master runners, Paula O'Neill outran Fran McLean 24:15 to 24:46 for the fifth female position.
Part of Tallahassee's VetFest, the annual race was first held in 2011 as the Tallahassee Veterans Day 5K. It was renamed this year in honor of the late Allen Beal, retired United States Army first sergeant and VetFest's first parade Grand Marshall in 2010. The race course also changed slightly from the first year, but no one reported that there were any fewer hills. Whatever changes are in store for the third year of the race, you can count on the date of the event--Veterans Day 2013.
Top Ten Men, 2012 Allen Beal Memorial 5K
- 19:12 ~ James Taylor (M, 48)
- 19:31 ~ Peter Falcone (M, 20)
- 19:43 ~ Chuck Lang (M, 47)
- 19:56 ~ Charlie Lang (M, 14)
- 20:03 ~ Stephen Veliz, II (M, 13)
- 20:26 ~ David Cox (M, 54)
- 21:46 ~ Kevin Powells (M, 47)
- 21:51 ~ Franz Roeder (M, 13)
- 21:58 ~ Sam Littlefield (M, 36)
- 22:03 ~ Ryan Hovatter (M, 30)
Top Ten Women, 2012 Allen Beal Memorial 5K
- 21:34 ~ Kelly Brennan (F, 23)
- 22:06 ~ Lindsey Pfau (F, 23)
- 23:36 ~ Shannon Colavecchio (F, 35)
- 24:05 ~ Arianna Neely (F, 12)
- 24:15 ~ Paula O'Neill (F, 51)
- 24:46 ~ Fran McLean (F, 55)
- 25:08 ~ Sharon Rudd (F, 33)
- 25:57 ~ Birgit Maier-Katkin (F, 50)
- 26:04 ~ Emily Fox (F, 22)
- 26:30 ~ Stefanie Walters (F, 33)
- Complete results of the 2012 Tallahassee Veteran's Day 5K at gulfwinds.org
- More photos of the 2012 Tallahassee Veteran's Day 5K
- Sondra Lee's photos of the 2012 Tallahassee Veteran's Day 5K
- 2011 story, "Veterans Day victories for Smyth and Holt"
- Find an upcoming 5K or other length of race in the Tallahassee region