Monday, February 4, 2013

Tallahassee Marathon comes down to the final sprint for Zablocki

Justin Gillette, Mark Chepses, Peter Omae, Chris ZablockiGulf Winds Track Club's 39th annual Tallahassee Marathon was the largest yet in the series, with 308 runners finishing the 26.2-mile race. It was also the most competitive in the history of the race--during the final 300 meters of the marathon, the top three competitors were all on FSU's Mike Long Track at the same time. On the scale of the marathon, that's almost a dead heat.

Ryan Barrow, David Ndungu, John PiggottThe marathon field set out at 7:30 AM on Sunday morning, 3 February 2013, making a one-mile circuit on the FSU campus before heading south on an out-and-back journey that would take them south of Woodville on the Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Rail Trail. Early in the race a group of four athletes broke away from the rest--Peter Omae, Mark Chepses, Chris Zablocki, and Justin Gillette. Gillette--a runner from Goshen, Indiana--was a Tallahassee Marathon veteran, having finished third in the race in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Omae, Chepses, and Zablocki refused to respect his experience, though, and dropped Gillette before the turnaround at the 14-mile mark. After that the three continued to share the lead, reaching the 20-mile mark three abreast. Someone was going to have to make a move eventually. In the end it was Chris Zablocki opening up a gap late in the race. The Essex, Connecticut distance runner grabbed the win in 2:23:23, just ahead of the 2:23:36 put up by Mark Chepses of West Des Moines, Iowa. It was the slimmest of margins in a marathon; the two runners were not only both on the track at the end but on the same straightaway. Newark's Peter Omae was just another 13 seconds behind Chepses in 2:23:49, rounding the final turn as Zablocki crossed the finish line. Justin Gillette held on to the fourth position, running 2:34:05. David Ndungu of Worcester, Massachusetts got away from John Piggott of Williamsburg, Virginia in the closing stages of the marathon to take fifth, 2:42:08 to 2:42:24. Piggot was the top master in the race.

Nina KraftNina Kraft made sure that there was no drama in the women's competition. The Clermont, Florida runner went to the front of the women's field right away and continued to steadily pull away throughout the marathon, placing 12th overall as the first woman and first woman master in 2:52:46. It was Kraft's second win in the Tallahassee Marathon, paired with her earlier championship in the 2009 edition of the race. Kraft also finished runner-up to Karen Harvey in the 2011 Tallahassee Marathon. Behind Kraft in the 2013 race, Beth Woodward of Orrville, Ohio was the second woman finisher, coming in 17th overall in 2:57:38. Savannah, Georgia master runner Sarah Batt was the third woman in the marathon, running 3:06:14 for 26th overall. It was Batt's second trip to Tallahassee in 2013; three weeks earlier she had taken the women's master title at the Gulf Winds Track Club 30K.

Top Ten Males, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2013 Tallahassee Marathon
  1. Stanley Linton2:23:22.21 ~ Chris Zablocki (M, 24) Essex, CT
  2. 2:23:35.44 ~ Mark Chepses (M, 36) West Des Moines, IA
  3. 2:23:48.20 ~ Peter Omae (M, 35) Newark, NJ
  4. 2:34:04.66 ~ Justin Gillette (M, 30) Goshen, IN
  5. 2:42:07.67 ~ David Ndungu (M, 34) Worcester, MA
  6. 2:42:23.17 ~ John Piggott (M, 47) Williamsburg, VA
  7. 2:45:27.04 ~ Stanley Linton (M, 19) Crawfordville, FL
  8. 2:47:52.45 ~ Ryan Barrow (M, 25) Tallahassee, FL
  9. 2:48:27.39 ~ Jotta Pereira Jr. (M, 43) Sao Jose de Campos, BRA
  10. 2:51:01.64 ~ Stephen Benson (M, 45) Excelsior, MN

Top Ten Females, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2013 Tallahassee Marathon
  1. Beth Woodward2:52:45.56 ~ Nina Kraft (F, 44) Clermont, FL
  2. 2:57:37.42 ~ Beth Woodward (F, 37) Orrville, OH
  3. 3:06:13.74 ~ Sarah Batt (F, 48) Savannah, GA
  4. 3:14:27.74 ~ Erin Henderson (F, 35) Afton, WY
  5. 3:15:12.43 ~ Katie Showman (F, 31) Tallahassee, FL
  6. 3:18:24.48 ~ Meghan Mortensen (F, 27) Rotterdam, NY
  7. 3:23:56.23 ~ Jennifer Vogel (F, 31) Jacksonville, FL
  8. 3:26:12.46 ~ Dominique Beaudin (F, 40) Mukwonago, WI
  9. 3:27:43.35 ~ Lauren Diaz (F, 30) Jacksonville Beach, FL
  10. 3:28:18.91 ~ Micah Adriani (F, 35) Tallahassee, FL

Brandon ScottOver 700 entries in the half-marathon started their 13.1-mile race with the marathoners. Michael Wardian and Steve Chu of Eielson led the runners in the shorter event early in the race. After leaving the Florida State campus, though, Chu fell back while Brandon Scott moved up to keep Wardian company on the run south along the trail. After the turnaround, Scott, a student assistant on the coaching staff of the Webber International University track team, took command of the race, building up a lead of close to 400 meters during the return trip. Scott ended the race on the Mike Long Track with a winning time of 73:41. Wardian followed in 75:10, and Steve Chu was third in 76:37. Fourth place went to the first woman finisher, Stefanie Slekis of Capital City Runners. Slekis' time of 78:53 is the fastest ever run by a woman in the Tallahassee Half Marathon. The top master runners in the half marathon were Mickey Moore (11th, 83:46) for the men and Deborah Abrams (37th, 93:47) for the women.

Top Ten Males, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2013 Tallahassee Half Marathon
  1. 1:13:40.43 ~ Brandon Scott (M, 20) Babson Park, FL
  2. 1:15:09.99 ~ Michael Wardian (M, 38) Arlington, VA
  3. 1:16:36.66 ~ Steve Chu (M, 30) Eielson AFB, AK
  4. 1:20:31.79 ~ Matthew Price (M, 31) Panama City Beach, FL
  5. 1:21:02.30 ~ Albert Reed (M, 20) Carson City, NV
  6. 1:21:41.22 ~ Justin Perkins (M, 22) Auburndale, FL
  7. 1:22:23.93 ~ Grady Smith (M, 36) Tallahassee, FL
  8. 1:22:24.02 ~ John Robida (M, 32) Tampa, FL
  9. 1:22:27.14 ~ Don Autore (M, 37) Tallahassee, FL
  10. 1:23:45.80 ~ Mickey Moore (M, 42) Tallahassee, FL

Top Ten Females, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2013 Tallahassee Half Marathon
  1. 1:18:52.90 ~ Stefanie Slekis (F, 24) Tallahassee, FL
  2. 1:24:53.95 ~ Lydia Utley (F, 31)
  3. 1:29:15.80 ~ Melissa Thompson (F, 28) Thomasville, GA
  4. 1:30:05.79 ~ Adriana Piekarewicz (F, 24) Tallahassee, FL
  5. 1:31:11.47 ~ Jennifer Kilinski (F, 34) Tallahassee, FL
  6. 1:31:16.55 ~ Elisha Boggs (F, 36) Tallahassee, FL
  7. 1:32:34.30 ~ Marci Gray (F, 38) Tallahassee, FL
  8. 1:33:46.73 ~ Deborah Abrams (F, 43) Clermont, FL
  9. 1:35:11.53 ~ Mary Anne Grayson (F, 47) Thomasville, GA
  10. 1:35:25.30 ~ Karen Geletko (F, 33) Tallahassee, FL



  1. Nice report. Local Thomasville gal/doctor Grayson - impressive time in the half.
    The marathon finish would've been fun to see.

  2. Herb, love the report but have to quibble about the date of the event. I believe it was on February 3rd. :-)