Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sullivan and Liles-Weyant master the Magnolia Trail

Kevin SullivanAround midsummer the Magnolia Trail in Tallahassee's Tom Brown Park is shrouded in lush vegetation. The air is perfumed with ripening muscadines and kudzu blossoms. Magnolia may have the scent of a lady, but she's a tough broad. Perched along the south slopes of the Lake Lafayette basin, the narrow trail is all up and down and up and down. Tree roots lurk on the treadway to trip the unwary. More than a hundred athletes got to experience Magnolia's spite firsthand on Saturday morning, 27 July 2013, at the third race of the Gulf Winds Track Club's Summer Trail Series, the Magnolia Trail 3.5-Mile Run.

Race director Bobby York sent the 117 competitors on their way about 8:10 AM. Racing through Tom Brown Park along the paved Goose Pond Trail, after a quarter mile the runners funneled into the woods on the Magnolia Trail. Most of the trail is only wide enough for a single runner, making it almost a continuous no-passing zone. Charn McAllister, the first runner to reach then Magnolia trail, was well aware of this.

Charn McAllister"I knew the course well enough to know all the places you can pass," said McAllister.

Using that knowledge, McAllister was able to accelerate on the wide spots on the course, holding off challengers and maintaining the lead for over three miles. But with a mile to go, while McAllister continued to set the pace, four-time Canadian Olympian Kevin Sullivan had moved into second place. Sullivan had won the first two of the four races in the trail series, and was aiming for win number three. A quarter mile from the finish line, the course widened as the runners crossed the Goose Pond Trail. Sullivan struck.
Doug Bell

"He was like a bullet," said McAllister.

Sullivan charged home, winning the race in 21:44. McAllister held off a late-race challenge by Bryce Van Dam to take second, 21:55 to 21:56. Zach DeVeau was fourth in 22:17. Doug Bell was the fastest master runner in the field, finishing fifth in 22:35.

Stephanie Liles-WeyantTallahassee master runner Stephanie Liles-Weyant had won the women's title at the first trail series race, the Cadillac Trail Run in Tom Brown Park on 22 June 2013. But Liles-Weyant finished second to Micah Adriani on 13 July 2013 at the next trail run, the Swamp Forest 4.5 Mile. Back in Tom Brown Park in the Magnolia Trail race, it looked like she might have to settle for runner-up once again. Renee Cox grabbed the early lead in the women's competition and held it through the first two miles. Liles-Weyant was never far behind, though, running patiently. During the third mile she made her move, blowing past Cox. After that it was Liles-Weyant's race as she went on to place 13th overall in 24:45, the first woman across the finish line. Cox was the next female finisher, coming in 19th overall in 25:30. Ashley Daily was the third woman, her 27:04 good for 23rd overall.

114 of the 117 starters managed to finish the Magnolia Trail Run. The fourth and final race in the series is the Redbug Trail 4.5-Mile Run, scheduled for 6:00 PM ET Saturday evening, 3 August 2013, on the Redbug Trail at Phipps Park in Tallahassee.

Top Ten Men, 2013 Magnolia Trail 3.5-Mile Run
  1. Michael Kennet21:44 ~ Kevin Sullivan (M, 39)
  2. 21:55 ~ Charn McAllister (M, 30)
  3. 21:56 ~ Bryce Van Dam (M, 26)
  4. 22:17 ~ Zach De Veau (M, 25)
  5. 22:35 ~ Douglas Bell (M, 44)
  6. 22:54 ~ Michael Kennett (M, 39)
  7. 23:05 ~ Tony Guillen (M, 44)
  8. 23:10 ~ Paul Guyas (M, 35)
  9. 24:08 ~ Camilo OrdoƱez (M, 34)
  10. 24:32 ~ Duane Evans (M, 46)

Top Ten Women, 2013 Magnolia Trail 3.5-Mile Run
  1. Renee Cox24:45 ~ Stephanie Liles-Weyant (F, 41)
  2. 25:30 ~ Renee Cox (F, 26)
  3. 27:04 ~ Ashley Daily (F, 26)
  4. 28:11 ~ Melissa Hooke (F, 35)
  5. 29:29 ~ Carla McDonald (F, 35)
  6. 29:39 ~ Martha Bademan (F, 29)
  7. 29:47 ~ Beverly Hamilton (F, 35)
  8. 30:30 ~ Sarah Dugas (F, 34)
  9. 30:32 ~ Allie Caldwell (F, 22)
  10. 30:33 ~ Heather Hill (F, 17)


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