Sunday, May 18, 2014

Lake and Sherron speed through the sanctuary at Wakulla

Chris Lake and Katie SherronEach year, as winter cold gives way to spring warmth, insects and their cousins come out of dormancy. It's time to wake up and start reproducing. However, some arthropods such as mosquitoes and ticks need a blood meal in order to lay their eggs. In order to make sure the the creepy-crawlies in Wakulla Springs State Park have what they need to raise another generation, each May the park invites hundreds of athletes to run through the park's sanctuary. The runners get to have a race. The flying, biting, and sucking vermin get to have a feast. After that, the park officials close off the sanctuary for the rest of the year so that the bugs can go about their business in peace.

That's just a theory, and you don't have to believe it. But if Wakulla Springs ever hosts an open-water swim, I suggest you make sure the park's alligator population hasn't been suffering from starvation before you dive in.

Zach Deveau and Michael MartinezWhatever the reason, more than 250 athletes were at the park on Saturday morning, 17 May 2014, for the eighth annual Wakulla Springs 5K. After a few children ran through the sanctuary as an appetizer in the one-mile fun run, the main event started. Chris Lake shot out into the lead, leaving his closest rival, Zach DeVeau, far behind. DeVeau in turn was way ahead of the next competitor. Lake and DeVeau were each effectively running alone through the sanctuary. Surrounded by the peaceful forest, there was nothing to hear but their own breathing, their own footfalls, and the calls of birds.

Aside from the drone of the deer flies and the whine of the mosquitoes, that is.

Lake crossed the finish line with a lead of more than 200 meters, winning the race in 16:38 and breaking Stanley Linton's course record of 16:39. DeVeau was runner-up in 17:24. Half a minute later a mob arrived. Master runner Michael Martinez outkicked Peter Kaus and Bryce Cole for third. Martinez and Kaus were both clocked at 18:01 while Cole, a rising sophomore at Wakulla High, posted an 18:02. Not far behind Cole were Martinez's rivals for the top master spot, Carl Nordhielm and Geb Kiros, finishing sixth in 18:06 and seventh in 18:08.

Renee Cox and Margaret WiedemanKatie Sherron was back for her second run in the Wakulla Springs 5K after finishing second in the women's standings to course-record holder Seeley Gutierrez in 2011. 2014 was Sherron's year in the sanctuary, though. Placing 25th overall in 20:07, Sherron won the Wakulla Springs 5K women's title. A minute behind her, Renee Cox finished runner-up on the women's side, 34th overall in 21:07. Wakulla High graduating seniors Margaret Wiedeman (47th, 22:04) and Kayla Webbe (50th, 22:20) were third and fourth in the women's division. Mary Vancore (53rd, 22:33) was the fifth woman finisher and first woman master.

252 athletes finished the race, a benefit for the Friends of Wakulla Springs State Park. The sanctuary gates closed again. No runner will hear the hum of the hungry insects there till May of 2015.

[ Photos in this article are by Fred Deckert ]

Top Ten Men, 2014 Wakulla Springs 5K
  1. 16:38 ~ Chris Lake (M, 26)Peter Kaus and Bryce Cole
  2. 17:24 ~ Zach Deveau (M, 26)
  3. 18:01 ~ Michael Martinez (M, 48)
  4. 18:01 ~ Peter Kaus (M, 30)
  5. 18:02 ~ Bryce Cole (M, 15)
  6. 18:06 ~ Carl Nordhielm (M, 51)
  7. 18:08 ~ Geb Kiros (M, 47)
  8. 18:16 ~ Reikan Lin (M, 24)
  9. 18:21 ~ Eric Godin (M, 30)
  10. 18:24 ~ Ryan Truchelut (M, 28)

Top Ten Women, 2014 Wakulla Springs 5K
  1. 20:07 ~ Katie Sherron (F, 32)Kayla Webbe and Mary VanCore
  2. 21:07 ~ Renee Cox (F, 26)
  3. 22:04 ~ Margaret Wiedeman (F, 18)
  4. 22:20 ~ Kayla Webbe (F, 17)
  5. 22:33 ~ Mary Vancore (F, 50)
  6. 22:48 ~ Connie Lewis (F, 15)
  7. 23:24 ~ Kory Skrob (F, 43)
  8. 23:27 ~ Nancy Stedman (F, 52)
  9. 23:33 ~ Julie Clark (F, 52)
  10. 24:00 ~ Jennifer Shafer (F, 46)

Wakulla Springs 5K Champions, 2007-2014
19 May 200719:09, Miles Gibson22:16, Olivia Swedberg204
17 May 200817:42, Jay Wallace23:29, Sydney Nutting216
16 May 200917:20, Tyler Price21:49, Roxanne Hughes223
15 May 201017:56, Justin Dickieson20:03, Kati Gosnell355
21 May 201116:59, Vince Molosky19:29, Seeley Gutierrez326
19 May 201216:49, Vince Molosky21:53, Angela Wable256
18 May 201316:39, Stanley Linton20:19, Kate Harrison199
17 May 201416:38, Chris Lake20:07, Katie Sherron252


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