Saturday, June 21, 2014

Lake and Gutierrez lead the 2014 Melon Run

Chris LakeFinishing over a minute ahead of the next runner, Chris Lake won Monticello's 36th annual Melon Run 5K on Saturday morning, 21 June 2014. Lake's time, 16:17, wasn't a course record, but it was the fastest time posted at the race since 2008. Geb Kiros of Tallahassee was the top master runner in the field, finishing third overall in 17:54. Seeley Gutierrez won her second Melon Run women's title, placing ninth overall in 19:08. Paula O'Neill was the top woman master for the second year in a row, coming in 30th overall in 23:34.

Zach DeVeauThe Melon Run course makes a 3.1-mile loop around Monticello, Florida, going uphill and down. The athletes traverse streets with good pavement and not-so-good pavement. A large part of the race is run on the Monticello Rail Trail. The 5000 meters of running passes neighborhoods, businesses, and parks. Yet of those varied 5000 meters, the runners seem to save their comments for the last 400--the climb up the Water Street hill. It's as if the other 4600 meters of the course didn't exist. Even Chris Lake, the race winner, had a few words about the Water Street hill.

"It was my first time running the course and that finishing hill reminded me of Rose City."

Geb KirosThe Thomasville Rose City Run, by the way, is a race that Lake has won four times. Not everyone has curses and nightmare tales about the Water Street hill.

The race started at 8:15 AM on West Washington Street, Monticello's local name for US 90. The runners turned north onto Hickory Street less than 200 yards into the race. On Walnut Street Chris Lake moved out front to stay. By the time Lake passed the mile mark in 5:00 he was in total control of the race. Behind him in second place, Zach DeVeau had also broken away from the rest of the field.

"Everyone was out there running alone today," said DeVeau.

Carl NordhielmNot quite everyone. In third place, Geb Kiros was leading the masters field after breaking away from Michael Martinez. During the third kilometer, though, master runner Carl Nordhielm overtook Martinez to move into fourth. Then Nordhielm started to chase down Kiros. By the base of the Water Street hill, Nordhielm had pulled within six seconds of Kiros with the finish line coming into sight.

"I glanced back and got worried," said Kiros. "I had a strong finish after that. I wanted to break 18:00."

He did. Lake had already won the race in 16:17, and Deveau was finishing runner-up in 17:18. Kiros motored up the hill, edging away from Nordhielm to hang onto third and the master runner title with a personal best 17:54. Nordhielm was the second master runner, fourth overall in 18:05. Martinez was third in the master standings, third overall in 18:26.

Seeley GutierrezThree of the Melon Run's past women's champions were on the starting line for the 36th running--2011 women's winner Katie Sherron, the 2012 title-holder Seeley Gutierrez, and the 2013 champion Sheryl Rosen. Like Chris Lake in the men's competition, Gutierrez led the women's field early. For Gutierrez, a triathlete, pacing was a concern.

"When you start the run in a triathlon, you're already tired," explained Gutierrez. "You don't feel good enough to go out too fast."

Gutierrez's steady running was fast enough to keep her out in front of the rest of the women's field, though. Neither Rosen nor Sherron challenged her. In fact, after the first kilometer, Rosen was third in the women's field behind Jillian Heddaeus and Sherron was in sixth.

Sheryl Rosen"I ran conservatively because it had been so long since I raced," said Rosen, who is recovering from an injury.

Seeley Gutierrez ended up winning the women's competition by nearly a minute, coming in ninth overall in 19:08. Sheryl Rosen moved up during the race to finish second in the women's standings, 13th overall in 20:02. Sherron likewise gained a few places, finishing third on the women's side in 20:28, good for 16th overall. Anna Busby took the fourth women's spot, 18th in 20:49. Jillian Heddaeus slipped back to fifth, coming in 20th overall in 21:02.

WatermelonThe Melon Run course has changed over 36 years, and the race didn't always finish with a climb up Water Street. Each year, however, there has always been watermelon at the finish for the runners. Of the two traditions, the hill and the watermelon, the watermelon is more popular as well as more enduring.

"Every run should have watermelon," commented one runner.

Sadly, that's not the case. But one run certainly does have watermelon--the Monticello Kiwanis annual 5K Melon Run.

Top Ten Men, 36th annual Melon Run 5K
  1. 16:16.37 ~ Chris Lake (M, 26)Michael Martinez
  2. 17:17.52 ~ Zach DeVeau (M, 26)
  3. 17:53.37 ~ Geb Kiros (M, 47)
  4. 18:04.81 ~ Carl Nordhielm (M, 51)
  5. 18:25.85 ~ Michael Martinez (M, 48)
  6. 18:42.53 ~ Jack McDermott (M, 45)
  7. 18:45.18 ~ Kevin Chin Shue (M, 21)
  8. 19:00.84 ~ Joel Piotrowski (M, 44)
  9. 19:20.10 ~ Eric Godin (M, 30)
  10. 19:25.62 ~ David Harrell (M, 29)

Top Ten Women, 36th annual Melon Run 5K
  1. 19:07.72 ~ Seeley Gutierrez (F, 37)Katie Sherron
  2. 20:01.12 ~ Sheryl Rosen (F, 30)
  3. 20:27.87 ~ Katie Sherron (F, 32)
  4. 20:48.31 ~ Anna Busby (F, 23)
  5. 21:01.18 ~ Jillian Heddaeus (F, 31)
  6. 22:41.82 ~ Laura McDermott (F, 34)
  7. 23:33.59 ~ Paula O'Neill (F, 53)
  8. 24:05.38 ~ Summer Williams (F, 12)
  9. 25:11.17 ~ Sarah Dugas (F, 35)
  10. 25:36.74 ~ Michelle St Onge (F, 33)

Known winners of the Monticello Melon Run 5K, 1979 - 2014

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

19 June 198215:10, Andy Whitener17:38, Laura Ledbetter
18 June 1983
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
15 June 201316:42, Stanley Linton18:49, Sheryl Rosen
21 June 201416:17, Chris Lake19:08, Seeley Gutierrez


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