Sunday, August 3, 2014

Deveau leaves 25 other runners to the Devil

Amanda HudsonSummer is a hard time to train for distance running, as anyone who has ever prepared for fall cross-country season will tell you. The summers in Tallahassee, Florida, are as hot and difficult as anywhere, but athletes in the Capital City have an added incentive to say in shape. They know that if they aren't at their best, the Devil will catch them. And the Devil did indeed snare 25 runners at the Mike Long Track on Saturday evening, 2 August 2014. Only Zach Deveau escaped, winning Tallahassee's 2014 Devil-Take-The-Hindmost Race.

It's a different kind of race. Competitors have two minutes to finish each lap, but the last person in the field at the end of a lap is removed from the track by the Devil. No one can build up a big lead, because you can't start the next lap until the two-minute limit for the previous lap has elapsed. Like the high jump or the pole vault, you keep running laps until everyone but the winner has been eliminated. If there are a lot of runners, someone is going to be running a lot of laps.

2014 Devil-Take-The-Hindmost RaceAlmost thirty runners showed up on the Florida State University campus, so the winner was going to have to run almost thirty laps. Not everyone would be allowed to go that far, though. Patrick Koon went out after three laps, the Devil's first known victim.

Sean Hudson started putting in a series of fast laps. The rest of the field let him go, knowing that you don't have to be first at the end of a lap, you just don't have to be last. Chemistry professor Eric Dueno was last at the end of the fourth lap, and the Devil snatched him from the track.  Dominic Milner and Daniel and Daniel Graham both left the track after lap five, demonstrating that while the Devil has the power to take you off the track, but can't make you run another lap.

The Devil took Johnathan Clark at the end of lap six and Katie Sack after lap seven, making Sack the third-place woman in the race. The women's runner-up, Paula O'Neill, was grabbed by the Devil after the eighth lap. The survivors continued to circle the track.

Lap 24The Devil grabbed Doug Cole after lap 9 and Bing Xu after lap 10. The tenth lap was Sean Hudson's last fast lap; the next time around the track he ran tucked into the pack. Jillian Heddaeus went out on lap 11. She was the last woman left on the track but the Devil got her anyway.

John Lightle went out after twelve laps, and the Devil gobbled up Sean Hudson after the thirteenth lap. Michael Savage made it through 14 laps before the Devil took him. Bainbridge High cross-country runner Perry Waddell was the Devil's victim on lap 15, followed by Gary Galvez on lap 16 and Philip Sura on lap 17. Only ten runners were left on the track.

Mark Tombrink was the first of those ten to go, grabbed by the Devil at the end of the 18th lap. Bainbridge High runner Caleb Harris went out after 19 laps. The Devil harvested "Marathon Jack" McDermott from the track after 20 laps. Wakulla High cross-country runner Bryce Cole was taken from the track after the 21st lap. The last master runner left on the track, Bryan Koon, was taken by the Devil after 22 laps.

Zach DeVeauFive athletes began the 23rd lap, but Peter Kaus met the Devil at the end of the circuit, leaving four. 2013 Devil Take The Hindmost champion Stephen Cox was shown the exit after lap 24. Zach DeVeau and Roger Schmidt outran Vince Molosky on the 25th lap, and the Devil collected Molosky. The stage was set for a final lap showdown between DeVeau and Schmidt.

The spectators on hand anticipated blood, but the first 200 meters were casual, like the opening laps of a wait-and-kick 1500-meter race. With 200 meters to go, though, the knives were out. DeVeau had the better kick, though, and romped home ahead of Schmidt to avoid the Devil.

"Maybe I should have made him race the whole last 400," said Schmidt as the Devil took him away.

Tallahassee's 2014 Devil-Take-The-Hindmost Race couldn't have happened without Mandy Hudson playing the Devil, Julie Harris scoring the race, and Bill Lott doing everything else. Thanks also go to the runners who dared to show up on an August evening to race the Devil.

Devil Take The Hindmost Race
Mike Long Track, Tallahassee, Florida
Saturday, 2 August 2014 @ 7:00 PM ET
PlaceFirst NameLast NameM/FAgeHometownLaps
1. ZachDeVeauM26Tallahassee, FL27
2. RogerSchmidtM23Tallahassee, FL26
3. VinceMoloskyM35Tallahassee, FL25
4. StephenCoxM30Tallahassee, FL24
5. PeterKausM30Tallahassee, FL23
6. BryanKoonM42Tallahassee, FL22
7. BryceColeM16Wakulla, FL21
8. JackMcDermottM45Tallahassee, FL20
9. CalebHarrisM13Bainbridge, GA19
10. MarkTombrinkM26Tallahassee, FL18
11. PhilipSuraM44Tallahassee, FL17
12. GaryGalvezM27Tallahassee, FL16
13. PerryWaddellM16Bainbridge, GA15
14. MichaelSavageM57Tallahassee, FL14
15. SeanHudsonM44Tallahassee, FL13
16. JohnLightleM33Tallahassee, FL12
17. JillianHeddaeusF31Tallahassee, FL11
18. BingXuM46Tallahassee, FL10
19. DougColeM49Wakulla, FL9
20. PaulaO'NeillF53Tallahassee, FL8
21. KatieSackF22Tallahassee, FL7
22. JonathanClarkM41Tallahassee, FL6
23. DanielGrahamM42Bainbridge, GA5

DominicMilnerM34Tallahassee, FL5
25. EricDuenoM46Havana, FL4
26. PatrickKoonM8Tallahassee, FL3


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