The Sizzler started at 6:00 PM with the runners heading east on Pine Street. Half a kilometer from the start a lead group of half a dozen runners had separated from the pack, with 2013 Sizzler winner Caleb Carmichael setting the pace. Carmichael soon decided that he wasn't going to be able to run with the leaders that day and dropped back, leaving five runners out in front--Carl Nordhielm, Bryce Cole, Albert Smythe, Michael Martinez, and Shawn Logan.
Nordhielm broke away during the second half of the race, building up a lead of over 50 meters with a kilometer to go. The Tallahassee master runner continued to widen the gap on his way to an 18:02 win. Wakulla High sophomore Bryce Cole was second in 18:22. Joel Piotrowski overtook the fading runners from the lead group to finish third in 18:42. Wakulla High junior Albert Smythe placed fourth in 18:59. Nikita Bondarenko moved up during the race to take fifth in 19:41.
"The most painful races are the ones where I run the best," reflected Nordhielm after the Sizzler. "I always really hurt at this race, but I always perform well." The 2014 Sizzler must have been especially excruciating for Nordhielm; he ran over a minute faster than his winning time in 2010.
Polina Bondarenko first won the women's division at the Sizzler 5K in 2012, the year the race moved from June to August. She and her family live in Illinois, and they were vacationing on St. George Island. It's an annual trip for the Bondarenkos.
"We come here on vacation for three weeks, get used to the heat, and have some fun," said Bondarenko.
In 2013, though, Polina Bondarenko was second in the women's standings to Tallahassee runner Renee Cox. Both runners were back for a rematch in 2014.
Half a kilometer after the start, Renee Cox was leading the women's field, just ahead of Lauren Davidson. Polina Bondarenko was a few steps behind. By two kilometers Davidson had faded back into third. Cox was still a few steps ahead of Bondarenko, but Bondarenko was coming. Just past Lighthouse Park, early in the second half of the race, Bondarenko passed Cox. After that, Bondarenko pulled steadily away on her way to a 20:25 win, her fastest run yet at the Sizzler. Cox was the women's runner up, placing 11th overall in 20:46. Chipola College cross-country runner Margaret Wiedeman was third on the women's side, finishing 21st overall in 22:41. Paula O'Neill (23rd, 22:51) was the top woman master and fourth female finisher. Lauren Davidson (25th, 23:02) ended the race fifth in the women's standings.
By September Polina Bondarenko will be back in Illinois running cross country for Oak Park River Forest High in the Chicago suburbs. "Swimming is my main sport now," insists Bondarenko. But next August on another hot day on St. George Island, running will be the only sport on the minds of Bondarenko and a few hundred other athletes at the 2015 Sizzler.
Top Ten Men, 2014 St. George Island Sizzler 5K
- 18:02 ~ Carl Nordhielm (M, 51)
- 18:22 ~ Bryce Cole (M, 16)
- 18:42 ~ Joel Piotrowski (M, 44)
- 18:59 ~ Albert Smythe (M, 17)
- 19:41 ~ Nikita Bondarenko (M, 19)
- 19:56 ~ Philip Sura (M, 44)
- 19:57 ~ Travis Parks (M, 18)
- 20:12 ~ Michael Martinez (M, 48)
- 20:25 ~ Shawn Logan (M, 19)
- 20:34 ~ Lane Williams (M, 18)
Top Ten Women, 2014 St. George Island Sizzler 5K
- 20:25 ~ Polina Bondarenko (F, 14)
- 20:46 ~ Renee Cox (F, 27)
- 22:41 ~ Margaret Wiedeman (F, 19)
- 22:51 ~ Paula O'Neill (F, 53)
- 23:02 ~ Lauren Davidson (F, 23)
- 23:27 ~ Haleigh Martin (F, 15)
- 23:28 ~ Cora Atkinson (F, 20)
- 23:44 ~ Libby Coen (F, 15)
- 24:19 ~ Sarah Dugas (F, 35)
- 24:20 ~ Mindy Sharon (F, 22)
|St. George Island Sizzler 5K Champions, 1997-2014|
|21 June 1997||17:36, Tim Unger||21:40, Julie Clark|
|13 June 1998||16:09, Gary Droze||22:53, Donna Finney|
|12 June 1999||17:05, Tim Unger||19:24, Summer Calder|
|10 June 2000||16:07, Gary Droze||21:18, Julie Clark|
|15 June 2002||15:46, Lee Willis||18:43, Luanne Coulter|
|21 June 2003||16:44, Caleb Carmichael||20:45, Jane Johnson|
|12 June 2004||16:42, Caleb Carmichael||19:48, Kara Newell|
|18 June 2005||16:02, Alex Miletich||20:53, Angela Dempsey|
|24 June 2006||17:24, Robert Beazley||18:39, Kara Newell|
|23 June 2007||17:02, Jasen Fulghum||20:41, Jane Johnson|
|28 June 2008||16:44, Tripp Southerland||19:11, Stephanie Liles|
|27 June 2009||16:53, John Robida||19:47, Kelsey Scheitlin|
|26 June 2010||19:06, Carl Nordhielm||22:06, Nancy Stedman|
|25 June 2011||17:06, Brandon Hough||22:44, Nicole Reichenbach|
|11 August 2012||16:25, Vince Molosky||21:58, Polina Bondarenko|
|10 August 2013||16:16, Caleb Carmichael||20:28, Renee Cox|
|9 August 2014||18:02, Carl Nordhielm||20:25, Polina Bondarenko|
|The 1997 race was called the Summer Island 5K.|
- Complete results of the 2014 St George Island Summer Sizzler 5K at gulfwinds.org
- More photos of the 2014 St George Island Summer Sizzler 5K
- 2013 story, "Carmichael and Cox seize Sizzler 5K titles"
- 2012 story, "Heated competition from Molosky and Bondarenko at the Sizzler"
- 2011 story, "Hough and Reichenbach grab Sizzler wins on St George"
- 2010 story, "Sizzler runners beat BP to St. George Island"
- 2009 story, "Back to the Beach--Robida Wins 2009 Summer Sizzler 5K"
- St George Island Sizzler
- 2014 St. George Island Sizzler 5K course certification map FL13045EBM
- Upcoming races in the Tallahassee region, both inland and on the coast