Saturday, September 13, 2014

Schmidt and O'Neill snatch Sickle Cell 5K wins

2014 Run For Sickle Cell 5KSince 1982, Tallahassee's Sickle Cell Foundation has held the annual Run For Sickle Cell road race. It took a few years to settle on a course and a distance; some of the earliest races were four miles. But by 1987 the Foundation had settled on a 5K route through the Jake Gaither Neighborhood, even going so far as to have the course USATF certified as accurate (USATF #FL12057EBM). You’d think that over all those years, during four different decades and two different centuries, just about every athlete in Tallahassee would have run the Sickle Cell 5K. It was a new race for Roger Schmidt of Capital City Runners, however.

“I’ve run in this area before, back when I was at Florida State,” said Schmidt. “I’ve never run this particular route before, but I heard it was fast.”

Roger SchmidtIn Schmidt’s defense, the Run For Sickle Cell may have been around for over 30 years, but he’s only been alive for 23 of those. Whether or not the course is fast, Schmidt certainly was fast on Saturday morning, 13 September 2014, when he won the 33rd annual Sickle Cell 5K in 16:48, finishing almost 400 meters ahead of the next runner.

The race started on Bragg Drive a casual 10 or 15 minutes after the scheduled starting time of 8:30 AM. At about 700 meters the runners turned onto Wahnish Way with five athletes out in front of the rest of the field--Roger Schmidt, FAMU professor Geb Kiros, Maclay School cross-country runner George Escobar, Bryce Vokus, and Peter Van Brussel. Early in the third kilometer, coming down the hill on Pasco Street, Schmidt had broken away, opening a gap of nearly 100 meters on Van Brussel. Schmidt’s lead only grew during the second half of the race as he went on to win in 16:48. Van Brussel and Vokus came in together, second and third, both clocked in 18:06. Geb Kiros was the top master runner in the race, fourth overall in 18:43. Escobar was fifth in 18:55, and another Maclay School student, 12-year-old Johnny McClure, was sixth in 19:11.

Paula O'NeillUnlike Roger Schmidt, Paula O’Neill had run the Sickle Cell 5K before. “This race was where I won the master’s division for the first time,” said the Griffin Middle School teacher.

This time around, O’Neill was not just the first woman master, she was the first woman in the race, placing 17th overall in 22:18. Master runner Katie Clark had been half a minute behind O’Neill midway through the Sickle Cell 5K, but during the second half of the race she started to nibble away at O’Neill’s lead. The gap was too wide to close, though, and Clark had to settle for the women’s runner-up spot, 18th overall in 22:31. Jane Skalski was third in the women's standings, 19th overall in 22:48.

Eventually the streets were clear of runners, and parking was restored for Jake Gaither Golf Course. When it was over, more than 300 athletes had run or walked the 33rd annual Sickle Cell 5K.

“I’m glad I came,” said race winner Roger Schmidt. Many of the other 300-plus Sickle Cell participants felt the same way.

Top Ten Men, 2014 Sickle Cell 5K
  1. 16:48 ~ Roger Schmidt (M, 23)Peter Van Brussel and Bryce Vokus
  2. 18:06 ~ Peter Van Brussel (M, 21)
  3. 18:06 ~ Bryce Vokus (M, 18)
  4. 18:43 ~ Geb Kiros (M, 48)
  5. 18:55 ~ George Escobar (M, 16)
  6. 19:11 ~ Jonathan McClure (M, 12)
  7. 20:22 ~ Aaron Jones (M, 14)
  8. 20:28 ~ Felton Wright (M, 57)
  9. 20:57 ~ Michael La Bossiere (M, 48)
  10. 20:58 ~ David Yon (M, 58)

Top Ten Women, 2014 Sickle Cell 5K
  1. 22:18 ~ Paula O'Neill (F, 53)Katie Clark
  2. 22:31 ~ Katie Clark (F, 40)
  3. 22:48 ~ Jane Skalski (F, 29)
  4. 25:10
  5. 25:53 ~ Heather Wolbers (F, 36)
  6. 26:18 ~ Juliette Pitt (F, 21)
  7. 26:39 ~ E Melissa Cooper (F, 37)
  8. 26:51 ~ Brielle Gordon (F, 21)
  9. 27:16 ~ Ashley Bell (F, 25)
  10. 27:28 ~ Alicia McMillan (F, 29)

Known Sickle Cell 5K winners, 1982-2014


8 September 1984 *

31 August 1985


19 September 1987Jessie Close (15:14.2)Karen MacHarg (17:31.8)
17 September 1988Jessie Close (15:12)Carla Borovicka (16:40)
16 September 1989Jessie Close (15:14)Barbara Balzer (19:38)
15 September 1990Bill Crooks (16:04)Karen MacHarg (18:23)
14 September 1991Gary Droze (15:18)Vikki Saga (18:47)
12 September 1992Gary Droze (15:07)Carrie Hunnicutt (18:39)
11 September 1993Peter Kirk (15:50)Leah Bonds (21:06)
10 September 1994Andy Palmer (15:47)Jane Johnson (18:06)
9 September 1995John Otterson (15:51)Carrie Weyant (19:00)
14 September 1996Bryan Erb (15:23)Jane Johnson (17:58)
13 September 1997Gary Droze (15:23)Sara Docter-Williams (17:40)
12 September 1998Tim Simpkins (16:26)Julie Clark (20:28)
11 September 1999Robert Pautienus (16:24)Kingsley Broughton (19:44)
9 September 2000Tim Unger (16:55)Sandra Williams (17:40)
8 September 2001Tony Pearson (17:05)Renata Strakova (19:39)
14 September 2002Michael LaBossiere (19:15)Jane Cormier (24:03)
13 September 2003David Yon (18:24)Kim Likens (22:25)
11 September 2004Scott Ruplinger (18:32)Krista Killius (22:29)
10 September 2005Dan Pick (18:28)Cathleen Willy (22:00)
9 September 2006Chris Gregory (17:36)Summer Shepherd (21:05)
8 September 2007Michael Martinez (16:52)Lindsay Thomas (20:18)
13 Sepember 2008Chris Lake (16:05)Sheryl Rosen (19:11)
12 September 2009Chris Lake (15:44)Julie Clark (22:27)
11 September 2010Trey Edwards (18:36)Nancy Stedman (22:13)
10 September 2011Gary Droze (16:29)Tiffany Barz (21:21)
8 September 2012Paul Guyas (18:18)(20:06)
14 September 2013??
13 September 2014Roger Schmidt (16:48)Paula O'Neill (22:18)
* Four-mile run


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