“I want to warm up on the course. Which way do I go?” asked Harris. “I’ve never run here before.”
By the 9:00 AM start, the Bainbridge, Georgia, athlete was familiar enough with Apalachee Regional Park to run a winning 20:17. Jilllian Heddaeus of Tallahassee was the first woman in the race, finishing 24th overall in 25:21.
Six kilometers--just over 3.7 miles--is not an unheard of distance in cross country. The junior women’s World Championships is held at 6K, as is the NCAA women’s cross-country championship. In the NCAA-D1 Championships held at Apalachee Regional Park in November, the women ran 6K, a race that Florida State’s Colleen Quigley won in 19:17. The Tannenbaum Trail gave 149 athletes the chance to race 6K on the same course as Quigley and the rest of the Lady Seminoles.
Harris grabbed the lead almost immediately after the start of the Tannenbaum Trail. Tallahassee distance runner Vince Molosky stuck to him in the early going, but Harris managed to break away before the first half of the race was over. After the first of two loops around the course, Harris was twelve seconds ahead of Molosky. Nate Kaiser ran in third, another seven seconds behind Molosky.
Harris maintained his lead through the second loop. Molosky continued to fade, and Kaiser overtook him. In the last few hundred meters Harris appeared to have trouble with his breathing, and Kaiser began to close. Harris managed to hold the lead, though, beating Kaiser to the finish line 20:17 to 20:28. Vince Molosky hung on to finish third in 20:56. Maclay frosh James McClure was fourth in 21:30. The fastest master runner in the race was Michael Martinez, placing seventh overall in 22:39.
Jillian Heddaeus led the women’s competition from the outset. During the first half of the race she established a gap of more than half a minute on the next female runner, Swift Creek Middle School cross-country runner Alyson Churchill. Churchill narrowed that gap during the second half, but Heddaeus stayed ahead, winning the women’s title in 25:21. Churchill finished runner-up in the women’s standings, 26th overall in 25:41. Angela Dempsey of Tallahassee was the third woman and the first woman master, placing 39th overall in 27:50.
It was the final race of 2014 at Apalachee Regional Park. During the autumn cross-country season, ARP had also played host to The Leon County Middle School Championship, the FSU Invitational, the FHSAA 2A District 2 Championship, the Trash Dash 5K the NCAA South Regional, the FHSAA State Finals, and even a Wide Open Rush Obstacle Challenge. By the time the last athlete in the Tannenbaum Trail had crossed the finish line, thousands of feet had pounded the ground on the course during this season. Among the owners of those feet, ARP had made more than a few fans. Berry College’s Kyle Harris was among them.
“This is much nicer than the courses we run,” said Harris.
Keep in mind, though, that everyone is fond of the courses where they win.
Top Ten Men, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2014 Tannenbaum Trail 6K
- 20:17 ~ Kyle Harris (M, 20)
- 20:28 ~ Nate Kaiser (M, 35)
- 20:56 ~ Vince Molosky (M, 35)
- 21:30 ~ James McClure (M, 15)
- 21:49 ~ Peter Kaus (M, 30)
- 22:33 ~ Eric Godin (M, 30)
- 22:39 ~ Michael Martinez (M, 48)
- 22:47 ~ Lane Williams (M, 18)
- 22:55 ~ Johnathan McClure (M, 12)
- 22:58 ~ David Graf (M, 38)
Top Ten Women, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2014 Tannenbaum Trail 6K
- 25:21 ~ Jillian Heddaeus (F, 31)
- 25:41 ~ Alyson Churchill (F, 12)
- 27:50 ~ Angela Dempsey (F, 46)
- 28:26 ~ Paula O' Neill (F, 53)
- 28:53 ~ Megan Churchill (F, 12)
- 29:55 ~ Julie Clark (F, 53)
- 29:56 ~ Urska Dobersek (F, 32)
- 30:07 ~ Nancy Stedman (F, 53)
- 30:20 ~ Hope Hoffman (F, 34)
- 30:23 ~ Martha Bademan (F, 30)
|Tannenbaum Trail 6K Champions, 2011 - 2014|
|17 December 2011||19:49, Chris Lake||25:33, Katie Showman||173|
|15 December 2012||19:35, Kevin Sullivan||21:56, Stefanie Slekis||182|
|21 December 2013||20:51, Bryan Koon||22:30, Jodie McGuff||76|
|20 December 2014||20:17, Kyle Harris||25:21, Jillian Heddaeus||149|
- Complete results of Gulf Winds Track Club's 2014 Tannenbaum Trail 6K at gulfwinds.org
- More photos of Gulf Winds Track Club's 2014 Tannenbaum Trail 6K
- Fred Deckert's photos of Gulf Winds Track Club's 2014 Tannenbaum Trail 6K
- 2013 story, "Koon and McGuff traipse the Tannenbaum Trail"
- 2012 story, "Sullivan and Slekis take Tannenbaum for Capital City Runners"
- 2011 story, "Lake and Showman trail no one at Tannenbaum Trail 6K"
- Find another upcoming race named after a tree on the Trouble Afoot! calendar