“This will be a 100-mile week!” Linton said.
The actual purpose of the road closure, though, was for people who were going much farther than Linton. Some athletes were logging 50 miles in that single day, Linton’s mileage for the entire week. The road was closed for the Tallahassee Ultradistance Classic, which, in spite of its name, has never been run in Tallahassee. Since 1980, missing a year here and there, Gulf Winds Track Club has held the race at Wakulla Springs. Call it greater Tallahassee. This year’s competitors were either going 50 miles or a somewhat shorter 50 kilometers--about 31 miles.
Trevor Sununu was one of the athletes going 50 miles. Late in the race he wasn’t doing well.
“I was leading at 50 kilometers,” said Sununu. “But then this happened.”
He gestured at his heels, which were bloody, worn raw by his shoes, which were continuing to rub against his wounds as he staggered on.
“I’m going to finish,” said Sununu. “I don’t want to have to try this again. I’ll be the youngest to ever finish the 50-mile here.”
That he would. A first-year student at Florida State University, Trevor Sununu is only 19. Last spring he was running track for Park Vista High in Lake Worth, Florida. He applied that experience to the Ultra.
“This is like the two-mile on the track,” explained Sununu. “Eight laps.”
Of course, the laps in high school track are 400 meters long. At the Ultra, the runners circle a lonely 10,000-meter lap.
While Sununu was still staggering onward to his goal, Gainesville’s Ferit Toska won the 50-mile race for the third straight year. His 6:52:08 wasn’t as fast as his previous winning times, but it put him just over eight minutes ahead of the 7:00:14 logged by the runner-up, Saint Augustine master runner Andy Nicol. Considering the distance, that's a slim margin. Proportionally, it would be like winning the hundred-meter dash by less than a stride. Treasure Island, Florida, master runner Madeleine Zolfo was the first woman in the 50-miler, finishing fourth overall in 7:17:59.
50 miles is almost two marathons, back to back. By comparison, 50 kilometers is almost gentle--like running a marathon and then having five more miles to go. Tallahassee master runner Jack McDermott won the kinder and gentler 50K at the Tallahassee Ultradistance Classic, winning by over half an hour in 3:52:56. McDermott had also won the TUDC 5K in 2008 and the 50-miler in 2007. Another Tallahassee master runner, Jennifer Shafer, was the first woman in the 50K, placing seventh overall in 4:45:54.
The Tallahassee Ultradistance Classic isn’t for everyone. Only eleven athletes finished the 50-miler. Among them was the struggling Sununu, who managed to come in seventh at 8:59:47. The number of finishers in the 50K, 59, was a little more generous. The Ultra isn't for everyone, but on that one Saturday, Wakulla Springs Road was for the Ultra.
2014 Tallahassee Ultradistance Classic 50 Mile
- 6:52:08 ~ Ferit Toska (M, 35) Gainesville, FL
- 7:00:14 ~ Andy Nicol (M, 54) St Augustine, FL
- 7:12:32 ~ Mark Tombrink (M, 27) Tallahassee, FL
- 7:17:59 ~ Madeleine Zolfo (F, 50) Treasure Island, FL
- 7:28:18 ~ David Yon (M, 59) Tallahassee, FL
- 7:42:59 ~ Roger Schmidt (M, 23) Tallahassee, FL
- 8:59:47 ~ Trevor Sununu (M, 19) Boynton Beach, FL
- 9:06:39 ~ Juli Aistars (F, 56) Lake Zurich, IL
- 9:19:01 ~ Eric Dueno (M, 46) Havana, FL
- 9:26:08 ~ Sasha Stipanovich (F, 29) Palm Harbor, FL
- 9:27:08 ~ Richard Westbrook (M, 67) Jonesboro, GA
2014 Tallahassee Ultradistance Classic 50K
- 3:52:56 ~ Jack McDermott (M, 45) Tallahassee, FL
- 4:24:11 ~ Charn McAllister (M, 31) Tallahassee, FL
- 4:28:27 ~ Matt Page (M, 28) Chesapeake, VA
- 4:29:19 ~ Bill Baker (M, 64) Smyrna, TN
- 4:39:04 ~ Paul Guyas (M, 37) Tallahassee, FL
- 4:42:38 ~ Gary Griffin (M, 65) Tallahassee, FL
- 4:45:54 ~ Jennifer Shafer (F, 46) Tallahassee, FL
- 4:47:23 ~ Philip Wall (M, 56) Roswell, GA
- 4:53:09 ~ Joel Piotrowski (M, 45) Tallahassee, FL
- 4:55:44 ~ Daniel Messinger (M, 50) Miami, FL
- 5:05:36 ~ Bud Fennema (M, 59) Tallahassee, FL
- 5:11:01 ~ Joy Antoine (F, 33) Chickasaw, AL
- 5:11:01 ~ Joseph Antoine (M, 35) Auburn, AL
- 5:18:28 ~ George Maxwell (M, 64) Indialantic, FL
- 5:21:00 ~ Birgit Maier-Katkin (F, 52) Tallahassee, FL
- 5:24:28 ~ Salt Shack (M, 56) Clearwater, FL
- 5:27:23 ~ Ettore Aldrovandi (M, 53) Tallahassee, FL
- 5:34:37 ~ Alison Hand (F, 41) Santa Rosa Beach, FL
- 5:44:06 ~ Mike Burns (M, 49) Tallahassee, FL
- 5:46:26 ~ Jeff Picker (M, 52) Tallahassee, FL
- 5:49:26 ~ Bill Hillison (M, 70) Tallahassee, FL
- 5:49:26 ~ Matt Minno (M, 55) Tallahassee, FL
- 5:51:34 ~ Mary Scott (F, 36) Ponte Vedra, FL
- 5:53:31 ~ Kelly Murzynsky (F, 49) Santa Rosa Beach, FL
- 5:53:31 ~ Scott Ludwig (M, 60) Senoia, GA
- 5:54:44 ~ Pam Waller (F, 52) Tallahassee, FL
- 5:57:43 ~ Vicki Sue Merry (F, 57) Cantonment, FL
- 5:57:59 ~ Lessa Bates (F, 30) Altha, FL
- 5:58:00 ~ Ben Hall (M, 38) Blountstown, FL
- 5:58:00 ~ John Marc Tomlinson (M, 37) Blountstown, FL*
- 6:00:32 ~ Scott Hershey (M, 56) Jacksonville, FL*
- 6:00:33 ~ Maria Littlejohn (F, 43) Fleming Island, FL*
- 6:01:21 ~ Nick Nichols (M, 71) Tallahassee, FL
- 6:04:38 ~ Wil Spivey (M, 35) Vernon, FL
- 6:06:37 ~ Lisa Vickers (F, 49) Tallahassee, FL*
- 6:08:00 ~ Ithel Jones (M, 60) Tallahassee, FL
- 6:08:32 ~ Angela Adamson (F, 51) Green Cove Springs, FL*
- 6:11:17 ~ Leigh Ceci (F, 50) Tallahassee, FL
- 6:11:17 ~ Beth Miller (F, 50) Tallahassee, FL
- 6:11:45 ~ Carlos Zapata (M, 69) Tallahassee, FL
- 6:13:32 ~ Desiree Sant (F, 35) Inverness, FL*
- 6:13:51 ~ Lorna Castellanos (F, 54) Miami, FL
- 6:19:01 ~ Keith Berry (M, 58) Tallahassee, FL
- 6:24:24 ~ Robin Elyse Bennett (F, 29) Tallahassee, FL
- 6:28:39 ~ Marion Landry (F, 70) Montreal, QC-Canada
- 6:28:40 ~ Donald Landry (M, 69) Montreal, QC-Canada
- 6:47:29 ~ Susan Haag (F, 48) Jacksonville, FL
- 6:57:24 ~ Oscar Anthony (M, 51) Orlando, FL*
- 6:59:29 ~ Summer Purcell (F, 33) Crestview, FL
- 7:03:59 ~ Donald Vanoteghem (M, 60) Leesburg, GA
- 7:16:25 ~ Susan Lance (F, 54) Whitesburg, GA
- 7:16:25 ~ Kathleen Wheeler (F, 53) Saint Petersburg, FL
- 7:48:55 ~ Evelyn Smith (F, 54) Rockford, IL
- 7:56:42 ~ Marsha White (F, 67) Gainesville, FL
- 8:34:45 ~ Mellody Hughes (F, 51) Defuniak Springs, FL
- 8:46:13 ~ Roscoe Douglas (M, 66) Macon, GA
- 8:46:14 ~ Cheryl Murdock (F, 64) Pensacola, FL
- 9:28:16 ~ Dana Stetson (M, 58) Tallahassee, FL*
- 9:33:56 ~ Deborah Ingram (F, 60) Gainesville, FL
* indicates an athlete who completed 50K before dropping out of the 50 mile
- Complete results of the 2014 Tallahassee Ultra-Distance Classic at gulfwinds.org
- More photos of the 2014 Tallahassee Ultra-Distance Classic
- Fred Deckert's photos of the 2014 Tallahassee Ultra-Distance Classic
- 2012 story, "A nifty fifty for Toska and Coutts at the Tallahassee Ultra"
- 2011 story, "Testing limits at the 2011 Tallahassee Ultra-Distance Classic"
- 2010 story, "The tradition of the long run goes on at the Tallahassee Ultra-Distance Classic"
- Tallahassee Ultra-Distance Classic
- Find upcoming races at more civilized distances in the Tallahassee region