Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Strong finishes and Tallahassee Marathon titles for Chepses and Crouch

In 2013 at Gulf Winds Track Club's 39th annual Tallahassee Marathon, Connecticut runner Chris Zablocki outran Mark Chepses by a slim margin, 2:23:23 to 2:23:36, to win the 26.2-mile race. On Sunday morning, 8 February 2015, Chepses returned the favor at the 41st Tallahassee Marathon, winning the race in 2:19:12 and leaving Zablocki to finish runner-up in 2:20:31. Sarah Crouch of the Zap Fitness racing team ran away from Jordan Nelsen in the late stages of the Marathon to win the women's title, 2:46:59 to 2:47:49.

This little marathon,”55 guest speaker Hal Higdon described the Tallahassee Marathon. By the numbers it certainly couldn't be mistaken for a large race, especially if you compare it to the five-figure fields of the New York City and Boston Marathons. But of the runners who gathered at the starting line on the Florida State University campus for the 2015 Tallahassee Marathon, 335 of them would finish the full 26.2 miles--more than in 39 of the 41 years of the race's history.

A group of four runners was well out in front of the rest of those 335 by the end of the first mile. Chris Zablocki was setting the pace for the lead group, which also included Martin Mariithi, Mark Chepses, and Peter Kemboi. It was Zablocki's third marathon in little over a month; he had already won the Jacksonville Bank Marathon in 2:27:41 on 28 December 2014 and the Carlsbad Marathon with a 2:24:53 on 18 January 2015. Through the FSU campus, down Lake Bradford Road, and onto the St. Marks Trail, the foursome remained the same. At the nine-mile mark nothing had changed from the mile mark. It was still Zablocki half a step in front, shadowed by Mariithi, Chepses, and Kemboi.

In the Woodville area, though, during the miles surrounding the turn around, things changed. Kemboi dropped off the pace first. Then Mariithi could no longer stay with the leaders. Back in the Tallahassee city limits, the final miles would be a duel between Zablocki and Chepses.

Chepses broke away late, leaving Zablocki well behind. It wasn't a replay of 2013, where the top three runners were all on the Florida State's Mike Long track at the same time for their final lap. Chepses was on the track, through with his last lap, and wearing his finisher's medal before Zablocki had stepped onto the track. Chepses's winning time was 2:19:12, while Zablocki took second in 2:20:31. Mariithi was a distant third in 2:29:02. Cole Atkins of Zap Fitness had run down Kemboi, but couldn't quite catch Mariithi, and finished fourth in 2:29:35. Kemboi was fifth in 2:34:36. Running nearly nine minutes off his best time, William Sanders took sixth in 2:36:10. Tampa, Florida, athlete Larry Smart was the fastest master in the marathon, placing seventh overall in 2:43:43.

Jordan NelsenUnlike Zablocki in the men's race, Sarah Crouch wasn't an early leader in the women's competition. Two-time Tallahassee Marathon women's champ Nina Kraft was the first woman through the one-mile mark, closely followed by Jordan Nelsen of St. Augustine, Florida. Crouch was most of a minute behind in fifth. Seven miles later, Nelsen was leading the women's field, half a minute ahead of Kraft. Another two minutes behind Kraft, Crouch had moved up into third.

That was before the middle miles, though. In the Woodville area Crouch ran down Kraft then reeled in Nelsen, pulling even with the leader before the 19-mile mark. As the runners closed in on the finish line Crouch pulled ahead, going on to win the women's race in 2:46:59, placing eighth overall. Posting a PR of 2:47:49, Nelsen was the women's runner-up, coming in tenth overall. Shawanna White caught Nina Kraft to take third in the women's standings, 13th overall in 2:54:28. Kraft was the top woman master and fourth woman finisher, 16th overall in 2:55:14.

Top Ten Men, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2015 Tallahassee Marathon
  1. 2:19:11.20 ~ Mark Chepses (M, 38) West Des Moines, IALarry Smart
  2. 2:20:30.40 ~ Christopher Zablocki (M, 26) Essex, CT
  3. 2:29:01.82 ~ Martin Mariithi (M, 30) Hebron, KY
  4. 2:29:34.50 ~ Cole Atkins (M, 29) Blowing Rock, NC
  5. 2:34:35.77 ~ Peter Kemboi (M, 34) Hebron, KY
  6. 2:36:09.27 ~ William Sanders (M, 27) Wethersfield, CT
  7. 2:43:42.35 ~ Larry Smart (M, 45) Tampa, FL
  8. 2:47:19.48 ~ Scott Fihma (M, 40) Indianapolis, IN
  9. 2:48:51.82 ~ Nate Kaiser (M, 35) Tallahassee, FL
  10. 2:51:54.55 ~ Geb Kiros (M, 48) Tallahassee, FL

Top Ten Women, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2015 Tallahassee Marathon
  1. 2:46:58.78 ~ Sarah Crouch (F, 25) Chicopee, MAShawanna White
  2. 2:47:48.46 ~ Jordan Nelsen (F, 23) St. Augustine, FL
  3. 2:54:27.80 ~ Shawanna White (F, 35) West Columbia, SC
  4. 2:55:13.52 ~ Nina Kraft (F, 46) Clermont, FL
  5. 3:04:40.83 ~ Janet Becker (F, 41) Rockford, MI
  6. 3:06:14.34 ~ Emily Manning (F, 33) Jacksonville, FL
  7. 3:14:13.60 ~ Jessica Kennedy (F, 37) Leesburg, FL
  8. 3:21:58.56 ~ Lauren Huckaba (F, 27) Athens, GA
  9. 3:29:13.52 ~ Mae Barker (F, 37) Jacksonville, FL
  10. 3:30:32.37 ~ Ann Roberts (F, 51) St. Petersburg, FL

Dan BaurOver 700 athletes finished the half marathon that shared the course with the 2015 Tallahassee Marathon. Dan Baur of Tallahassee was the fastest runner in the shorter race, posting a winning 1:15:21. Mike Peyman was the top master runner in the half marathon, coming in ninth overall in 1:23:51. Katie Sherron took the half marathon women's title, finishing tenth overall in 1:24:25. Mary Anne Grayson of Thomasville, Georgia, was the first woman master, 60th overall in 1:39:31.

The 41st annual Tallahassee Marathon was the valedictory event for race directors Nancy Stedman and Jay Silvanima, ending nine years at the helm of the event. Under Eric Godin and Jonathan Manry, the marathon will return for a 42nd running on 7 February 2016.

Top Ten Men, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2015 Tallahassee Half-Marathon
  1. 1:15:20.60 ~ Dan Baur (M, 28) Tallahassee FL
  2. 1:16:26.57 ~ Zach Deveau (M, 27) Tallahassee FL
  3. 1:20:58.86 ~ Tyler Heath (M, 20) Tallahassee FL
  4. 1:21:51.61 ~ Peter Kaus (M, 30) Tallahassee FL
  5. 1:22:42.32 ~ Jake Mazziotta (M, 16) Tallahassee FL
  6. 1:23:29.12 ~ Ryan Obernier (M, 28) Jacksonville FL
  7. 1:23:29.66 ~ Paul Medina (M, 39) Jacksonville FL
  8. 1:23:42.62 ~ Bosworth Henry (M, 37) Tallahassee FL
  9. 1:23:50.77 ~ Mike Peymann (M, 52) Tallahassee FL
  10. 1:24:32.15 ~ Don Autore (M, 39) Tallahassee FL

Top Ten Women, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2015 Tallahassee Half-Marathon
  1. 1:24:24.72 ~ Katie Sherron (F, 33) Tallahassee FL
  2. 1:25:16.83 ~ Adriana Piekarewicz (F, 26) Tallahassee FL
  3. 1:29:14.63 ~ Carley Glasser (F, 27) Jacksonville FL
  4. 1:32:34.44 ~ Renee Cox (F, 27) Tallahassee FL
  5. 1:33:26.64 ~ Victoria Suarez (F, 22) Tallahassee FL
  6. 1:34:42.31 ~ Jillian Heddaeus (F, 31) Tallahassee FL
  7. 1:37:56.92 ~ Blair Bodenmiller (F, 28) Tallahassee FL
  8. 1:38:34.46 ~ Kristen Scruggs (F, 31) Orlando FL
  9. 1:38:34.65 ~ Margaret Maxwell (F, 33) Tallahassee FL
  10. 1:39:30.90 ~ Mary Anne Grayson (F, 49) Thomasville GA


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