Saturday, May 9, 2015

Chris Lake blasts a 15:49 at the Nene Fest 5K

Chris LakeIf you were in the Indianhead Acres neighborhood of Tallahassee, Florida, on Saturday morning, 9 May 2015, you might have seen Chris Lake racing on the streets. If you paused and waited long enough, you might have seen some of the runners following him, too. But you'd have to wait patiently, because Lake finished more than half a kilometer ahead of the next runner that morning in the second annual Nene Fest 5K. His time for the hilly 3.1-mile run was an impressive 15:49. The Nene Fest 5K doesn't have much history behind it yet, but it's run on the same USATF certified course as the Tallahassee Women's Distance Festival 5K. In 14 of the last 15 years, Lake's time would have won the Women's Distance Festival race. Only Canadian Olympian Kevin Sullivan has run faster on the course during that time period.

Most of the streets in Indianhead Acres are called "Nene," which is Muscogee for road or street--a nod to the language of the people who once inhabited the area. Thus the race took the runners on Chockasacka Nene, Ostapakin Nene, Chuli Nene, Apakin Nene, and Chowkeebin Nene. However, the race started on one of the few non-Nene streets in the Neighborhood, East Indianhead Drive. Lake lost little time in getting into the lead once the starting siren sounded at 8:00 AM. It was his last race in Tallahassee before moving to Charlotte, North Carolina, to become a resident physician. Lake wanted to make it a good one.

Geb Kiros"My main goal was to be under 16:00 today and try to make up from a subpar Palace Saloon 5K performance," said Lake. "This would be the last chance at the 5K to achieve my goal before moving up to North Carolina in a few weeks. I ran a really consistent race, even splits each mile."

FAMU professor Geb Kiros was the only runner to keep Lake in sight through the first kilometer or two; after that even Kiros lost track of Lake on the winding roads. Alone out front yet maintaining an even pace, Lake hit the finish line in a winning 15:49. Kiros was second in 17:38, the top master runner in the race. Tallahassee master runner Michael Kennett was third in 21:05.

Chris Lake had never run the course through Indianhead Acres before at either the Nene Fest or the Tallahassee Women's Distance Festival. Paula O'Neill had. In fact, she had won the women's title at the first Nene Fest 5K in 2014. About two kilometers into the second Nene Fest, O'Neill was leading the women's field, but Nancy Stedman was just 16 seconds back.

"Nancy had me running scared," said O'Neill.

Fear proved a powerful motivator. O'Neill widened the gap over Stedman during the second half of the race, going on to successfully defend her women's title with a 22:28, finishing sixth overall. Master runner Stedman was the women's runner-up, seventh overall in 23:00. Sarah Monbarren was third in the women's standings, coming in 10th overall in 23:57.

84 athletes finished the 2015 Nene Fest 5K. Award winners in the race received a jar of Nene Honey, produced by the bees of Indianhead Acres apiarists Michael and Shelly Callen.

Top Ten Men, 2015 Nene Fest 5K
  1. 15:49 ~ Chris Lake (M, 27)Michael Kennett
  2. 17:38 ~ Geb Kiros (M, 48)
  3. 21:05 ~ Michael Kennett (M, 41)
  4. 21:46 ~ John Schwenkler (M, 33)
  5. 21:51 ~ Jimmy Sauls (M, 35)
  6. 23:37 ~ Simon Holden-Schrock (M, 11)
  7. 23:44 ~ Chris Peary (M, 40)
  8. 24:39 ~ Christian Web (M, 43)
  9. 25:13 ~ Robert Wigen (M, 49)
  10. 25:28 ~ Keith Cummings (M, 32)

Top Ten Women, 2015 Nene Fest 5K
  1. 22:28 ~ Paula O'Neill (F, 53)Nancy Stedman
  2. 23:00 ~ Nancy Stedman (F, 53)
  3. 23:57 ~ Sarah Monbarren (F, 29)
  4. 25:27 ~ Hope Hoffman (F, 34)
  5. 25:58 ~ Nela Diaz (F, 35)
  6. 26:51 ~ Natassia Brenkus (F, 31)
  7. 26:54 ~ Quinn Holden-Schrock (F, 13)
  8. 28:22 ~ Hayley Klees (F, 23)
  9. 28:38 ~ Becky Bush (F, 46)
  10. 29:08 ~ Stephanie Pan (F, 35)

Nene Fest 5K winners, 2014 - 2015
3 May 201418:24, Reikan Lin22:02, Paula O' Neill
9 May 201515:49, Chris Lake22:28, Paula O'Neill84


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