Saturday, July 25, 2015

Cox beats the Devil again

2015 Devil Take The Hindmost RaceIn the middle of the hottest part of the year in Tallahassee, Florida, on Saturday evening, 25 July 2015, Stephen Cox won the annual Devil-Take-The-Hindmost Run on Florida State University's Mike Long Track.

So what is a Devil-Take-The-Hindmost Run?

In Tallahassee it's a track race where at the end of each 400-meter lap, the runner in last place is removed from the track by an official dressed as the Devil. The removals start at the end of the second lap and continue till only one competitor is left, the winner. Just to keep things interesting, there's a two-minute limit on each lap--athletes have two minutes to finish a lap, and the next lap can't start till the two minutes are up. If it seems complicated, you might be able to get further clarification from the Devil--probably while you're being escorted off the track.

Stuart PoageJust after 7:00 PM, 27 athletes started the 2015 version of this morality play without a moral. The Devil, fiendishly played by Mandy Hudson, plucked nine-year-old Ryan Poage from the track after the second lap, followed by Mike Burns at the end of the third lap, and Alexa Poage at the end of the fourth. The remaining runners had gone a mile and the Devil was just getting started.

Michael McCarroll, Michael Molen, Cole Tessier, and Stuart Poage were the lap-by-lap casualties during the second mile. Wakulla's Doug Cole was taken by the Devil after lap nine. The Devil grabbed Eric Dueno at the end of lap ten, and Nico Wienders declined to run another lap, giving the Devil two victims. Katie Sack went at the end of the eleventh lap, and Perry Waddell at the end of the twelfth. Not everyone watching from the stands was entirely sure that Sack or Waddell were actually last when they were snatched, but they were close enough to tempt the Devil, and the Devil's decision is always final.

Katie SackPhilip Sura left the track after thirteen laps, and Mark Tombrink after fourteen. Sean Hudson's connections with the Devil weren't enough to get him past lap fifteen. The Devil gave Brian Molen the hook at the end of the sixteenth lap. Jack McDermott made it through seventeen laps, but no farther. Katie Sherron, the last woman left in the field, was taken by the Devil after eighteen laps. Gary Galvez kicked past Eric Godin at the end of the nineteenth lap, leaving Godin to the Devil. After that effort, though, Galvez had nothing left and was gone after twenty. After five miles, five runners were left circling the track--Bryce Cole, Stephen Cox, Zach DeVeau, Tyler Heath, and Roger Schmidt.

Schmidt was the first victim of the final five, left behind for the Devil at the end of the 21st lap. Tyler Heath, an alumnus of the Wellington High cross-country team, settled for fourth place when the Devil took him after 22 laps. Stephen Cox led the 23rd lap, and it looked like 2014 Devil-Take-The-Hindmost champion Zach DeVeau would join him in a showdown on the 24th lap. But Bryce Cole kicked past DeVeau to end lap 23. DeVeau, meet Devil. Cole and Cox advanced to the 24th lap.

Stephen CoxThere was no final lap drama, though. Cox surged away from Cole immediately, leaving no doubt that Cole was going to be Devil-bait at the end of the 24th lap. Cox, the 2013 Devil-Take-The-Hindmost champion, had won again in 2015. It was one of Cox's last races in Tallahassee, and probably his last Devil-Take-The-Hindmost race in the capital city.

"In three weeks I'm moving to Eugene [Oregon]," said Cox. "I'm going to have to suck it up and live in Tracktown."

Cole, on the other hand, should be around for more Devil-Take-The-Hindmost racing. A junior on the Wakulla High cross country team, Cole counts that as a positive.

"This is my kind of race," said Cole. "I wish there were more of them."

The Devil concurs.

Devil Take The Hindmost Race
Mike Long Track, Tallahassee, Florida
Saturday, 25 July 2015 @ 7:00 PM ET
PlaceFirst NameLast NameM/FAgeHometownLaps
1. StephenCoxM31Tallahassee, FL25
2.BryceColeM17Wakulla, FL24
3. ZachDeVeauM27Tallahassee, FL23
4. TylerHeathM20West Palm Beach, FL22
5. RogerSchmidtM24Tallahassee, FL21
6. GaryGalvezM28Panama City, Panama20
7. EricGodinM31Tallahassee, FL19
8. KatieSherronF33Tallahassee, FL18
9. JackMcDermottM46Tallahassee, FL17
10. BrianMolenM39Tallahassee, FL16
11. SeanHudsonM45Tallahassee, FL15
12. MarkTombrinkM27Tallahassee, FL14
13. PhilipSuraM45Tallahassee, FL13
14. PerryWaddellM17Bainbridge, GA12
15. KatieSackF23Tallahassee, FL11
16. NicoWiendersM44Tallahassee, FL10
EricDuenoM47Havana, FL10
18. DougColeM50Wakulla, FL9
19. StuartPoageM40Tallahassee, FL8
20. ColeTessierM32Tallahassee, FL7
21. MichaelMolenM15Tallahassee, FL6
22. MichaelMcCarrollM30Tallahassee, FL5
23.AlexaPoageF11Tallahassee, FL4
24. MikeBurnsM50Tallahassee, FL3
26. RyanPoageM9Tallahassee, FL2


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