The race started around 7:45 AM, heading east on the Greenway. Heath took the lead immediately. Several athletes, including Aucilla Christian junior Gatlin Nennstiel and Swift Creek eighth grader Alyson Churchill, hung with Heath in the early going, but he soon shook them off. Tallahassee master runner Michael Martinez picked up places passing runners that couldn't stay with Heath, but Martinez never caught Nennstiel, and he certainly didn't catch Heath. Late in the race Martinez even lost sight of the leader.
"There were so many turns during the last mile that I lost track of him," said Martinez. "Not that it made a difference."
Indeed, Heath crossed the finish line thoroughly out of reach, more than 200 meters ahead of runner-up Gatlin Nennstiel and nearly 400 meters ahead of Martinez. Heath's time was 18:00, while Nennstiel ran 18:55 and Martinez 19:34. Recent Wakulla High graduate Travis Parks finished fourth in 19:53.
The Alford Greenway is mostly former pasture land on the edge of the Lake Lafayette basin. Alyson Churchill noted that the Greenway is far from flat.
"The hills were really tough for me," said Churchill.
But Churchill handled the slopes better than most, finishing on top of the women's standings in 20:07. Megan Churchill, another Swift Creek cross country runner, was the second female finisher, eighth overall in 21:26. Anna Leigh Trest (20th, 24:09) was third on the women's side, and Olivia Walton (22nd, 24:26) fourth. Both Trest and Walton are seventh graders on the Aucilla Christian Academy cross country team.
The Bluebird 5K was run in memory of Brook Bowers and to benefit the Brookie B Fun, created to help others understand mental illness and to offer opportunities for survivors of suicide to become involved in increasing awareness and prevention of suicide activities. Chip timing and scoring of the race was provided by Miles and Minutes, LLC, of Tallahassee.
Top Ten Men, 2015 Bluebird 5K
- 17:59.6 ~ Tyler Heath (M, 20)
- 18:55.0 ~ Gatlin Nennstiel (M, 19)
- 19:33.7 ~ Michael Martinez (M, 49)
- 19:52.5 ~ Travis Parks (M, 19)
- 20:12.3 ~ Bill McNulty (M, 57)
- 20:37.2 ~ Duane Evans (M, 48)
- 21:35.9 ~ Nick Arceneaux (M, 19)
- 22:08.3 ~ Alex Caspary (M, 15)
- 22:12.4 ~ Michael McCarrol (M, 30)
- 22:16.9 ~ Steven Buckner (M, 25)
Top Ten Women, 2015 Bluebird 5K
- 20:06.6 ~ Alyson Churchill (F, 13)
- 21:25.1 ~ Megan Churchill (F, 13)
- 24:08.5 ~ Anna Leigh Trest (F, 14)
- 24:25.2 ~ Olivia Walton (F, 14)
- 24:33.5 ~ Paige Churchill (F, 10)
- 25:48.8 ~ Sarah Tharpe (F, 19)
- 26:07.6 ~ Karen Duncan (F, 39)
- 26:32.7 ~ Emily Mueller (F, 19)
- 26:35.5 ~ Sharon Crews (F, 47)
- 26:36.7 ~ Katie Ohara (F, 19)
- Complete results of the 2015 Bluebird 5K at gulfwinds.org
- More photos of the 2015 Bluebird 5K
- Fred Deckert's photos of the 2015 Bluebird 5K
- Bluebird Run
- Find your next run in the Tallahassee region on the Trouble Afoot! racing calendar