The 2015 Sickle Cell 5K will probably be remembered as the year that it rained. The first showers started well before the race and continued until well after the last athlete crossed the finish line. Some of the runners were distressed by the weather. Others stayed away because of the conditions. Winner Matt Nazareth wasn't one of them.
"I like running in the rain, especially road racing," said Nazareth. "It's like when Rod Dixon won the New York Marathon in the rain."
That race was in 1983, well before 18-year-old Matt Nazareth was born. The history of the sport continues to inspire.
Nazareth set the early pace in the race, closely trailed by Maclay School cross country coach Gary Droze and 15-year-old Aaron Jones. By the halfway point Jones had lost contact with the leaders. Droze, a four-time winner of the Sickle Cell 5K, was just six seconds behind Nazareth, but couldn't close that gap during the second half of the race.
"It wasn't as close as it looked," said Droze. "He looked back once, saw me, and picked it up."
Nazareth was still six seconds ahead at the finish line, winning the race in 17:24 with Droze second in 17:30. Jones placed third in 19:20, much faster than the the 20:22 that had earned him seventh place in the 2014 Sickle Cell race.
Nazareth was happy enough with his performance. "It's my first race of the season. I just wanted to see where I was at."
The season is cross country season, of course. Nazareth is a first-year student at Tallahassee Community College, a school where you won't find a cross country team, but Nazareth races unattached. The next event on his calendar is the Quail Trail 5K cross country run on 19 September 2015 at Pebble Hill Plantation near Thomasville, Georgia. Nazareth also trains with cross country in mind.
"In Orlando I always trained on golf course," said Nazareth. "I do all my runs now at Apalachee Regional Park so I get to run the Wall every day."
The Wall isn't Tallahassee's longest hill or the steepest, but as part of the State Cross Country Meet course since 2012 it has become the most notorious. Training on it regularly makes it just that much more likely that in some future race on your way up a less famous slope, Matt Nazareth may fly by you.
Top Ten Men, 2015 Sickle Cell 5K
- 17:23.64 ~ Matt Nazareth (M, 18)
- 17:29.30 ~ Gary Droze (M, 54)
- 19:19.76 ~ Aaron Jones (M, 15)
- 21:24.78 ~ Acton Pifer (M, 23)
- 22:05.82 ~ Michael LaBossiere (M, 49)
- 23:01.93 ~ Samuel Cook (M, 23)
- 23:23.86 ~ Cameron Chadsey (M, 19)
- 23:24.89 ~ Kenneth Green (M, 13)
- 23:28.33 ~ John Huddleston (M, 29)
- 23:55.90 ~ Perry Ponder (M, 47)
Top Ten Women, 2015 Sickle Cell 5K
- 20:09.18 ~ Brittney Barnes (F, 27)
- 23:11.31 ~ Nancy Stedman (F, 53)
- 25:21.44 ~ Emily Kaiser (F, 23)
- 25:47.19 ~ Sara Ardila (F)
- 26:15.44 ~ Keyaira Frost (F, 13)
- 26:28.44 ~ Dominique Berry (F, 21)
- 26:47.17 ~ Emma Huddleston (F, 26)
- 26:59.92 ~ Michelle Gayle (F, 53)
- 27:41.91 ~ Elizabeth Ichite (F, 23)
- 27:43.93 ~ Maddison Green (F, 10)
|Known Sickle Cell 5K winners, 1982 - 2015|
|8 September 1984 *|
|31 August 1985|
|19 September 1987||15:14.2, Jessie Close||17:31.8, Karen MacHarg|
|17 September 1988||15:12, Jessie Close||16:40, Carla Borovicka|
|16 September 1989||15:14, Jessie Close||19:38, Barbara Balzer|
|15 September 1990||16:04, Bill Crooks||18:23, Karen MacHarg|
|14 September 1991||15:18, Gary Droze||18:47, Vikki Saga|
|12 September 1992||15:07, Gary Droze||18:39, Carrie Hunnicutt|
|11 September 1993||15:50, Peter Kirk||21:06, Leah Bonds|
|10 September 1994||15:47, Andy Palmer||18:06, Jane Johnson|
|9 September 1995||15:51, John Otterson||19:00, Carrie Weyant|
|14 September 1996||15:23, Bryan Erb||17:58, Jane Johnson|
|13 September 1997||15:23, Gary Droze||17:40, Sara Docter-Williams|
|12 September 1998||16:26, Tim Simpkins||20:28, Julie Clark|
|11 September 1999||16:24, Robert Pautienus||19:44, Kingsley Broughton|
|9 September 2000||16:55, Tim Unger||17:40, Sandra Williams|
|8 September 2001||17:05, Tony Pearson||19:39, Renata Strakova|
|14 September 2002||19:15, Michael LaBossiere||24:03, Jane Cormier|
|13 September 2003||18:24, David Yon||22:25, Kim Likens|
|11 September 2004||18:32, Scott Ruplinger||22:29, Krista Killius|
|10 September 2005||18:28, Dan Pick||22:00, Cathleen Willy|
|9 September 2006||17:36, Chris Gregory||21:05, Summer Shepherd|
|8 September 2007||16:52, Michael Martinez||20:18, Lindsay Thomas|
|13 Sepember 2008||16:05, Chris Lake||19:11, Sheryl Rosen|
|12 September 2009||15:44, Chris Lake||22:27, Julie Clark|
|11 September 2010||18:36, Trey Edwards||22:13, Nancy Stedman|
|10 September 2011||16:29, Gary Droze||21:21, Tiffany Barz|
|8 September 2012||18:18, Paul Guyas||20:06|
|14 September 2013||?||?|
|13 September 2014||16:48, Roger Schmidt||22:18, Paula O'Neill|
|12 September 2015||17:24, Matthew Nazareth||20:10, Brittney Barnes|
|* Four-mile run|
- Complete results of the 2015 Run For Sickle Cell 5K at gulfwinds.org
- More photos of the 2015 Run For Sickle Cell 5K
- Fred Deckert's photos of the 2015 Run For Sickle Cell 5K
- 2014 story, “Schmidt and O'Neill snatch Sickle Cell 5K wins”
- 2011 story, “Cool air and hot times for Droze and Barz at Sickle Cell 5K”
- 2010 story, “Edwards and Stedman are the 2010 Sickle Cell 5K champions”
- USATF Course Certification map FL12057EBM for the 2015 Sickle Cell 5K
- Schedule your next race using the Trouble Afoot! calendar of upcoming runs