Saturday, September 12, 2015

Speedy Sickle Cell 5K runs for Nazareth and Barnes

Matt NazarethOn a rainy Saturday morning, 12 September 2015, Matt Nazareth won the 34th annual Sickle Cell 5K in Tallahassee, Florida, posting a 17:24 on the wet streets around the Jake Gaither Community Center. Gary Droze was fastest master runner in the race, finishing runner-up in 17:30. Brittney Barnes was the first female finisher, placing fourth overall in 20:10, and Nancy Stedman was the top woman master, eighth overall in 23:12.

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."

Gary DrozeThat 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.

Brittney BarnesNazareth 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
  1. 17:23.64 ~ Matt Nazareth (M, 18)Aaron Jones
  2. 17:29.30 ~ Gary Droze (M, 54)
  3. 19:19.76 ~ Aaron Jones (M, 15)
  4. 21:24.78 ~ Acton Pifer (M, 23)
  5. 22:05.82 ~ Michael LaBossiere (M, 49)
  6. 23:01.93 ~ Samuel Cook (M, 23)
  7. 23:23.86 ~ Cameron Chadsey (M, 19)
  8. 23:24.89 ~ Kenneth Green (M, 13)
  9. 23:28.33 ~ John Huddleston (M, 29)
  10. 23:55.90 ~ Perry Ponder (M, 47)

Top Ten Women, 2015 Sickle Cell 5K
  1. 20:09.18 ~ Brittney Barnes (F, 27)Nancy Stedman
  2. 23:11.31 ~ Nancy Stedman (F, 53)
  3. 25:21.44 ~ Emily Kaiser (F, 23)
  4. 25:47.19 ~ Sara Ardila (F)
  5. 26:15.44 ~ Keyaira Frost (F, 13)
  6. 26:28.44 ~ Dominique Berry (F, 21)
  7. 26:47.17 ~ Emma Huddleston (F, 26)
  8. 26:59.92 ~ Michelle Gayle (F, 53)
  9. 27:41.91 ~ Elizabeth Ichite (F, 23)
  10. 27:43.93 ~ Maddison Green (F, 10)

Known Sickle Cell 5K winners, 1982 - 2015


8 September 1984 *

31 August 1985


19 September 198715:14.2, Jessie Close17:31.8, Karen MacHarg
17 September 198815:12, Jessie Close16:40, Carla Borovicka
16 September 198915:14, Jessie Close19:38, Barbara Balzer
15 September 199016:04, Bill Crooks18:23, Karen MacHarg
14 September 199115:18, Gary Droze18:47, Vikki Saga
12 September 199215:07, Gary Droze18:39, Carrie Hunnicutt
11 September 199315:50, Peter Kirk21:06, Leah Bonds
10 September 199415:47, Andy Palmer18:06, Jane Johnson
9 September 199515:51, John Otterson19:00, Carrie Weyant
14 September 199615:23, Bryan Erb17:58, Jane Johnson
13 September 199715:23, Gary Droze17:40, Sara Docter-Williams
12 September 199816:26, Tim Simpkins20:28, Julie Clark
11 September 199916:24, Robert Pautienus19:44, Kingsley Broughton
9 September 200016:55, Tim Unger17:40, Sandra Williams
8 September 200117:05, Tony Pearson19:39, Renata Strakova
14 September 200219:15, Michael LaBossiere24:03, Jane Cormier
13 September 200318:24, David Yon22:25, Kim Likens
11 September 200418:32, Scott Ruplinger22:29, Krista Killius
10 September 200518:28, Dan Pick22:00, Cathleen Willy
9 September 200617:36, Chris Gregory21:05, Summer Shepherd
8 September 200716:52, Michael Martinez20:18, Lindsay Thomas
13 Sepember 200816:05, Chris Lake19:11, Sheryl Rosen
12 September 200915:44, Chris Lake22:27, Julie Clark
11 September 201018:36, Trey Edwards22:13, Nancy Stedman
10 September 201116:29, Gary Droze21:21, Tiffany Barz
8 September 201218:18, Paul Guyas20:06
14 September 2013??
13 September 201416:48, Roger Schmidt22:18, Paula O'Neill
12 September 201517:24, Matthew Nazareth20:10, Brittney Barnes
* Four-mile run


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