Since 2006 the 30K has been contested on the north end of the county on Old Centerville and Sunny Hill Roads. The out-and-back course features four kilometers of pavement followed by 22 kilometers on red clay, then concluding with a return to the four paved kilometers. In the years on that course the race has become known for extreme conditions--Cold mornings where patches of ice framed the road, rainy mornings that turned the red clay roads to muddy tracks, churned up by the runners's shoes. 2016 had none of that. Temperature were in the 50s, not too warm and not too cold. The sky was neither clear nor overcast. It had rained the day before, but the roads were neither dusty nor muddy.
"I remember two years ago when it seemed like I had to walk half the race because of the mud," said Katie Sherron. "I was worried because of the rain, but it really dried out. It was perfect."
There was certainly little to complain about when the runners set out from Bradley's Pond just after 8:00 AM, the entries in the 30K together with those in a shorter 15K race. Right after the start, Charlie Johnson was leading the 30K field.
"He went out the first four miles a little hot," recalled Roger Schmidt. "I caught up with him just past the turnaround for the 15K."
From the 8K mark to the 20K mark Johnson and Schmidt raced side by side, gradually quickening the pace.
"Roger and I were running together," said Johnson. "We were talking during the race about how we were both trying to do negative splits. Right after that I put the hammer down."
With less than ten kilometers to go, Johnson opened up a gap. Schmidt tried to stay with him.
"Charlie is a master at the aid stations, taking four to eight seconds walking through, getting his fluids, and getting back on the course," said Schmidt. "I skipped two stations trying to make ground on him, but I couldn't catch him. Once he hit the asphalt he really opened up."
Back on the pavement for the end of the race, Johnson expanded his lead to over 200 meters. He was the first back to Bradley's Pond and the finish line, running 1:54:12. Schmidt was second in 1:55:02. Tony Guillen was the top master runner in the race, placing third overall in 2:06:10.
"It was a perfect race for me," said Johnson. "Four out of five times Roger would have taken it, but it was just one of those days for me."
After winning a 50K race at the Tallahassee Ultra Distance Classic in December and the Gulf Winds Track Club 30K in January, Charlie Johnson plans to split the difference between the two long races in February.
"I'm training for the Tallahassee Marathon [on 7 February 2016]," said Johnson. "I've probably run the first half of the course four times in training and the second half at least twice."
Johnson had run faster than his 2016 winning time at the GWTC 30K in 2012, but not Katie Sherron.
"This was my best time on the course," said Sherron.
Indeed, Sherron ran faster than any of her four previous outings at the GWTC 30K, including the runs that earned her the women's title in 2012, 2013, and 2015. It wasn't speed fueled by competition, either. Sherron's 2:16:21 put her across the finish line more than two miles ahead of the next woman in the race. Charlie Johnson felt like he had to keep looking back during the final miles to see if Roger Schmidt was closing in. Even with a clear line of sight, Sherron would have needed binoculars to spot her rivals.
Angela Wable was the top woman master in the long race, the second female finisher and nineteenth overall in 2:33:44. Master runner April Bentley was third in the women's standing, placing 26th overall in 2:48:22.
Top Ten Men, 2016 Gulf Winds Track Club 30K
- 1:54:12 ~ Charlie Johnson (M, 36)
- 1:55:02 ~ Roger Schmidt (M, 24)
- 2:06:10 ~ Tony Guillen (M, 47)
- 2:08:04 ~ Peter Kaus (M, 31)
- 2:09:39 ~ Bobby Duggleby (M, 25)
- 2:10:33 ~ Paul Guyas (M, 38)
- 2:15:26 ~ Eric Godin (M, 31)
- 2:17:40 ~ Michael Nesius (M, 31)
- 2:19:04 ~ Greg Waddell (M, 49)
- 2:24:49 ~ Mark Tombrink (M, 28)
Top Ten Women, 2016 Gulf Winds Track Club 30K
- 2:16:21 ~ Katie Sherron (F, 34)
- 2:33:44 ~ Angela Wable (F, 42)
- 2:48:22 ~ April Bentley (F, 42)
- 2:49:00 ~ Lorien Abbey (F, 48)
- 2:49:00 ~ Shannon McNees (F, 45)
- 2:50:14 ~ Kelly Garland (F, 44)
- 2:50:27 ~ Crystal Douglas (F, 40)
- 2:59:54 ~ Sarah Monbarren (F, 30)
- 2:59:58 ~ Laura McDermott (F, 36)
- 3:00:40 ~ Isabel Anderson (F, 36)
73 athletes finished the GWTC 30K, while another 192 completed the 15K. The fastest of the nearly 200 in the shorter race was Matt Mizereck of Capital City Runners. While on the cross country team at Leon High School, Mizereck had won the 15K in 2007, 2008, and 2010. He hadn't been at the race since that last title, but his return in 2016 was a return to winning. Mizereck went to the front immediately after the start of the race, speeding through the first mile in 5:30. He didn't quite maintain that pace, but Mizereck was never challenged during the 9.3-mile race. He claimed his fourth 15K title with a winning 52:17, averaging about 5:37 per mile. More than half a kilometer back, Leon High junior Matthew Cashin was second in 54:14. Bainbridge High junior Poncherella Leonard took third in 55:24 just ahead of Leon junior Colter Foster, fourth in 55:31.
Adriana Piekarewicz didn't have any history at the 15K, but that didn't prevent her from making some. Finishing more than 1500 meters ahead of the next woman, Piekarewicz placed 13th overall in 1:00:54, winning the women's title. Jillian Heddaeus was women's runner-up in the 15K, coming in 23rd overall in 1:07:50. Leon High junior Zoe Sheldon was third in the women's standings, 26th overall in 1:09:15.
The GWTC 30K has been run annually since 1978. That's 39 different races on five different courses in two different counties. The event has also gone through several different race directors, and after 2016 Jerry and Jackie McDaniel are ending their tenure in that position. The McDaniels have headed the race since 2005, moving it to Bradley's Pond in 2006 and adding the 15K race to the program. The GWTC 30K will turn 40 in 2017 without them, but in a dozen years the McDaniels have already made their mark on the event.
Top Ten Men, 2016 Gulf Winds Track Club 15K
- 52:17 ~ Matt Mizereck (M, 24)
- 54:14 ~ Matthew Cashin (M, 16)
- 55:24 ~ Poncherella Leonard (M, 17)
- 55:31 ~ Colter Foster (M, 17)
- 55:47 ~ Zach Deveau (M, 28)
- 56:00 ~ Gary Droze (M, 54)
- 56:48 ~ Adam Wallenfelsz (M, 18)
- 57:20 ~ Clay Milford (M, 16)
- 57:43 ~ Peter Van Brussel (M, 22)
- 60:25 ~ Daniel Volya (M, 17)
Top Ten Women, 2016 Gulf Winds Track Club 15K
- 60:54 ~ Adriana Piekarewicz (F, 27)
- 67:50 ~ Jillian Heddaeus (F, 32)
- 69:15 ~ Zoe Sheldon (F, 16)
- 71:38 ~ Anna Busby (F, 25)
- 71:59 ~ Grace Lockhart (F, 17)
- 71:59 ~ Caroline Willis (F, 16)
- 71:59 ~ Molly McCann (F, 16)
- 72:00 ~ Anna Gill (F, 16)
- 72:09 ~ Kathleen Whitworth (F, 18)
- 73:27 ~ Jamie Harris (F, 39)
|Gulf Winds Track Club 30K champions, 1978 - 2016|
|16 January 2016||30K||1:54:12, Charlie Johnson||2:16:21, Katie Sherron||73|
|15K||52:17, Matt Mizereck||60:54, Adriana Piekarewicz||192|
|17 January 2015||30K||1:53:19, Nate Kaiser||2:22:32, Katie Sherron||107|
|15K||50:11, Sukhi Khosla||58:37, Sheryl Rosen||165|
|11 January 2014||30K||1:57:29, Vince Molosky||2:34:23, Laura McDermott||55|
|15K||51:06, Sukhi Khosla||61:27, Seeley Gutierrez||169|
|12 January 2013||30K||1:48:22, Stanley Linton||2:16:41, Katie Showman||150|
|15K||52:57, Sukhi Khosla||64:19, Kristin Sweeney||200|
|14 January 2012||30K||1:51:30, Charlie Johnson||2:17:38, Katie Showman||150|
|15K||53:29, Stanley Linton||60:42, Pasca Cheruiyot||176|
|15 January 2011||30K||1:51:48, Vince Molosky||2:17:15, Heather Griffis||103|
|15K||53:03, Stephen Cox||59:55, Lisa Johnson||169|
|16 January 2010||30K||1:56:14, Vince Molosky||2:14:22, Sheryl Rosen||90|
|15K||51:50, Matt Mizereck||63:45, Lisa Johnson||101|
|17 January 2009||30K||1:54:06, Vince Molosky||2:11:41, Sheryl Rosen||87|
|15K||51:05, Will Stanford||61:49, Lisa Johnson||96|
|12 January 2008||30K||2:00:29, Vince Molosky||2:17:24, Sheryl Rosen||77|
|15K||54:23, Matt Mizereck||63:13, Lisa Johnson||126|
|13 January 2007||30K||2:01:23, Justin Dickieson||2:04:21, Sheryl Rosen||70|
|15K||58:18, Matthew Mizereck||73:40, Anna Busby||50|
|21 January 2006||30K||2:03:36, Michael Douma||2:09:27, Stephanie Liles||65|
|15K||58:51, Chris Holland||60:30, Sarah Docter-Williams||59|
|22 January 2005||30K||1:56:18, Art Remillard||2:13:50, Jane Johnson||38|
|16 January 2004||30K||1:56:00, Timothy Bolton||2:09:27, Jane Johnson||69|
|18 January 2003||30K||2:02:28, Larry Mengelkoch||2:07:46, Jane Johnson||59|
|15 December 2001||30K||2:09:43, Tom Ratliffe||2:22:56, Carrie Weyant||31|
|3 February 2001||30K||2:00:29, Kevin Porter||2:02:27, Jane Johnson||43|
|5 February 2000||30K||1:57:47, Garth Grumme||1:53:04, Anne Van Schuppen||77|
|6 February 1999||30K||1:58:17, Doug Gorton||2:11:20, Jane Johnson||87|
|10 January 1998||30K||1:57:45, Clarence Calloway||2:04:34, Jane Johnson||79|
|7 January 1997||30K||1:54:26, Tracy Burch||2:00:28, Jane Johnson|
|13 January 1996||30K||1:46:14, John Viitanen||2:12:30, Eileen Telford||50|
|14 January 1995||30K||1:49:45, Herb Wills||2:22:18, Nancy Stuparich||50|
|22 January 1994||30K||1:43:50, Herb Wills||2:07:27, Lisa Herman||51|
|16 January 1993||30K||1:43:54, Herb Wills||2:12:42, Carrie Hunnicutt||60|
|4 January 1992||30K||1:46:36, Jessie Close||2:13:46, Lynda Nilges||79|
|12 January 1991||30K||1:37:31, David Keen||2:06:03, Paula Johnson||92|
|13 January 1990||30K||1:43:57, Herb Wills||2:12:00, Paula Johnson||87|
|14 January 1989||30K||1:45:31, Jessie Close||2:22:07, Mary Jean Yon||98|
|16 January 1988||30K||1:45:24, Tom Burr||2:10:04, Mae Cleveland||102|
|10 January 1987||30K||1:44:45, Larry Greene||2:11:59, Karen Macharg||82|
|18 January 1986||30K||1:38:54, Herb Wills||2:10:48, Missy James||92|
|14 January 1985||30K||1:45:10, Herb Wills||2:17:56, Mae Cleveland||94|
|14 January 1984||30K||1:43:32, Noel Shumann||2:04:20, Barbara Balzer||99|
|15 January 1983||30K||1:48:18, Andrew Wills||2:18:18, Christy Orthman||100|
|16 January 1982||30K||1:44:41, Rick Miller||1:56:57, Laura Ledbetter||74|
|12 January 1980||30K||1:51:19, Steve Ray||2:48:31, Robyn Anderson||70|
|3 February 1979||30K||1:42:13, Ken Misner||2:12:44, Lynda Heimann||124|
|11 March 1978||30K||1:46:19, Tim Simpkins||2:22:31, Donna Glotzbach||25|
- Complete results of the 2016 Gulf Winds Track Club 30K and 15K at gulfwinds.org
- More photos of the 2016 Gulf Winds Track Club 30K and 15K
- Fred Deckert's photos of the 2016 Gulf Winds Track Club 30K and 15K
- 2015 story, “Kaiser wins the GWTC 30K while Khosla and Rosen tumble records in the 15K”
- 2014 story, “Tough mudders Molosky and McDermott win a messy GWTC 30K”
- 2013 story, “A no-excuse 30K for Linton and Showman”
- 2012 story, “Johnson and Showman roll through the Red Hills in the GWTC 30K”
- 2011 story, “Molosky and Griffis run top 30K times on timeless Old Centerville Road”
- 2010 story, “Molosky and Rosen defend titles at a muddy 30K”
- 2009 story, “2009 Gulf Winds Track Club 30K / 15K”
- 2008 story, “2008 Gulf Winds Track Club 30K”
- USATF course certification map FL06013DL for the Gulf Winds Track Club 30K
- USATF course certification map FL06014DL for the Gulf Winds Track Club 15K
- Find upcoming races, long and short, in the Tallahassee region