Saturday, April 9, 2016

Phillips and Tinger win the Worm Gruntin' 5K

As themes for small town festivals go Sopchoppy, Florida's Worm Gruntin' Festival isn't that unusual. Other towns in the regions have celebrations centered around possums, fire ants, gnats, rattlesnakes, and wild chickens. Just down the highway, Panacea has a blue crab festival. If you can have a festival about consuming crustaceans, why not one about harvesting annelids? Still, the Worm Gruntin' Festival has inspired some disturbing artwork. Earthworms in bikini tops? Try to forget that image next time you're digging in the garden or baiting a fishhook.


Fortunately, Sopchoppy's annual celebration has also inspired the Worm Gruntin' Festival 5K, raced most recently on Saturday morning, 9 April 2016. Wakulla High alumnus Matthew Phillips won the race, edging Brian Tinger of Beverly, Massachusetts 17:22 to 17:25. Michael Martinez of Tallahassee, Florida was the fastest master runner in the race, finishing third overall in 18:36.


Beverly, Massachusetts athlete Mariah Tinger took the women's title, placing seventh overall in 20:22. Wakulla High cross country runner Connie Lewis finished runner-up in the women's standings and eleventh overall in 21:41. Jenny Early was the third woman in the race, fifteenth overall in 23:17.


In case you were wondering, worm gruntin' (which is also called worm fiddling) is the art of using vibrations to drive earthworms to the surface where they can be collected as fish bait. Science has shown that worm gruntin' works, but remains silent on the question of why. We may forever only be able to speculate about the motives of worms.


154 athletes finished the 2016 Worm Gruntin' Festival 5K. Miles and Minutes, LLC, of Tallahassee, Florida timed and scored the race.


Top Ten Men, 2016 Worm Gruntin' Festival 5K
  1. 17:21.91 ~ Matthew Phillips (M, 21)
  2. 17:24.24 ~ Brian Tinger (M, 38)
  3. 18:35.61 ~ Michael Martinez (M, 50)
  4. 19:06.53 ~ Lane Williams (M, 20)
  5. 19:22.02 ~ Duane Evans (M, 48)
  6. 20:20.38 ~ Caleb Forehand (M, 19)
  7. 20:55.13 ~ Michael Cipriano (M, 58)
  8. 21:34.48 ~ David Harrell (M, 30)
  9. 21:37.40 ~ Scott Stewart (M, 46)
  10. 21:56.36 ~ Tyler Scott (M, 29)

Top Ten Women, 2016 Worm Gruntin' Festival 5K
  1. 20:21.28 ~ Mariah Tinger (F, 38)
  2. 21:40.95 ~ Connie Lewis (F, 17)
  3. 23:16.83 ~ Jenny Early (F, 32)
  4. 24:38.35 ~ Emily Smith (F, 31)
  5. 24:48.53 ~ Hannah Wheatcraft (F, 16)
  6. 25:20.76 ~ Dionne Wilson (F, 27)
  7. 25:45.58 ~ Jeanna Prisco (F, 19)
  8. 26:10.99 ~ Jennifer Horvath (F, 33)
  9. 27:11.98 ~ Nancy Lewis (F, 50)
  10. 27:34.10 ~ Heather Gatten (F, 24)

Known winners of the Sopchoppy, Florida, Worm Grunting Festival 5K, 2003 - 2016
DateMenWomenFinishers
12 April 2003
10 April 2004
9 April 200518:36, Mackey Tyndall20:57, Julie Clark59
8 April 2006Karl HempelKarmen Duchon55
14 April 200720:11, Brett TempletonSydney Nutting56
14 April 201217:27, Stanley Linton23:00, Julie Rose Travis111
13 April 201315:56, Stanley Linton21:46, Emily Smith139
12 April 201420:48, Travis Parks21:20, Kayla Webbe140
11 April 201517:45, Chase Savary22:05, Hannah Wheatcraft153
9 April 201617:22, Matthew Phillips20:22, Mariah Tinger154


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