Saturday, May 21, 2016

Kiros and Cook conquer the Catfish Crawl

When the athletes lined up in Blountstown, Florida on Saturday morning, 21 May 2016, for the fifth annual Catfish Crawl 5K, there were two past champions among them. Florida A & M University distance runner Thomas Howell, who had won the race in 2014, was there, as was the 2015 winner, Michael Martinez of Tallahassee, Florida. At the end of the race, though, it was a newcomer who was first across the finish line. Tallahassee master runner Geb Kiros, in his first time at the Catfish Crawl, won the 5K race in 18:08. On the women's side, Blountstown's Chelsee Cook won for the first time, placing ninth overall in 21:37.


The race started from the Mariana & Blountstown Railroad Park with the runners headed south on the Blountstown Rail Trail. The sky was starting to clear from an overnight rainstorm, but the air was still thick with humidity. A lead group of three runners separated from the field, with Geb Kiros setting the pace and Ryan Truchelut and Thomas Howell following. Jesse Boyd trailed in third a few more meters back while Michael Martinez ran in fifth, out of contact with the leaders.

2016 Catfish Crawl 5K leaders

"I made the mistake of trying to stay with Geb for the first mile," said Truchelut. "He made a move at halfway. The last mile was rough."


The course was out and back, and the halfway point, where Kiros surged, was the turnaround. Kiros almost missed it.


"At the turn I went a little bit further and the other two guys got ahead of me," explained Kiros. "That upset me, so I made a move."


Howell fell back first, and by the two-mile mark Kiros had also dropped Truchelut. After that Kiros sailed to his appointment with the finish line, arriving first in 18:08.


"I just enjoyed it," said Kiros. "I think I left something on the course."

Jesse Boyd
Jesse Boyd

While Kiros was running away from the rest of the field, Jesse Boyd was moving up. A rising junior on the Blountstown High cross country team, Boyd overtook Howell during the last mile. Then, with the finish line in sight, Boyd caught Truchelut.


"He went by me with about a tenth of a mile to go," said Truchelut. "He was blazing! He put a lot of ground on me."


Sprinting to the finish, Boyd was second in 18:22, while Truchelut took third in 18:30. Howell was fourth in 19:04 and Martinez fifth in 19:12.


Tallahassee master runner Nancy Stedman led the women's field on most of the southbound leg of the race. Blountstown's own Chelsee Cook had her eye on the leader, though.

Chelsee Cook
Chelsee Cook

"I saw she was the fastest, so I set my goal to get her," said Cook.


She did. After passing Stedman, Cook opened a gap that had widened to 250 meters by the time she crossed the finish line in 21:37, winning the women's title. Stedman was the first woman master and second female finisher, twelfth overall in 22:46. Wewahitchka, Florida master runner Lydia Miles, the 2014 women's champ, was third in the women's standings and fourteenth overall in 23:28. Paula O'Neill (15th, 23:34) of Tallahassee was the fourth female finisher and Tallahassee's Lyssa Oberkreser (16th, 23:47) was the fifth.


The women's winner, Chelsee Cook, is a rising senior at Blountstown High, where she is looking forward to her final high school cross country season.


"I made it to Regionals last year, so my goal is to make it to State this year--my senior year," said Cook.

Nancy Stedman
Nancy Stedman

132 athletes finished the fifth annual Catfish Crawl. Held each year on the third Saturday in May, proceeds of the race benefit the Blountstown Fire Department's scholarship fund. The fund awards a full scholarship to the Chipola College Fire Academy to a deserving Blountstown High senior each year. Milestone Race Authority of Jacksonville, Florida timed the 2016 race.


Thomas HowellTop Ten Men, 2016 Catfish Crawl 5K
  1. 18:08 ~ Geb Kiros (M, 49)
  2. 18:22 ~ Jesse Boyd (M, 16)
  3. 18:30 ~ Ryan Truchelut (M, 30)
  4. 19:04 ~ Thomas Howell (M, 19)
  5. 19:12 ~ Michael Martinez (M, 50)
  6. 21:03 ~ Ivan Cortes (M, 35)
  7. 21:07 ~ Spencer Amsellem (M, 14)
  8. 21:23 ~ Paul Plazarin (M, 46)
  9. 22:02 ~ Greg Skinner (M, 45)
  10. 22:29 ~ Mark McCarra (M, 51)

Lydia MilesTop Ten Women, 2016 Catfish Crawl 5K
  1. 21:37 ~ Chelsee Cook (F, 17)
  2. 22:46 ~ Nancy Stedman (F, 54)
  3. 23:28 ~ Lydia Miles (F, 43)
  4. 23:34 ~ Paula O'Neill (F, 54)
  5. 23:47 ~ Lyssa Oberkreser (F, 45)
  6. 25:49 ~ Lessa Bates (F, 32)
  7. 26:12 ~ Carla Elliott (F, 54)
  8. 27:39 ~ Debbie Peters (F, 55)
  9. 28:05 ~ Paulette Bryant (F, 43)
  10. 28:07 ~ Shann Layne (F, 33)

Blountstown Fire Department Catfish Crawl 5K champions, 2012 - 2016
DateMenWomenFinishers
19 May 201217:45, Billy Naylor21:41, Hannah Plazarin96
18 May 201316:38, Billy Naylor23:45, Hannah Plazarin128
17 May 201417:23, Thomas Howell25:05, Lydia Miles117
15 May 201517:47, Michael Martinez22:41, Kristi Johnson135
20 May 201618:08, Geb Kiros21:37, Chelsee Cook132


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