Saturday, June 4, 2016

Godin and Gorman triumph on the trail at Oak Hammock

Dashing away from the field in the final 800 meters, Eric Godin won the Oak Hammock Trail Race, the second event in Gulf Winds Track Club's 2016 Summer Trail Series. Katie Gorman got her second women's title in the series, placing fourth overall. 123 athletes finished the nine-kilometer race, held on the north side of Tallahassee, Florida in Phipps Park on Saturday morning, 4 June 2016.


"What would you say is the difference in elevation between the lowest point on the course and the highest point on the course?" wondered one of the athletes after the race.

2016 Oak Hammock Trail Race
The leaders with two miles to go

It was a natural question to ask after five-and-a-half miles on hilly trails. The run had started north of the park's soccer fields, a bit over 200 feet above sea level, then headed for Lake Jackson, less than 100 feet above sea level. After descending nearly to the shores of the lake halfway through the run, the course took the athletes back to the soccer fields and the finish line. This meant that not only was there a net elevation difference of over 100 feet, but that the second half of the race was mostly uphill--the half of the race when the trail runners were already tired, and the morning temperatures had started to rise.


On the way down toward the lake, a lead pack of three runners opened a gap on the field--Eric Godin, Paul Guyas, and Greg Bargo. Bargo was a veteran of five earlier trail series races, including a win in the 2015 Red Bug Trail Run. Guyas had run four series races since 2013 and Godin two, but neither had posted a win. Bargo had the better record, but maybe Guyas and Godin were hungrier. Whatever their reasons, the three stayed together out front for the entire mostly-downhill first half of the race, and also for the better part of the mostly-uphill second half of the race. Finally, though, that changed.


"We were all together till about five miles, then I went," said Godin. "I knew that Paul had a kick, so I had to make a move with about half a mile to go. I had run the course a week ago so I knew where that was. I think Paul suffered from not knowing the course."

Katie Gorman
Katie Gorman

Godin surged ahead. Bargo went with him at first, but then fell back to be overtaken by Guyas. Back at the soccer fields Godin crossed the finish line in 42:53, securing his first Summer Trail Series victory. Guyas was second in 43:03 and Bargo third in 43:11.


At the first Summer Trail Series event of the year, the Magnolia Trail Race on 21 May 2016, the top three women had been Katie Gorman, Meg Ogle, and Jocelyn Chan. At the Oak Hammock Trail Race the same trio was at the top of the women's standings--Gorman finishing fourth overall in 45:23, Ogle seventh overall in 46:06, and Chan sixteenth overall in 51:46. For each of the three runners it was also their second Trail Series race. However, Gorman had finished 84 seconds ahead of Ogle at Magnolia Trail, but the margin was down to 43 seconds at Oak Hammock. Was it and indication of even closer races in the women's division in the remaining events of the Trail Series?

Meg Ogle
Meg Ogle

There are, after all, two more races in the 2016 Summer Trail Series. Race directors Jim and Kristin Halley were relieved to have the Oak Hammock Trail in the books, but the second half of the season is still ahead--the Red Bug Trail Race on 9 July 2016 and the Cadillac Trail Race on 30 July 2016.


Brian MolenTop Ten Men, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2016 Oak Hammock Trail 5½-Mile Race
  1. 42:53 ~ Eric Godin (M, 32)
  2. 43:03 ~ Paul Guyas (M, 38)
  3. 43:10 ~ Greg Bargo (M, 33)
  4. 45:57 ~ Jeremy Fowler (M, 28)
  5. 45:59 ~ Brian Molen (M, 40)
  6. 47:06 ~ John Schwenkler (M, 34)
  7. 48:34 ~ Mark Sobczak (M, 38)
  8. 48:52 ~ Hal Fravel (M, 35)
  9. 49:58 ~ James Wilkinson (M, 33)
  10. 50:47 ~ Juan Ordonez (M, 42)

Jocelyn ChanTop Ten Women, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2016 Oak Hammock Trail 5½-Mile Race
  1. 45:24 ~ Katie Gorman (F, 24)
  2. 46:07 ~ Meg Ogle (F, 25)
  3. 51:46 ~ Jocelyn Chan (F, 27)
  4. 53:35 ~ Monica Judd (F, 42)
  5. 55:43 ~ Vaishali Desai (F, 29)
  6. 57:44 ~ Martha Guyas (F, 32)
  7. 58:24 ~ Alyssa Terry (F, 22)
  8. 58:51 ~ Megan Churchill (F, 14)
  9. 59:49 ~ Jennifer Powell (F, 34)
  10. 60:41 ~ Loranne Ausley (F, 52)

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