Saturday, July 30, 2016

Alyson Churchill motors to victory on the Cadillac Trail

During 2015 Alyson Churchill won the women's title at each of the four races of Gulf Winds Track Club's Summer Trail Series. A stress fracture kept her out of the first three races of the 2016 series, but two days before the finale on the Cadillac Trail, Churchill got medical clearance to run again. Run she did. On Saturday evening, 30 July 2016, fourteen-year-old Alyson Churchill won the Cadillac Trail Race, covering the rugged course through Tallahassee, Florida's Lafayette Heritage Park in 42:29. Paul Guyas was the first male finisher, coming in second overall in 43:06.

"The course is 5.6 miles," race director Jim Halley announced at the starting line. "Give or take."

Trails being what they are, he probably wasn't entitled to two significant figures.

Alyson Churchill
Alyson Churchill

Five-and-a-half miles or six, the race started just after 6:00 PM. After a short dash along the Goose Pond Trail, the runners left the pavement to turn onto the Cadillac Trail. Paul Guyas led the field through the woods with Eric Godin close behind. Godin had won the second of the first three Summer Trail Series events, the Oak Hammock Trail Race. Godin had trailed Guyas in the other two races, though, with Dan Baur taking the top spot. After about a mile on the Cadillac Trail, Godin made his move.

"I tried to push the pace early on because I'm comfortable on these trails," said Godin. "I run out here more than any of the other trail series courses."

Godin wasn't out front long, though. "Eric jumped past me after the first mile," said Guyas. "Then I passed him back."

"He passed me," said Godin. "And shortly after that Alyson did too."

Paul Guyas
Paul Guyas

Alyson Churchill had been stalking the two leaders nearly since the start of the race. Overtaking Godin, she set her sights on Guyas. She caught him close to halfway through the race.

"It was about 2.8 miles," said Churchill. "I looked on my watch. He actually asked if it was me."

"I didn't know who it was," said Guyas. "But it had to be Alyson."

The second half of the race and the win belonged to Churchill as she finished the course in 42:29. Guyas took second in 43:06, while Greg Bargo overtook Eric Godin to finish third in 44:45. Godin was fourth in 45:25. Katie Gorman, the top woman in the first three Summer Trail Series races, was runner-up in the women's standings at Cadillac Trail. Gorman placed fifth overall in 46:30.

Eric Godin, Greg Bargo
Eric Godin and Greg Bargo

It wasn't just Churchill's first race in the Summer Trail Series, it was her first race of any kind since April. Churchill hadn't been able to compete since the Leon County Middle School Track and Field Championships on 20 April 2016.

"I had a stress fracture," explained Churchill. "I didn't get to go to the State Meet which was disappointing."

Churchill put that disappointment behind her on the Cadillac Trail. What's next?

"Cross country season," said Churchill. "I'm excited to be running high school cross country."

Which high school would that be?

"Lincoln!" said Churchill

Katie Gorman
Katie Gorman

Jocelyn ChanTop Ten Women, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2016 Cadillac Trail 5½-Mile
  1. 42:29, Alyson Churchill
  2. 46:30, Katie Gorman
  3. Jocelyn Chan
  4. Megan Churchill
  5. Monica Judd
  6. Laura Sellati
  7. Brook Pace
  8. Martha Guyas
  9. Kelly Garland
  10. Christie Pontis

Jeremy FowlerTop Ten Men, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2016 Cadillac Trail 5½-Mile
  1. 43:06, Paul Guyas
  2. 44:45, Greg Bargo
  3. 45:25, Eric Godin
  4. 47:02, Jeremy Fowler
  5. 47:05, Brian Molen
  6. 47:54, John Schwenkler
  7. 48:59, Hal Fravel
  8. 49:10, Mark Sobczak
  9. 49:26, Chad Johnson
  10. 49:46, James Wilkinson

Winners of Gulf Winds Track Club's Cadillac Trail 5½-Mile Race, 2013 - 2016
22 June 201337:38, Kevin Sullivan45:07, Stephanie Liles-Weyant121
2 August 201441:38, Brian Molen48:25, Emily Molen88
30 May 201539:15, Zach Deveau42:51, Alyson Churchill158
30 July 201643:06, Paul Guyas42:29, Alyson Churchill

A Summary of Gulf Winds Track Club's 2016 Summer Trail Series
DateRaceTop MaleTop FemaleFinishers
May 21Magnolia Trail 3½M25:18, Dan Baur27:05, Katie Gorman133
June 4Oak Hammock Trail 5½M42:53, Eric Godin45:24, Katie Gorman123
July 9Red Bug Trail 4½M33:14, Dan Baur35:04, Katie Gorman130
July 30Cadillac Trail 5½M43:06, Paul Guyas42:29, Alyson Churchill


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