Sunday, August 7, 2016

Leininger and Hassett sweep Sizzler for ASICS GTC-Elite

19th annual Saint George Island Sizzler 5KIn spite of years of development, Florida's Saint George Island still has beautiful beaches. Lots of people love the beach. Many of those beach lovers come to Saint George Island. Therefore, you never know who you'll meet on the island. That also goes for the road races on the island, such as the Saint George Island Sizzler 5K. So it was a surprise, but not a shock, that Mark Leininger and Dylan Hassett of ASICS Greenville Track Club Elite appeared at the nineteenth annual Sizzler on Saturday evening, 6 August 2016. Their performances, however, did shock many. Leininger won the race in 15:10, taking down the event record of 15:45 set by Lee Willis in 2002. Dylan Hassett ran 16:59 for the women's title, blasting the Sizzler women's record of 18:39 run by Kara Newell in 2006. 145 athletes finished the 3.1-mile race.

US Navy Ensign Stan Linton, a recent alumnus of the Florida State University cross country team, was at Saint George Island that evening with the Sizzler record on his mind. He found the conditions more than favorable.

"Perfect for the Sizzler," reported Linton. "Cloudy, 80 degrees. The rain had cooled off the run and there was a slight breeze blowing east so half of the race was against the wind and the finish was with the wind. Ideal conditions."

The race got underway at 7:00 PM. With the wind at his back, Linton set an aggressive pace for the field. Leininger wasn't about to let him go, though.

"I took the lead right from the start," said Linton. "He [Leininger] took it from me at 400 meters. By 800 meters he was ten seconds in front of me. It stayed that way to the end."

It did. After cruising the mile mark in 4:43, Leininger made it home first in 15:10 while Linton took second in 15:20, the two fastest times in the nineteen-year history of the Sizzler. Laurent Liote was third in 16:47 and Ryan Slyter, the Franklin County Forester, was fourth in 17:14.

Mark Leininger, Dylan Hassett, Paula O'Neill, Renee Cox, Stan Linton
Mark Leininger, Dylan Hassett, Paula O'Neill, Renee Cox, Stan Linton

On the women's side, Dylan Hassett didn't trifle with ten-second leads. Finishing fourth overall in 16:59, Hassett finished more than 700 meters ahead of the female runner-up. Renee Cox, a University of West Florida cross country runner, was second in the women's standings and tenth overall in 19:51. Cox was the Sizzler women's champ in 2013. Kelsey Elrod was the third woman and seventeenth overall in 21:57.

The fastest master runner in the Sizzler was Philip Sura, a Florida State University meteorology professor. Sura finished ninth overall in 19:22. Paula O'Neill of Tallahassee was the top master woman and fifth female finisher, placing 26th overall in 23:34.

The 2016 Saint George Island Sizzler was sponsored by the Tates Hell Track Club, an organization that seems to exist mostly in the mind of race director Hobson Fulmer. However uncertain the reality of the Tates Hell TC, it is certain that proceeds of the race benefit the very real Franklin County Humane Society. Gulf Winds Track Club of Tallahassee, Florida chip timed both the Sizzler 5K and the one-mile fun run.

Top Ten Men, 2016 St. George Island Sizzler 5K
  1. 15:10 ~ Mark Leininger (M, 25)
  2. 15:20 ~ Stan Linton (M, 22)
  3. 16:47 ~ Laurent Liote (M, 24)
  4. 17:14 ~ Ryan Slyter (M, 26)
  5. 18:17 ~ Paul Guyas (M, 38)
  6. 18:55 ~ Frank Denes (M, 30)
  7. 19:08 ~ Chance Logan (M, 19)
  8. 19:22 ~ Philip Sura (M, 46)
  9. 19:55 ~ Tad David (M, 47)
  10. 20:03 ~ Johnathan Miller (M, 17)

Top Ten Women, 2016 St. George Island Sizzler 5K
  1. 16:59 ~ Dylan Hassett (F, 23)
  2. 19:51 ~ Renee Cox (F, 29)
  3. 21:57 ~ Kelsey Elrod (F, 25)
  4. 23:02 ~ Sarah Denes (F, 28)
  5. 23:34 ~ Paula O'Neill (F, 55)
  6. 23:59 ~ Sam Fortunas (F, 25)
  7. 24:15 ~ Dorothy Thames (F, 34)
  8. 24:22 ~ Becki Webb (F, 51)
  9. 24:24 ~ Sarah Dugas (F, 37)
  10. 24:41 ~ Melissa Zapata (F, 37)

St. George Island Sizzler 5K Champions, 1997 - 2016
21 June 199717:36, Tim Unger21:40, Julie Clark34
13 June 199816:09, Gary Droze22:53, Donna Finney69
12 June 199917:05, Tim Unger19:24, Summer Calder61
10 June 200016:07, Gary Droze21:18, Julie Clark34
2001No race held
15 June 200215:46, Lee Willis18:43, Luanne Coulter53
21 June 200316:44, Caleb Carmichael20:45, Jane Johnson95
12 June 200416:42, Caleb Carmichael19:48, Kara Newell77
18 June 200516:02, Alex Miletich20:53, Angela Dempsey142
24 June 200617:24, Robert Beazley18:39, Kara Newell169
23 June 200717:02, Jasen Fulghum20:41, Jane Johnson106
28 June 200816:44, Tripp Southerland19:11, Stephanie Liles175
27 June 200916:53, John Robida19:47, Kelsey Scheitlin214
26 June 201019:06, Carl Nordhielm22:06, Nancy Stedman147
25 June 201117:06, Brandon Hough22:44, Nicole Reichenbach218
11 August 201216:25, Vince Molosky21:58, Polina Bondarenko280
10 August 201316:16, Caleb Carmichael20:28, Renee Cox318
9 August 201418:02, Carl Nordhielm20:25, Polina Bondarenko222
8 August 201517:05, Roger Schmidt18:53, Katie Fackler181
6 August 201615:10, Mark Leininger16:59, Dylan Hassett145
The 1997 race was called the Summer Island 5K.


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