Many holidays change dates from year to year so as to fall on a Monday, but Veterans Day in always on 11 November. Some Veterans Day road races change dates from year to year so as to fall on a Saturday, but Tallahassee's VetFest 5K has always been on Veterans Day. The race started at 8:30 with the runners hurtling down East Park Avenue toward Franklin Boulevard, losing nearly 100 feet of elevation in the first 600 yards. There was plenty of uphill ahead to make up for that downhill, as the race circled Myers Park before returning downtown. Vince Molosky took the early lead, but he was being stalked by two Ph.D. students from the Florida State University Department of Mathematics--Matt McCurdy and Nick Yaeger.
"A little after a mile in, Nick and I had caught up and we made a move to get some ground between us and the third place runner," recalled McCurdy.
McCurdy and Yeager continued to run together until the last mile. Climbing the hill on South Monroe Street opened a gap, then cruised to a 16:41 win. Yaeger was a close second in 16:47. Vince Molosky took third in 17:14, and Chris Lake was fourth in 17:42.
McCurdy runs for a Center College alumni group, Fortius Duckface Track Club. He and Yaeger have left their high school and college running days behind them, but Alyson Churchill has only just started down that road. Churchill has already racked up accomplishments that would be the pinnacle of most athletes' careers. Just six days before the Vetfest 5K, she won Florida's State High School Cross Country Championship, concluding a remarkable first cross-country season at Lincoln High where she won seven races while losing only one. Churchill had run 19:50 in the 2015 VetFest 5K. Returning for the 2016 race, she improved that mark to 18:00.
"Today was not supposed to be a hard race for me and I was not expecting to get as fast of a time as I did," commented Churchill. "Honestly I think it helped me out a lot not being so nervous going into the race."
Jillian Heddaeus was second in the women's standings and thirteenth overall in 21:08. Lincoln High cross-country runner Megan Churchill was the third woman and fourteenth overall in 22:03, and Swift Creek Middle cross-country runner Paige Churchill was the fourth female finisher and sixteenth overall in 23:00.
Michael Cipriano was the fastest master runner in the race, the twelfth male finisher and fifteenth overall in 21:39. Paula O'Neill was the top woman master and seventh female finisher, 27th overall in 23:17.
There's still more racing ahead for the winners of the VetFest 5K. Alyson Churchill plans to compete at the Foot Locker Cross Country South Regional Championships at Charlotte, North Carolina's McAlpine Park on 26 November 2016. Matt McCurdy is looking forward to the Tallahassee Turkey Trot on 24 November 2016.
Top Ten Men, 2016 Tallahassee VetFest 5K
- 16:41 ~ Matt McCurdy (M, 23)
- 16:47 ~ Nick Yaeger (M, 22)
- 17:14 ~ Vince Molosky (M, 37)
- 17:42 ~ Chris Lake (M, 29)
- 17:54 ~ Grady Smith (M, 39)
- 18:16 ~ Jim Halley (M, 37)
- 19:22 ~ Paul Guyas (M, 39)
- 20:04 ~ Matthias Laywell (M, 18)
- 20:12 ~ Lane Williams (M, 20)
- 20:19 ~ John Schwenkler (M, 35)
Top Ten Women, 2016 Tallahassee VetFest 5K
- 18:00 ~ Alyson Churchill (F, 14)
- 21:08 ~ Jillian Heddaeus (F, 33)
- 21:20 ~ Megan Churchill (F, 14)
- 22:03 ~ Paige Churchill (F, 11)
- 23:00 ~ Kristin Halley (F, 35)
- 23:13 ~ Layla Thompson (F, 11)
- 23:17 ~ Paula O'Neill (F, 55)
- 23:26 ~ Alyssa Terry (F, 23)
- 23:42 ~ Laura Sellati (F, 37)
- 23:43 ~ Deirdre McCarthy (F, 37)
|Tallahassee VetFest 5K winners, 2011 - 2016|
|14 November 2011||16:20, Alex Smyth||22:50, Sandy Holt||169|
|12 November 2012||19:12, James Taylor||21:34, Kelly Brennan||112|
|11 November 2013||15:57, Chris Rego||20:01, Renee Cox||147|
|11 November 2014||17:45, Adam Greenstein||19:06, Katie Sherron||191|
|11 November 2015||17:02, Gary Droze||18:24, Katie Sherron||255|
|11 November 2016||16:41, Matt McCurdy||18:00, Alyson Churchill||191|
- Complete results of the 2016 Tallahassee VetFest 5K at gulfwinds.org
- Fred Deckert's photos of the 2016 Tallahassee VetFest 5K
- 2015 story, “Droze and Sherron swiftly salute veterans at the VetFest 5K”
- 2014 story, “Victory at VetFest for Greenstein and Sherron”
- 2013 story, “Veterans Day victories for Chris Rego and Renee Cox”
- 2012 story, “James Taylor and Kelly Brennan cruise at Allen Beal 5K”
- 2011 story, “Veteran's Day victories for Smyth and Holt”
- USATF Course Certification Map for the 2016 VetFest 5K
[ COMING SOON! PLEASE CHECK BACK! ]
- Find a race to run on the next patriotic holiday using the Trouble Afoot! calendar