For Linton, recently commissioned as a US Navy Ensign, it was the fourth road race win in a row and his second during the Memorial Day weekend. It was also his fourth win in the Memorial Day 5K. He hadn't made it a secret that he would be chasing a fast time in Bainbridge. "Course record is in danger," Linton announced a week before the race. "Calling on all runners to help take it down."
Any help that Linton got during the race came from Poncherella Leonard, a rising senior on the Bainbridge High cross country team. Leonard shadowed Linton early in the race, encouraging a strong pace.
"I thought he was right behind me," said Linton, speaking about the two-kilometer mark of the 5K.
By then, though, Leonard had fallen back, giving up nearly nine seconds to Linton. Whether or not he was aware that he had dropped Leonard, Linton was charged up at that point of the race, calling out his mile split to a spectator.
"4:56!" he shouted. Usually coaches call splits to their athletes.
Excitement alone won't get you to the finish line, but Linton also had experience and hundreds of miles of training on his side. Continuing to leave the rest of the field behind, he ran home first in 15:39.
"The last mile was hard," said Linton. "But I got it."
Leonard was second in 16:17, and Wakulla High rising senior Bryce Cole third in 17:23. Tallahassee, Florida's Paul Guyas took fourth in 18:12. Chase Harris, the 2014 Memorial Day Night Race champion, took fifth in 18:42. Myles Gibson of Donalsonville, Georgia was the fastest master runner in the race, placing sixth overall in 18:47.
A month earlier Stan Linton had graduated from Florida State University. Likewise, Rachel Dorris had just graduated from Berry College. Dorris was a Berry Viking distance runner from 2012-2016, a sequel to her years of running on the teams at Creekview High in Canton, Georgia. On a visit to Bainbridge, she decided to run the Memorial Day Night Race, an event where no woman had ever broken 20:00. In fact, no woman had ever gone under 21:00 at the race.
In 2016, though, two women went sub-20:00. Columbus State University distance runner Amber Braswell, a Bainbridge native, also beat that standard. While Dorris led the ladies early, Braswell wasn't far behind. Braswell was also familiar with the event, having raced it in 2010 as a Bainbridge High cross country runner.
"I thought I might be able to catch her," said Braswell.
Dorris' margin only widened, though, as she ran to the finish line in 19:38 for the women's title. Braswell took second in the women's standings, placing twelfth overall in 19:58. Truett-McConnell College cross country runner Margaret Wiedeman was the third woman, nineteenth overall in 22:06. Paula O'Neill of Tallahassee was the first woman master and fourth female finisher, placing 22nd overall in 23:50.
The Bainbridge Memorial Day 5K Night Race has been hosted each year since 2007 by the Bainbridge High cross country team. The race is a fundraiser for the program.
Top Ten Men, 2016 Bainbridge Memorial Day 5K Night Race
- 15:38.24 ~ Stan Linton (M, 22)
- 16:16.16 ~ Poncherella Leonard (M, 18)
- 17:22.03 ~ Bryce Cole (M, 17)
- 18:11.65 ~ Paul Guyas (M, 38)
- 18:41.59 ~ Chase Harris (M, 19)
- 18:46.84 ~ Myles Gibson (M, 49)
- 19:12.75 ~ Travis Parks (M, 20)
- 19:20.55 ~ Greg Waddell (M, 50)
- 19:38.32 ~ Kyle Harris (M, 22)
- 19:53.36 ~ Lane Williams (M, 20)
Top Ten Women, 2016 Bainbridge Memorial Day 5K Night Race
- 19:37.78 ~ Rachel Dorris (F, 22)
- 19:57.89 ~ Amber Braswell (F, 21)
- 22:05.23 ~ Margaret Wiedeman (F, 20)
- 23:49.27 ~ Paula O'Neill (F, 54)
- 25:18.97 ~ Martha Guyas (F, 31)
- 25:26.40 ~ Julie Genovar (F, 30)
- 25:35.22 ~ Viviana Schuyler (F, 13)
- 25:59.86 ~ Camry Fillingame (F, 16)
- 26:48.42 ~ Suzanne Angell (F, 50)
- 27:08.45 ~ Julie Harris (F, 50)
|Bainbridge Memorial Day 5K Night Run|
Champions, 2007 - 2016
|28 May 2007||???||???|
|26 May 2008||18:36, Caleb Bergon||23:05, Rachel Willis|
|25 May 2009||16:11, Tyler Price||23:16, Erica Pemberton|
|31 May 2010||17:35, Gabriel Leitz||23:12, Perra Harrell|
|30 May 2011||17:06, Stanley Linton||22:02, Paula O'Neill|
|28 May 2012||16:17, Stanley Linton||21:46, Tiffany Roddenberry|
|27 May 2013||15:46, Stanley Linton||25:41, Emily Jensenius|
|26 May 2014||17:30, Chase Harris||22:57, Cora Atkinson|
|25 May 2015||17:46, Michael Martinez||21:33, Haleigh Martin|
|30 May 2016||15:39, Stan Linton||19:38, Rachel Dorris|
- Complete results of the 2016 Bainbridge Memorial Day 5K Night Race at gulfwinds.org
- More photos of the 2016 Bainbridge Memorial Day 5K Night Race
- 2015 story, “Bainbridge Memorial Day wins for Martinez and Martin”
- 2014 story, “Night time is the right time for Harris and Atkinson in Bainbridge”
- 2013 story, “Three years in the Memorial Day 5K winner's circle for Linton”
- 2012 story, “Linton and Roddenberry beat Beryl in Bainbridge”
- 2011 story, “Linton and O'Neill fleet in the streets of Bainbridge”
- 2010 story, “Leitz and Harrell rule the night in Bainbridge”
- 2009 story, “The Price is Right--Tyler Price's 16:11 wins the Memorial Day 5K”
- Find your next night run, day run, or morning run in the Tallahassee region