Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Mark Parrish turns a 4:23 on the Gainesville roads at the Frank Shorter Mile

Florida Track ClubBack in 1972, the year of the Munich Olympic Games, when we thought about milers we thought about Jim Ryun, who held the world and american records in the event. Marty Liquori, Ryun's rival at the distance, might also come to mind. We might even have considered Steve Prefontaine--not quite as accomplished a miler as either Ryun or Liquori, but certainly a more vocal one. Frank Shorter, though, wouldn't have come to mind. Shorter wasn't even a sub-4:00 man; his strength was in the longer races.

But Liquori didn't make the Olympic team that year, and at the Games Ryun didn't make it to the final. Prefontaine came home from Munich without a medal. It was Shorter who won Olympic Gold that year, albeit in the marathon. Also, Shorter was a member of the Florida Track Club at the time. So in 2016, when that Gainesville, Florida club staged their first New Year's Day road mile, they called it the Frank Shorter Mile. The name stuck, and the second annual Frank Shorter Road Mile was held at noon on Sunday, 1 January 2017.

Former University of Florida track man Mark Parrish won the second annual event, running 4:23. His former teammate, Eduardo Garcia, took second in 4:27. Michael Twist, a cross-country runner for the Elizabethtown College Blue Jays, was third in 44:40. Rob Robins of Gainesville was the fastest master runner in the mile, finishing ninth overall in 5:09.

Georganne Watson took the women's title with a 5:13, good for tenth overall. The battle for second in the women's standings was closely fought between Betsy Suda, the 2016 women's champ, and Abraham Lincoln Middle School's Ani Veltcheva, the 2016 Florida state champion in middle school cross-country. Suda prevailed at the finish line, running 5:23 to Veltcheva's 5:24. The two athletes were twelfth and thirteenth overall.

The top three men were awarded cash prizes of $200, $100, and $50, with the top three women receiving identical amounts. Age group winners received bottles of sparkling wine. Appropriate adjustments were made when the awards conflicted with regulations regarding amateur status or laws about the drinking age.

90 athletes finished the 2017 Frank Shorter Road Mile. Start 2 Finish Race Management timed the event.

Top Ten Men, Florida Track Club's 2017 Frank Shorter Road Mile
  1. 4:23, Mark Parrish (M, 25) Clermont, FL
  2. 4:27, Eduardo Garcia (M, 24) Gainesville, FL
  3. 4:40, Michael Twist (M, 22) Voorhees, NJ
  4. 4:45, Mike Hensley (M, 31) Gainesville, FL
  5. 4:50, Ravi Kumar (M, 22) Gainesville, FL
  6. 4:52, Andrew Merrill (M, 23) Starke, FL
  7. 5:01, Michael Rosato (M, 28) Gainesville, FL
  8. 5:08, Cade Monk (M, 15) Gainesville, FL
  9. 5:09, Rob Robins (M, 44) Gainesville, FL
  10. 5:19, Paul Spangler (M, 41) Gainesville, FL

Top Ten Women, Florida Track Club's 2017 Frank Shorter Road Mile
  1. 5:13, Georganne Watson (F, 31) Gainesville, FL
  2. 5:23, Betsy Suda (F, 35) Gainesville, FL
  3. 5:24, Ani Veltcheva (F, 12) Gainesville, FL
  4. 5:33, Stephanie McGrail (F, 30) Gainesville, FL
  5. 5:40, Mandy Harrell (F, 32) Gainesville, FL
  6. 5:50, Cynthia Spangler (F, 38) Gainesville, FL
  7. 6:04, Sheyenne Nelson (F, 21) Lake Butler, FL
  8. 6:08, Sarah Wiiman (F, 42) ,
  9. 6:13, Michele Richards (F, 36) Gainesville, FL
  10. 6:18, Lara Drondoski (F, 22) Gainesville, FL

Frank Shorter Road Mile winners, 2016 - 2017
1 January 20164:40, Enoch Nadler5:30, Betsy Suda55
1 January 20174:23, Mark Parrish5:13, Georganne Watson90


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