The Bobcat 5K was a cross-country run, with all the hills and challenging footing characteristic of cross-country. March isn't thought of as cross-country season in the United States; it's actually in the heart of track season. In fact, while the Bobcat 5K was run, competition on Florida State University's Mike Long Track was raging during the FSU Relays. But America's sports seasons aren't a law of nature. That same weekend, athletes raced at the World Cross-Country Championships in Kampala, Uganda. Surely, that would inspire any enthusiast of the sport to get out for their own run on the turf.
Kyle Spratt and Kolby Spratt certainly had credentials as cross-country runners. Seventh graders at Swift Creek Middle School, both had raced on the Swift Creek boys' cross-country team during the 2015 season, and again during the 2016 season when their school won the county championship. If love of cross-country wasn't already enough to get them out to the Alford Greenway for the Bobcat 5K, then there was the added incentive that the two were alumni of Buck Lake Elementary School, the host of the race.
Kyle Spratt tore into the lead right after the start of the race. Kolby Spratt wasn't as quick off the starting line, but by halfway through the race he was running second, just a few steps behind Kyle. Kolby continued to shadow Kyle throughout the rest of the race, but couldn't overtake him. Kyle got the win in 20:41, with Kolby second in 20:42. Rich Heitmeyer took third in 20:54, with Vince Molosky fourth in 21:02.
Laura McDermott teaches at Buck Lake. "I had to run here!" said McDermott. "This is my school!"
Patriotism for Buck Lake got McDermott to the race, but it didn't get her first place in the women's standings. Stacie Elliott took that honor, leading the women's field from start to finish and running 21:32. McDermott was runner-up on the women's side and eighth overall in 21:49. Lauren Whittier, an eighth-grader on the Swift Creek cross-country team, was the third female finisher and ninth overall in 23:10.
Mark Kasper was the fastest master runner in the race, placing tenth overall in 23:58. Marie Dennis was the first woman master, finishing fourth in the women's standings and eleventh overall in 24:17.
The Buck Lake Elementary School Parent-Teacher Organization staged the Bobcat Family Trail Run as a benefit for the school. 102 athletes finished the 5K and another 86 completed a one-mile fun run. Gulf Winds Track Club chip-timed both races.
Top Ten Men, 2017 Bobcat Family Trail Run 5K
- 20:41, Kyle Spratt (M, 13)
- 20:42, Kolby Spratt (M, 13)
- 20:54, Rich Heitmeyer (M, 36)
- 21:02, Vince Molosky (M, 37)
- 21:19, Marcial Lopez-Marre (M, 16)
- 21:39, Carter Quiggins (M, 12)
- 23:58, Mark Kasper (M, 56)
- 24:54, Daniel Faulkner (M, 27)
- 25:15, Cooper Ballantine (M, 8)
- 25:15, John Davis (M, 34)
Top Ten Women, 2017 Bobcat Family Trail Run 5K
- 21:32, Stacie Elliott (F, 35)
- 21:49, Laura McDermott (F, 37)
- 23:10, Lauren Whittier (F, 14)
- 24:17, Marie Dennis (F, 42)
- 26:02, Laura York (F, 40)
- 26:15, Asley Maxwell (F, 26)
- 27:01, Chrissy Coutts (F, 46)
- 29:37, Ann Chadwell (F, 48)
- 29:47, Fran McLean (F, 60)
- 30:00, Denise Hale (F, 37)
- Complete results of the 2017 Bobcat Family Trail Run at gulfwinds.org
- More photos of the 2017 Bobcat Family Trail Run 5K
- Fred Deckert's photos of the 2017 Bobcat Family Trail Run
- Upcoming runs on trails, tracks, and roads on the Trouble Afoot! racing calendar