Monday, April 10, 2017

Moore and Hadden follow the Education For Life 5K to Tom Brown Park

“This is the eighth year,” said Mickey Moore. “I think I’ve run it five times.”

If anyone should know, it would be Moore. He was talking about the Southern Scholarship Foundation’s Education For Life 5K, an annual event which he founded in 2010 when he was the Foundation’s president. Moore not only ran the race five times, he won it twice, most recently on Saturday morning, 8 April 2017, when he was first across the finish line in 18:20. Michelle Hadden won the women’s title that day, placing eighth overall in 22:31.

Mickey Moore, Alex McDonald
Mickey Moore and Alex McDonald

From 2010 to 2016, the Education For Life 5K had been contested on the Florida State University campus. But FSU football’s spring game was on campus the same day as the 2017 race, so the 5K had to find a new venue--the roads and paved trails of Tom Brown Park.

The race began at 8:00 AM and the runners thundered onto the Goose Pond Trail. Moore and Alex McDonald, an alumnus of the Milton High cross-country team, shot to the front.

“It was a fast start,” said Moore. “Because Alex, who lives in my old scholarship house, and I were racing each other. We had really battled last year.”

2017 Education For Life 5K
The race begins

In that 2016 race Moore and McDonald had been fighting over sixth place. This time the title was at stake. The two ran close together for the first half of the race, but during the second half Moore pulled away, going on to win in 18:20. McDonald was second in 18:34. FSU student Matthias Laywell, formerly a John Paul II Catholic High cross-country runner, took third in 19:23.

Just as Moore had run the Education For Life 5K before, so had women’s champ Michelle Hadden, who had raced the event in 2012. How did Hadden think the Tom Brown course compared with the campus route?

“I like this course,” said Hadden. “There are fewer hills.”

Matthias Laywell
Matthias Laywell

Even though the Tom Brown Park course was less hilly, there were still some climbs, especially late in the race. Hadden may have disliked the slopes, but it was on the hills where she got her win. Megan Gerrard led the women’s field for most of the race, but Hadden weathered the up-and-down on the third mile better than the leader. With the finish line looming, Hadden overtook Gerrard and raced home, first in the women’s standings at 22:31.

“I was just trying to follow the two people in front of me,” said Hadden. “I guess they faded.”

Gerrard was the women’s runner-up and tenth overall in 22:41. Kaeli McClenahan was the third female finisher and fifteenth overall in 23:37.

Michelle Hadden
Michelle Hadden

It was Gerrard’s first time racing the Education For Life 5K, but as a Southern Scholarship Foundation house resident she had attended the race before.

“It’s my first time running, but I live here so I’ve been cheering for three years,” explained Gerrard.

At each Education For Life 5K, the residents of the scholarship houses turn out to cheer the runners. The 2017 race was miles from campus, but the students made the trek to Tom Brown to offer support and encouragement, even on parts of the course deep in the woods. It wasn’t the Boston Marathon’s 26.2 miles of applause, but it was as much cheering as an athlete will ever experience in a Tallahassee road race. It didn’t go unappreciated.

“I haven’t been around these kids for a year now but they still know my name,” said Moore. “It means so much to hear them cheering me by name.”

181 athletes finished the eighth annual Education for Life 5K. Gulf Winds Track Club chip-timed the race.

Top Ten Men, 2017 Education For Life 5K
  1. 18:20, Mickey Moore (M, 47)
  2. 18:34, Alexander McDonald (M, 20)
  3. 19:23, Matthias Laywell (M, 18)
  4. 20:35, J P Talty (M, 21)
  5. 21:39, Paul Talty (M, 19)
  6. 21:55, J Rillan Dasalla (M, 21)
  7. 22:01, Haris Riaz (M, 23)
  8. 22:36, Michael LaBossiere (M, 50)
  9. 22:44, Daniel Joyce (M, 22)
  10. 22:47, Kyle Carey (M, 19)

Top Ten Women, 2017 Education For Life 5K
  1. 22:31, Michelle Hadden (F, 28)
  2. 22:41, Megan Gerrard (F, 22)
  3. 23:37, Kaeli McClenahan (F, 21)
  4. 24:38, Aude Monde (F, 19)
  5. 25:21, Sol Ayala (F, 19)
  6. 25:21, Addie Burchell (F, 18)
  7. 25:30, Libby O'Neill (F, 32)
  8. 25:55, Betsy Miller (F, 39)
  9. 26:07, Karina Estrada (F, 18)
  10. 26:22, Christina Gomez (F, 18)

Education For Life 5K champions, 2010 - 2017
24 April 201018:18, Brian Corbin21:01, Maegan McCarthy203
10 April 201119:17, Ben Wenger21:57, Allison Williams122
21 April 201218:05, Aaron DeSena21:32, Sarah Collie180
23 March 201317:16, Tim Wenger21:46, Andrea Psimer175
22 March 201418:12, Mickey Moore19:26, Lisa Johnson161
21 March 201517:01, Zach DeVeau19:25, Katie Sherron168
19 March 201616:28, Antony Taylor19:38, Alyson Churchill223
8 April 201718:20, Mickey Moore22:31, Michelle Hadden181


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