Saturday, April 15, 2017

Linton goes 15:16 and Veltcheva 17:58 at the Palace Saloon 5K

"This is the Palace Saloon 5K," declared Stan Linton. "People come here to run fast and drink beer afterwards."

Linton followed that plan on Saturday morning, 15 April 2017. He was quaffing beer from an enormous tankard he had been awarded for winning Gulf Winds Track Club's 43rd annual Palace Saloon 5K in 15:16. Twelve-year-old Ani Veltcheva wasn't at the Tallahassee, Florida event for the beer, but nevertheless won the women's title in 17:58.

Stan Linton
Stan Linton

Whether they came for the beer, a fast race, both, or neither, over a thousand runners gathered at Messer Park for the race. 1043 of them would cross the finish line. Stan Linton was among that throng. Linton has ties to both Florida State University and the Gulf Winds Track Club, but instead of the colors of either he was wearing a "Budweiser" racing vest.

"I saw a picture of Larry Greene winning the Springtime 10K in a Bud Light jersey, so I thought it would be cool to win Palace in a Budweiser jersey," explained Linton.

Chris Haynes
Chris Haynes

Greene, a former Florida State distance runner, had in fact won Tallahassee's 1984 Springtime 10K in 30:03, the fastest time ever recorded at that race. But Linton had his eye on another record held by another Florida State alumnus.

"I wanted to go after George West's Palace record of 14:30," said Linton. "But I've been sick this week. I was on pace for two miles but during the last mile I felt drained."

Matt McCurdy
Matt McCurdy

Linton started at an ambitious enough pace that no one dared stay with him. Matt McCurdy and Springtime 10K champion Chris Haynes followed Linton at a distance, first together, and then Haynes alone. By the end of the first mile Linton already had a lead of over 100 meters. He continued to widen that margin until checked by fatigue. He didn't falter enough for Haynes to make any significant gains, and Linton crossed the finish line with a more than comfortable lead in 15:16. It was the fastest winning time in the Palace Saloon 5K since 1994 when Robin Rogers ran 14:56. Haynes was second in 15:43, and McCurdy third in 16:36. Bryan Koon was the first master runner in the race, placing eighth overall in 17:19. Koon also had a less official win to brag about.

"First to the beer again!" said Koon.

Ani Veltcheva
Ani Veltcheva

According to Ani Veltcheva, her hometown Gainesville, Florida isn't dominated by hills to the extent that Tallahassee is. The young runner was already familiar with the Tallahassee topography, though, having experienced it at its most challenging when she won the women's titles at the 2016 Palace Saloon 5K and the 2017 Springtime 10K.

"I had run the Palace last year so I knew where to expect the hills," said Veltcheva. "Last year I finished the first little hill, and then I looked ahead and saw the traffic cones going up the big hill. 'Oh, no!' This course has only two hills, though. Springtime has a lot of hills."

Adriana Piekarewicz
Adriana Piekarwicz

Familiarity of the course wasn't the only difference for Veltcheva. She also ran fifteen seconds faster than she had run in 2016, successfully defending her title with a 17:58. Adriana Piekarewicz, second in the women's standings and seventeenth overall in 18:15, gained significantly on Veltcheva during the second half of the race, but not enough to challenge for the lead. Katie Sherron was the third woman and nineteenth overall in 18:31, while 2013 Palace Saloon 5K women's champ Sheryl Rosen was the fourth woman and 39th overall in 19:12. Kenya Rich was the first woman master and seventeenth female finisher, 120th overall in 22:08.

Veltcheva, on the track team at Abraham Lincoln Middle School, has already qualified for Florida's Middle School State Track and Field Championships in Bradenton on 13 May 2017. Before then, though, she may test herself on some more hills at the Rose City Run 10K in Thomasville, Georgia.

Katie Sherron
Katie Sherron

As young as she is, Veltcheva has already run the Palace Saloon 5K twice. On the men's side, Stan Linton has also raced two Palaces. Many of the other top finishers have even more Palace appearances, and farther back in the field are athletes who aren't even sure how many of the 43 Palace Saloon Road Races they've run. It's a race where people just keep returning.

"I did this one in 1977," commented one runner before this year's Palace. "Then I took 30 years off."

He found his way back, though. Sooner or later they all come home to the Palace.

Top Ten Men, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2017 Palace Saloon 5K
  1. 15:16, Stan Linton (M, 23) Crawfordville, FL
  2. 15:43, Christopher Haynes (M, 24) Tallahassee, FL
  3. 16:36, Matthew McCurdy (M, 24) Tallahassee, FL
  4. 16:53, Brandon Shemonia (M, 23) Tallahassee, FL
  5. 17:04, Christopher O'Kelley (M, 24) Tallahassee, FL
  6. 17:08, Vince Molosky (M, 37) Tallahassee, FL
  7. 17:11, Scott Lloyd (M, 16) Crawfordville, FL
  8. 17:19, Bryan Koon (M, 45) Tallahassee, FL
  9. 17:34, Jacob Williams (M, 23) Tallahassee, FL
  10. 17:41, Daniel Blackman (M, 26) Tallahassee, FL

Top Ten Women, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2017 Palace Saloon 5K
  1. 17:58, Ani Veltcheva (F, 12) Gainesville, FL
  2. 18:15, Adriana Piekarewicz (F, 28) Tallahassee, FL
  3. 18:31, Katie Sherron (F, 35) Tallahassee, FL
  4. 19:12, Sheryl Rosen (F, 32) Tallahassee, FL
  5. 19:45, Katie Sack (F, 25) Tallahassee, FL
  6. 20:05, Lauren Poulos (F, 31) Tallahassee, FL
  7. 20:16, Brittney Barnes (F, 29) Tallahassee, FL
  8. 20:23, Jillian Heddaeus (F, 34) Tallahassee, FL
  9. 20:31, Ann Centner (F, 25) Blakely, GA
  10. 20:55, Emma Spencer (F, 36) Tallahassee, FL

43 Years of Palace Saloon 5K Champions, 1975 - 2017
15 April 201715:16, Stanley Linton17:58, Ani Veltcheva1043
16 April 201615:53, Nick Merrett18:13, Ani Veltcheva1048
11 April 201515:29, Tyler Udland17:54, Lauren Poulos1314
12 April 201415:52, Chris Lake17:45, Amy Hines1303
20 April 201315:46, Stanley Linton17:49, Sheryl Rosen1389
14 April 201216:07, Josh Myers17:20, Lindsay Zeiler1190
16 April 201115:48, Chris Lake 18:24, Lindsay Zeiler 1064
10 April 201015:45, Chris Lake 17:42, Christina Woytalewicz 1214
11 April 200916:21, John Robida 18:11, Lisa Johnson 1022
12 April 200815:25, Nick Sunseri 18:46, Lisa Johnson 782
14 April 200716:12, J. P. Cook 17:14, Breeda Willis 537
15 April 200616:04, Justin Cross 18:33, Stephanie Liles 456
16 April 200516:06, Lee Willis 16:31, Breeda Willis 318
10 April 200416:39, Shawn Patterson 18:29, Breeda Willis 299
12 April 200316:26, Martin Littlefield 19:21, Tricia Snyder 257
13 April 200217:22, Chris Stanley 21:03, Allison Eagen 189
14 April 200116:51, Art Remillard 19:05, Kate Wallace 219
15 April 200015:39, Paul Spangler 17:19, Anna Pichrtova 217
17 April 199915:45, Robert Pautienus 17:22, Sarah Docter-Williams 261
18 April 199816:18, Jason Carter 17:29, Sarah Docter-Williams 238
19 April 199715:53, Gary Droze 17:37, Sarah Docter-Williams 169
6 April 199615:55, Gary Droze 17:59, Jane Johnson 134
8 April 199516:01, Tim Simpkins 17:48, Jane Johnson 188
2 April 199414:56, Robin Rogers 17:51, Lisa Herman 252
3 April 199315:30, Andy Palmer 19:37, Carrie Hunnicutt 270
11 April 199215:48, Gary Droze 17:45, Paula Johnson ?
13 April 199115:10, Gary Droze 18:20, Vikki Saga 371
14 April 199014:57, David Keen 18:38, Vikki Saga
15 April 198915:23, Rick Miller 19:05, Yvonne Gsteiger
9 April 198815:30, Rick Miller 17:55, Karen MacHarg
11 April 198715:03, Jacob Hoesly 17:33, Karen MacHarg
12 April 198614:36, Paul Waldron 18:44, Paige Dempsey
9 March 198515:39, Rick Miller 17:52, Margaret Coomber
18 February 198415:32, Greg Doss 16:34, Kristy McDermott
16 April 198314:52, Rick Miller 16:38, Darien Andreu
20 March 1982??????????
21 March 198115:02, Dennis Lunne 18:16, Janice Gage
8 March 198014:59, George West 19:37, Marty Graham
10 March 197914:55, Tom Herron 17:37, Kathy Moore
25 February 197814:30, George West 17:45, Laura Ledbetter
15 January 1977George West?????
14 August 197614:37, George West 18:05, Janice Gage
15 November 197518:17, David Price 19:56, Janice Gage


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