Monday, September 25, 2017

Katie Sherron runs 18:13 in hilly Indianhead

For four kilometers, Katie Sherron and Ani Veltcheva raced side-by-side through the streets of the Indianhead Acres neighborhood of Tallahassee, Florida. Then, during the fifth and final kilometer, Sherron pulled away, winning Gulf Winds Track Club's 36th annual Tallahassee Women's Distance Festival 5K in 18:13. A few minutes later, Charlie Johnson won the men's 5K, running 16:28.

Katie Sherron, Ani Veltcheva
Katie Sherron and Ani Veltcheva

The Women's Distance Festival is unique among Tallahassee races in that the women start in a separate wave than the men. The women's wave starts five minutes earlier. It's part of a Road Runners Club of America program that seeks to celebrate women's running with a series of races where the women are highlighted--either by having their own race, or their own starting wave. Over the years the Tallahassee Women's Distance Festival has tried both approaches. Having two different starting waves for women and men is what's currently in favor.

So it was that on Saturday morning, 23 September 2017, at 8:00 AM the athletes in the women's wave of the Tallahassee Women's Distance Festival set out going north on East Indianhead Drive. Before the competitors covered the first 200 meters, Katie Sherron and Ani Veltcheva had broken away from the field. Sherron, a Florida State University economics professor, had run the Women's Distance Festival before, winning the race in 2015. Veltcheva, on the other hand, was racing in Indianhead for the first time. An eighth-grader at Abraham Lincoln Middle School in Gainesville, Florida, Veltcheva had already two of Tallahassee's biggest races, the Springtime 10K and the Palace Saloon 5K. She also has an older sister at Florida State.

2017 Tallahassee Women's Distance Festival
The hills of Indianhead

"My mom told me there was a course up here," Veltcheva said about the decision to race the Women's Distance Festival. "So I thought it would be a good idea to come up here and support the cause. And also visit my sister."

It quickly developed into a two-person race. Up and down the hills of Indianhead, neither Sherron nor Veltcheva gave up any ground until, with just over a kilometer to go, Sherron made a break.

"I haven't run a 5K in a long time, and the hills up here are always a surprise to me," said Veltcheva. "So around two-and-a-half miles I was feeling tired and Katie was full of fuel. She just ran away from me."

Kat Sack
Kat Sack

Coming off a 17:43 at the Sickle Cell 5K, the slower pace at the Women's Distance Festival must have been comfortable for Sherron. She was certainly comfortable enough to open up a lead of almost 200 meters on Veltcheva during the final kilometer. Sherron took her second Women's Distance Festival title in 18:13. Veltcheva was second in 18:54. Sheryl Rosen, winner of the race in 2006 and 2007, placed third in 19:22. Kenya Rich was the top woman master in the race, eighth in 22:07.

Top Ten Women, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2017 Women's Distance Festival
  1. 18:13, Katie Sherron (F, 35)
  2. 18:54, Ani Veltcheva (F, 13)
  3. 19:22, Sheryl Rosen (F, 33)
  4. 19:59, Kat Sack (F, 25)
  5. 20:29, Brittney Barnes (F, 29)
  6. 21:07, Alyssa Terry (F, 24)
  7. 21:55, Laura McDermott (F, 37)
  8. 22:07, Kenya Rich (F, 45)
  9. 22:22, Kristin Halley (F, 36)
  10. 22:26, Monica Judd (F, 43)

Top Ten Men, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2017 Women's Distance Festival
  1. 16:28, Charlie Johnson (M, 37)
  2. 17:17, Chris O'Kelley (M, 24)
  3. 17:21, Vince Molosky (M, 38)
  4. 17:25, Tristan Cravello (M, 18)
  5. 18:06, Jim Halley (M, 38)
  6. 18:21, Mickey Moore (M, 47)
  7. 18:29, Geb Kiros (M, 51)
  8. 18:32, Ryan Truchelut (M, 31)
  9. 18:54, Michael Niezgoda (M, 28)
  10. 18:57, Kurt Dietrich (M, 26)

Unlike Sherron and Veltcheva, Charlie Johnson didn't have much company along the way while racing the Women's Distance Festival.

"I was up front almost right away," said Johnson. "I usually start off conservatively and work my way up, but today I decided to just go for it during the first mile."

2017 Tallahassee Women's Distance Festival
The start of the men's wave

Johnson went for it. No one else went with him as he led the men's field by a steadily increasing margin. It was his first time on the course.

"Jim Halley told me it was downhill the last half mile," said Johnson. "I hit an uphill at the two-mile mark, and I was hoping that was true."

It was. Johnson coasted down the final slope to win the race in 16:28, well over 200 meters ahead of the next runner and hungry for more competition.

Charlie Johnson
Charlie Johnson

"What's coming up next week?" asked Johnson.

Chris O'Kelley finished second in 17:17. Just behind O'Kelley, Vince Molosky passed Tristan Cravello during the final kilometer to take third in 17:21. Cravello was fourth in 17:25. Jim Halley, Johnson's adviser on course topography, was fifth in 18:06. Mickey Moore was the fastest master runner in the race, placing sixth overall in 18:06.

Vince Molosky
Vince Molosky

180 athletes finished the 2017 Women's Distance Festival 5K. Gulf Winds Track Club of Tallahassee chip-timed the race.

Tallahassee Women's Distance Festival 5K Champions, 1982 - 2017
24 July 198220:14, Cheryl JenningsNo Boys Allowed
23 July 198318:33, Barbara BalzerNo Boys Allowed
21 July 198418:11, Barbara BalzerNo Boys Allowed
20 July 198519:11, Barbara Balzer15:24, Herb Wills
19 July 198618:20, Janice Hochstein16:32, Rick Miller
18 July 198718:54, Janice Hochstein15:47, Rick Miller
16 July 198817:58, Michele Farrell15:09, Jessie Close
15 July 198917:20, Sue Addison15:09, Jessie Close
14 July 199018:50, Janice Hochstein15:38, Gary Droze
13 July 199118:51, Angie Crook15:18, Gary Droze
11 July 199217:36, Paula Johnson15:09, Gary Droze
17 July 199318:00, Lynda Nilges15:45, Steve Wilcox
1 October 199418:06, Jane Johnson15:46, Andy Palmer
7 October 199517:47, Jane Johnson15:40, Gary Droze
5 October 199618:41, Tracy Pepoon16:34, Tim Simpkins
4 October 199717:13, Sarah Docter-Williams16:20, Tim Simpkins
3 October 199818:02, Sarah Docter-Williams16:36, Tim Simpkins
2 October 199917:31, Sarah Docter-Williams15:37, Lee Willis
7 October 200019:18, Kingsley Broughton16:26, Art Remillard
6 October 200119:13, Kate Remillard18:06, Reid Vannoy
2 November 200220:27, Mari Leitner16:33, Nate Timm
1 November 200318:52, Kara Newell17:39, Justin Dickieson
6 November 200418:09, Sarah Docter-Williams17:24, Art Remillard
5 November 200521:38, Lydia Veal18:16, Jimmy Graham
7 October 200618:36, Sheryl Rosen17:55, Tim Unger
15 September 200719:02, Sheryl Rosen17:04, Jay Wallace
20 September 200818:52, Lisa Johnson17:29, David Altmaier
19 September 200919:00, Kelsey Scheitlin16:34, John Robida
18 September 201018:39, Lisa Johnson16:34, Vince Molosky
17 September 201117:11, Jackie Drouin15:00, Kevin Sullivan
15 September 201217:06, Georgia Peel16:03, Chris Rego
14 September 201316:51, Kayleigh Tyerman15:58, Stanley Linton
20 September 201420:45, Anna Busby16:45, Roger Schmidt
19 September 201518:53, Katie Sherron17:08, Zach DeVeau
17 September 201618:38, Adriana Piekarewicz15:29, Stan Linton
23 September 201718:13, Katie Sherron16:28, Charlie Johnson


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