Monday, November 6, 2017

Johnson and Heddaeus take the plunge at the Rex Cleveland Downhill Mile

Winning a one-mile race by over a hundred meters is like finishing a marathon three kilometers ahead of the runner-up. It's like lapping the field and then some in a 10,000-meter race on the track. It's like a horse winning the Kentucky Derby by more than 50 lengths. But winning a mile race by over a hundred meters is exactly what Charlie Johnson did on Sunday afternoon, 5 November 2017, in Gulf Winds Track Club's second annual Rex Cleveland Road Mile. Johnson covered the one-mile course in a winning 4:25. Jillian Heddaeus was the first woman in the race, placing eleventh overall in 5:53.

Cascades Park Bridge
Cascades Park Bridge

Tallahassee, Florida is at the edge of the Red Hills, producing some noticeable differences in elevation. At one extreme is FAMU Way. The road used to be called Canal Street because it ran along the Saint Augustine Branch. The creek flowed through a deep ditch on the north side of the street, except during heavy rains when it flowed over the street. It was one of the lowest spots in Tallahassee. Since then Canal Street has gotten a new name and a facelift, the Saint Augustine Branch is confined to a box culvert, and the Capital Cascades Trail traces the north side of FAMU Way. It's still one of the lowest spots in Tallahassee. At another extreme is Myers Park. The Myers Park neighborhood was built on higher and better-drained land than Canal Street, covering the slopes of one of Tallahassee's hills. Capital City Country Club, the oldest golf course in town, occupies the top of that hill. It is one of the highest spots in Tallahassee.

The two spots, Myers Park and Canal Street, high and low, aren't that far apart--about a mile. Because of the difference in elevation, most of that mile is either uphill or downhill, depending on which way you're traveling. Why not run in the downhill direction and have a downhill one-mile race? The answer to that question was Gulf Winds Track Club's first Rex Cleveland Road Mile in 2016. The course not only features a net drop of a hundred feet or so, it also includes a run across the Capital Cascades pedestrian bridge. It was such a good idea that GWTC did it again in 2017.

Just three weeks after posting a 9:47:18 in Ironman Hawaii, Charlie Johnson won the 2017 Rex Cleveland Mile, running the somewhat shorter race in 4:25. Not that Johnson is a stranger to the distance; earlier in the year he won the Gulf Winds Track Club Mile at the Breakfast on the Track, racing a flat mile in 4:32. Alekx Krush was runner-up in the Cleveland Mile, running 4:45. Albert Edwards edged Tristan Cravello for third, 4:51 to 4:52. Geb Kiros was the fastest master runner in the mile, placing fifth overall in 5:02.

In the women's competition, Stella Lewis took second behind Jillian Heddaeus, placing thirteenth overall in 5:59. Thirteen-year-old Lewis is a seventh-grader on the Swift Creek Middle School cross-country team. Nine-year-old Clifton Lewis of the Panhandle Express was third in the women's standings and fourteenth overall in 5:59. Deerlake Middle School cross-country runner Leah Kiros (19th, 6:10) was the fourth female finisher, and Fort Braden School harrier Madison Sims (25th, 6:19) was the fifth.

163 athletes finished the 2017 Rex Cleveland Road Mile. Gulf Winds Track Club chip-timed the race.

Top Ten Men, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2017 Cleveland Magic Mile
  1. 4:25, Charlie Johnson (M, 37)
  2. 4:45, Alekx Krush (M, 22)
  3. 4:51, Albert Edwards (M, 24)
  4. 4:52, Tristan Cravello (M, 18)
  5. 5:02, Geb Kiros (M, 51)
  6. 5:13, Patrick Koon (M, 12)
  7. 5:15, Paul Guyas (M, 40)
  8. 5:41, Erik Andersen (M, 34)
  9. 5:47, Jackson Rowe (M, 11)
  10. 5:50, T.J. Devlieger (M, 55)

Top Ten Women, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2017 Cleveland Magic Mile
  1. 5:53, Jillian Heddaeus (F, 34)
  2. 5:59, Stella Lewis (F, 13)
  3. 6:00, Clifton Lewis (F, 9)
  4. 6:10, Leah Kiros (F, 12)
  5. 6:19, Madison Sims (F, 10)
  6. 6:20, Julie Duggins (F, 34)
  7. 6:21, Claramae Campbell (F, 14)
  8. 7:05, Ashley Marina (F, 29)
  9. 7:19, Emily Hawken (F, 11)
  10. 7:21, Aza Hampton (F, 11)

Winners of Gulf Winds Track Club's Rex Cleveland Road Mile, 2016 - 2017
2 November 20164:09.14, Ricardo Estremera5:34.19, Amy Hines174
5 November 20174:25, Charlie Johnson5:53, Jillian Heddaeus163


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