Saturday, December 2, 2017

Charlie Johnson and Katie Sherron each repeat as Ten-Mile Challenge champions

"I decided to go hard today and see what happens!" called out Charlie Johnson.


Johnson was racing toward the three-mile mark of Gulf Winds Track Club's 42nd annual Ten-Mile Challenge. What happened was that Johnson ran 56:26, winning the race for the second year in a row and crossing the finish line nearly half a mile ahead of the next runner. Johnson wasn't the only repeat winner in the Challenge. Katie Sherron took the women's title in the ten-mile race for a fourth straight year, placing fifth overall in 64:26.

Charlie Johnson
Charlie Johnson

The race started at 8:00 AM on Saturday morning, 2 December 2017, in the Ox Bottom Manor neighborhood of Tallahassee, Florida. Patches of fog lingered on parts of the course as the runners got under way. The defending champion, Charlie Johnson, took the lead almost immediately. Matt McCurdy and Chris O'Kelley ran together behind Johnson, his nearest pursuers. After the first of two five-mile laps around the course, though, Johnson was already more than a quarter-mile ahead of McCurdy and O'Kelley and continuing to pull away. Racing alone, Johnson finished the race in a winning 56:26--almost three minutes faster than the 59:10 he had run in the 2016 Challenge, and the fastest time in the race since 2013, when Stan Linton had gone 55:30.


Johnson and McCurdy were left to contend for second place. With a quarter-mile to go, O'Kelley was still racing alongside McCurdy. But the last few hundred meters of a race is not when you want to racing next to McCurdy, who used to run the 4 x 400 relay on the Centre College track team.

Chris O'Kelley, Matt McCurdy
Chris O'Kelley and Matt McCurdy

"I could split a 48-high in the four-by-four," said McCurdy.


With the finish line approaching, McCurdy sprinted ahead to take second in 59:14. O'Kelley was third in 59:18. David Graf placed fourth overall in 63:13, the top master runner in the race.


Katie Sherron has raced the Ten-Mile Challenge each of the last eight years, starting in 2010--the year the race moved from Killearn Lakes to the present course in Ox Bottom Manor. In those eight outings, she has won the women's division five times.

Katie Sherron
Katie Sherron

"I know this course," said Sherron. "You have to start out easy and the hills only get steeper the second time around."


Whether or not any woman knows the Ten-Mile Challenge course better than Sherron, certainly no other woman ran the course faster in 2017. When Sherron finished the ten miles in 64:26, no other woman in the race had even reached the nine-mile mark yet. Allison Eagen is the only woman who has covered the ten miles in Ox Bottom Manor faster, going 64:25 when the course debuted in 2010.

Brittney Barnes
Brittney Barnes

Brittney Barnes overtook Alyssa Terry during the second lap around the course to take second in the women's standings and sixteenth overall in 72:04. Terry was the third woman and nineteenth overall in 72:42. Laura Reina was the first woman master and sixth female finisher, 34th overall in 79:08.


Top Ten Men, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2017 Ten-Mile Challenge
  1. 56:26, Charlie Johnson (M, 38)
  2. 59:14, Matthew McCurdy (M, 24)
  3. 59:18, Chris O'Kelley (M, 24)
  4. 63:13, David Graf (M, 41)
  5. 65:24, Tony Guillen (M, 48)
  6. 65:47, Jim Halley (M, 38)
  7. 65:57, Don Smith (M, 38)
  8. 66:13, Brad Busboom (M, 29)
  9. 66:58, Carter Hay (M, 46)
  10. 67:51, Paul Guyas (M, 40)

Top Ten Women, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2017 Ten-Mile Challenge
  1. 64:26, Katie Sherron (F, 36)
  2. 72:04, Brittney Barnes (F, 29)
  3. 72:42, Alyssa Terry (F, 24)
  4. 73:14, Jillian Heddaeus (F, 34)
  5. 74:59, Deanna McVay (F, 34)
  6. 79:08, Laura Reina (F, 53)
  7. 79:15, Kenya Rich (F, 45)
  8. 82:48, Nancy Proctor (F, 56)
  9. 83:20, Jamie Harris (F, 41)
  10. 83:20, Lori Abbey (F, 50)

Each year since 2004 a five-mile race has been held concurrently with the Ten-Mile Challenge. Tristan Cravello won the shorter race in 2017, going 29:44. Cravello, a first-year student at Florida State University, was seeing the course for the first time.


"It was a beautiful neighborhood to run in," said Cravello. "But the fourth mile--that hill was tough."

Tristan Cravello
Tristan Cravello

Tallahassee Community College cross-country coach Gary Droze gave up more than twenty seconds to Cravello in the first mile, then remained about that far behind for the rest of the race, finishing second overall in 30:10. Droze was the first master runner in the five-mile race.


Cravello had run with Ten-Mile Challenge competitors McCurdy and O'Kelley for the first three miles of his race. He wasn't the only runner in the five mile to pace off of athletes in the longer race. In the women's division, Katerina Caltova ran a step or two behind Katie Sherron for the first four miles. Sherron had no way of knowing that Caltova was racing the five mile; Caltova had no way of knowing that Sherron was racing the ten mile.


"I was aware of her and tried to stay ahead," said Sherron.

Kateřina Caltová
Kateřina Caltová

"I tried to keep up with her," said Caltova. "But on the last hill I said, 'Okay!' and let her go."


While Sherron went on to finish as the top woman in the ten mile, Caltova finished as the top woman in the five mile, placing third overall in 32:36. A visitor from the Czech Republic, Caltova first started running two years ago to train for basketball. She started racing, and now she's exclusively a distance runner.


Paula O'Neill was the first woman master and fourth female finisher in the five mile, crossing the line thirteenth overall in 39:04.


Top Ten Men, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2017 Five-Mile Road Race
  1. 29:44, Tristan Cravello (M, 18)
  2. 30:10, Gary Droze (M, 56)
  3. 34:08, Zach Deveau (M, 30)
  4. 37:07, Ryan Poage (M, 12)
  5. 37:54, Bradley Eisenburg (M, 29)
  6. 37:55, Chris Hinson (M, 43)
  7. 38:02, Joel Blakeman (M, 55)
  8. 38:38, Doug Gorton (M, 59)
  9. 38:49, Jack Schwenkler (M, 10)
  10. 39:33, Scott Nevitt (M, 54)

Top Ten Women, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2017 Five-Mile Road Race
  1. 32:36, Katerina Caltova (F, 23)
  2. 38:21, Kate Chunka (F, 34)
  3. 38:42, Becky Cahill (F, 34)
  4. 39:04, Paula O'Neill (F, 56)
  5. 40:06, Amelia Wilson (F, 27)
  6. 40:12, Tsige Tadesse (F, 45)
  7. 40:37, Elana Boehm (F, 34)
  8. 43:28, Alexa Poage (F, 13)
  9. 43:34, Catherine Jones (F, 58)
  10. 43:39, Stacey Poage (F, 42)

133 athletes finished the 2017 Ten-Mile Challenge, and another 82 completed the five-mile race. Gulf Winds Track Club chip-timed both races.


Champions of Gulf Winds Track Club's Ten-Mile Challenge, 1977 - 2017
DateDistanceMenWomenFinishers
January 197720 Km67:06, Herb Wills89:20, Rosemary Desloge
28 January 197820 Km65:18, Joe Germano85
13 January 197920 Km67:33, Jim Eastman85:31, Rosemary Desloge
15 December 197920 Km66:23, George West89:51, Rosemary Desloge
20 December 198020 KmMike BordelLaura Ledbetter
19 December 198120 Km67:42, Rick Miller90:12, Chris Levi
18 December 198220 Km63:14, Noel Shumann80:28, Donna Miller
3 December 198320 Km68:20, Noel Shumann79:25, Margaret Coomber
1 December 198420 Km70:13, Steve Meade76:24, Barbara Matthews154
7 December 198520 Km69:40, Felton Wright80:00, Karen McHarg158
6 December 198620 Km67:29, Tim Simpkins81:18, Karen McHarg157
5 December 198720 Km65:04, Jessie Close79:42, Karen MacHarg157
3 December 198810 Miles51:05, David Keen65:19, Janice Hochstein165
2 December 198910 Miles52:05, Jessie Close64:09, Paula Johnson163
1 December 199010 Miles51:39, David Keen62:53, Paula Johnson181
7 December 199110 Miles54:20, Jessie Close63:40, Paula Johnson151
5 December 199210 Miles54:32, Jessie Close63:09, Paula Johnson159
4 December 199310 Miles55:30, Steve Wilcox61:53, Paula Johnson148
3 December 199410 Miles54:16, Herb Wills61:43, Jane Johnson164
2 December 199510 Miles55:30, Gary Droze65:55, Carrie Weyant120
7 December 199610 Miles56:27, Brian Erb66:21, Carrie Weyant113
6 December 199710 Miles55:06, Lee Willis62:38, Sarah Docter-Williams133
5 December 199810 Miles58:45, Robert Pautienus62:27, Breeda Willis127
4 December 199910 Miles56:24, Gary Droze69:44, Carrie Weyant188
2 December 200010 Miles56:29, Zachery Heissner66:07, Laurel Slyck146
1 December 200110 Miles60:11, Tim Unger64:40, Sarah Docter-Williams169
7 December 200210 Miles54:30, Lee Willis63:54, Sarah Docter-Williams111
6 December 200310 Miles61:33, Bill McCord63:20, Sarah Docter-Williams158
4 December 200410 Miles55:29, Gary Droze61:41, Sarah Docter-Williams142
5 Miles26:45, Chris Nickinson38:32, Kara Taylor26
3 December 200510 Miles56:46, Gary Droze66:43, Kara Newell167
5 Miles32:24, Conor Sweeney39:14, Vicky Droze37
2 December 200610 Miles59:13, Jay Wallace62:27, Sheryl Rosen126
5 Miles28:53, Gary Droze30:46, Amy Paine84
1 December 200710 Miles58:47, Tripp Southerland64:04, Sheryl Rosen150
5 Miles31:19, Tim Unger38:11, Janice Hochstein53
6 December 200810 Miles55:56, Chris Lake65:30, Sheryl Rosen177
5 Miles32:59, Gennaro Scibelli32:51, Amy Paine80
5 December 200910 Miles57:59, Vince Molosky65:47, Sheryl Rosen117
5 Miles30:15, John Robida38:27, Claire Fruchtnicht49
4 December 201010 Miles57:19, Vince Molosky64:25, Allison Eagen180
5 Miles31:54, Chase Harris31:37, Lisa Johnson90
3 December 201110 Miles56:13, Stephen Cox68:15, Katie Showman169
5 Miles30:16, Brian Manry36:11, Kate Chunka89
1 December 201210 Miles56:18, Stanley Linton68:05, Micah Adriani183
5 Miles29:19, Zac Buchholz38:24, Moriah Campbell119
7 December 201310 Miles55:30, Stanley Linton73:42, Micah Adriani151
5 Miles30:51, Tony Guillen35:38, Vicky Droze87
6 December 201410 Miles56:37, Stephen Cox72:48, Katie Sherron109
5 Miles31:54, Gary Galvez37:24, Paula O'Neill82
5 December 201510 Miles59:14, Zach DeVeau65:19, Katie Sherron89
5 Miles27:29, Joseph Garcia33:58, Amy Hines88
3 December 201610 Miles59:10, Charlie Johnson74:31, Katie Sherron92
5 Miles29:30, Zach DeVeau33:00, Brittney Barnes132
2 December 201710 Miles56:26, Charlie Johnson64:26, Katie Sherron133
5 Miles29:44, Tristan Cravello32:36, Katerina Caltova82


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