Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The weather outside was frightful, but at the Frank Shorter Mile Kumar and Watson were delightful

Florida Track ClubFor nearly 40 years, Gainesville was home to the only indoor track in Florida. The University of Florida removed the track during renovations to the O'Connell Center after the 2015 indoor track season. Now, there's never a day in Florida so severe that you need an indoor track. In fact, there are very few days in the Sunshine State when you'd even prefer to race indoors. But Monday, 1 January 2017, was one of those days. Shortly after sunrise the temperature dropped into the 30s and stayed there for the rest of the day. The wind made it seem even cooler, as did the occasional light rain. It even snowed.

It was the kind of weather that inspires bond issues for indoor track and field facilities. It was not the kind of weather that Visit Florida wants people to know about.

Neverthless, it was the weather in which 76 athletes showed up at Gainesville's Westside Park for Florida Track Club's third annual Frank Shorter Road Mile. Ravi Kumar won the men's mile race, circling the two-lap course in 4:49. Georganne Watson took the women's mile with a 5:18.

The two-lap course in Westside Park was a new addition in the third year of the race. So was the introduction of two separate races, one for the men and one for the women. The men raced first, with a scheduled starting time of 12:00 noon. Kumar, a FTC-Elite athlete, won that opening race with a 4:49. Behind him, Seth Funderburg outkicked Oakleaf High sophomore Dylan Nelson for second, 4:52 to 4:53. Rich Smith was fourth in 4:53. Dan Stoner of Gainesville was the first master runner in the men's mile, placing fifth overall in 5:13. Abraham Lincoln Middle School eighth-grader Anton Matchev took sixth with a 5:20.

The women's race followed at 12:35 PM. Betsy Suda had claimed the women's title at the first Frank Shorter mile, running 5:30 in that 2016 race. In 2017, though, Suda was second in the women's standings to Georganne Watson, who went 5:13 to Suda's 5:23. Both runners were back in 2018 for a chilly rematch. Watson prevailed, successfully defending her title while edging Suda 5:18 to 5:20. A few steps back, Laura Ragland took third in 5:23. Sharon Beckwith and Caroline Worrall dueled for the top master runner spot in the women's race, with Beckwith getting the nod 7:05 to 7:06. Beckwith and Worrall placed eighth and ninth overall.

76 athletes finished the 2018 Frank Shorter Road Mile, 45 in the men's race and 31 in the women's race. Start 2 Finish Race Management timed the event.

Top Ten Men, Florida Track Club's 2018 Frank Shorter Road Mile
  1. 4:49, Ravi Kumar (M, 23)
  2. 4:52, Seth Funderburg (M, 28)
  3. 4:53, Dylan Nelson (M, 15)
  4. 5:11, Rich Smith (M, 39)
  5. 5:13, Dan Stoner (M, 43)
  6. 5:20, Anton Matchev (M, 14)
  7. 5:25, John Smith (M, 28)
  8. 5:37, Zachary Radke (M, 31)
  9. 5:49, Philip Matchev (M, 11)
  10. 5:53, Eric Castaldo (M, 43)

Top Ten Women, Florida Track Club's 2018 Frank Shorter Road Mile
  1. 5:18, Georganne Watson (F, 32)
  2. 5:20, Betsy Suda (F, 36)
  3. 5:23, Laura Ragland (F, 28)
  4. 5:31, Katelyn Greenleaf (F, 23)
  5. 5:32, Kelly Griffin (F, 39)
  6. 5:54, Mandy Harrell (F, 33)
  7. 5:55, Stephanie McGrail (F, 31)
  8. 7:05, Sharon Beckwith (F, 49)
  9. 7:06, Caroline Worrall (F, 49)
  10. 7:26, Elisabeth Diamond (F, 58)

Frank Shorter Road Mile winners, 2016 - 2018
1 January 20164:40, Enoch Nadler5:30, Betsy Suda55
1 January 20174:23, Mark Parrish5:13, Georganne Watson90
1 January 20184:49, Ravi Kumar5:18, Georganne Watson76


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