Monday, February 19, 2018

O'Kelley, Rosen make a little Flash 12K history in Saint Marks

“How far back is he?” called out Chris O’Kelley.

O’Kelley was headed south on the Saint Marks Trail, leading Gulf Winds Track Club’s Flash 12K. The next runner, Michael Rhodes, was far back indeed, about 200 meters behind with less than three kilometers left in the race. On the way to the finish line at San Marcos de Apalache State Park, O’Kelley widened that gap to nearly 400 meters, winning the race in 44:20.

Chris O'Kelley
Chris O'Kelley

It was the 30th annual Flash 12K that Saturday morning, 17 February 2018, in Saint Marks, Florida. In a town like Saint Marks, with history going back to the days of Spanish Florida, you’d expect the race to be much older. It would be satisfying, for instance, to learn that the race started in 1718, when the Spanish military commandant stationed at San Marcos de Apalache ordered his men to race tres legua as a display of their fitness for combat. Or perhaps the Flash 12K could trace its lineage to 1818, when Andrew Jackson celebrated his occupation of Saint Marks with a 60-furlong footrace and the execution by hanging of two British citizens, with maybe a few public floggings thrown in. Or maybe the race began in 1838 as recreation for workers on the Saint Marks Railroad, or in 1863 to settle a bet among troops stationed at Fort Ward.

Michael Rhodes
Michael Rhodes

None of those is true. The first Flash 12K wasn’t even in Saint Marks. Joe Dexter began the event in Chaires, Florida in 1989. By 2005 the traffic around Chaires had increased enough that Dexter moved the race to Woodville and the Saint Marks Trail. In 2011 construction on the Saint Marks Trail near Woodville made the course unuseable. Mark Priddy, having taken over as race director from Dexter, moved the Flash 12K to Saint Marks. The Flash was in Saint Marks for the eighth time in 2018 when a new race director, Keith Rowe, gave the runners the command to start just after 8:30 AM.

Travis Parks, Mickey Moore
Travis Parks and Mickey Moore

Michael Rhodes, a master runner from Perry, Florida, took the lead in the 12K near the end of the first kilometer. Chris O’Kelley of Tallahassee, Florida moved into second. Rhodes opened a gap initially, but O’Kelley overtook him before the four-kilometer mark. It was Kelley’s race after that, and he ran home in a winning 44:20. Rhodes took second in 45:39. Behind the first two finishers, Travis Parks and Mickey Moore had been battling for third for almost the entire race. Parks, a Tallahassee Community College cross-country runner, pulled away with a final effort, taking third in 46:58. Moore, a Tallahassee master runner, was fourth in 47:05.

Sheryl Rosen
Sheryl Rosen

It was O’Kelley’s first Flash 12K win. On the women’s side, though, Tallahassee lawyer Sheryl Rosen grabbed her fourth title, placing fifth overall in 48:20. Rosen had been the women’s champion of the Flash 12K for the first time in in 2010, back on the Woodville course. Her next three wins--2013, 2015, and 2018--had come in Saint Marks. Tsige Tadesse was the first woman master in the Flash 12K and second to Rosen in the women's standings, twentieth overall in 56:14. Nazarae Holcombe was the third woman and 25th overall in 57:49.

Top Ten Men, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2018 Flash 12K
  1. 44:20, Chris O'Kelley (M, 24)
  2. 45:39, Michael Rhodes (M, 49)
  3. 46:58, Travis Parks (M, 21)
  4. 47:05, Mickey Moore (M, 47)
  5. 48:48, Paul Guyas (M, 40)
  6. 48:58, Myles Gibson (M, 51)
  7. 49:17, Steven Wilson (M, 36)
  8. 50:09, Matthew Rowan (M, 49)
  9. 51:10, Tad David (M, 49)
  10. 52:04, Philip Sura (M, 47)

Top Ten Women, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2018 Flash 12K
  1. 48:20, Sheryl Rosen (F, 33)
  2. 56:14, Tsige Tadesse (F, 50)
  3. 57:49, Nazarae Holcombe (F, 27)
  4. 58:32, Abby Ross (F, 36)
  5. 58:50, Sherri Wise (F, 36)
  6. 59:23, Danielle De Greef (F, 22)
  7. 59:56, Ruffian Tyner (F, 42)
  8. 60:33, Kory Skrob (F, 47)
  9. 60:55, Nancy Johnson (F, 44)
  10. 61:33, Ludmila De Faria (F, 49)

Since 2009, a 6K has been run concurrently with the Flash 12K. In 2018, the shorter race was the tenth Flash 6K. Eric Houge led early, setting the pace for 12K runners and 6K runners alike. Houge was still ahead at the 3K mark, the turnaround on the out-and-back course, ten seconds up on on the next runner, 2017 Flash 6K champion Geb Kiros. On the return trip, Kiros made up that ten seconds and then some, passing Houge and winning the race in 22:53. Houge was second in 22:57. Michael Martinez, the 2013 Flash 6K champion, was third in 24:34.

Christina Linton
Christina Linton

Christina Linton was the first woman in the 6K, placing eighth overall in 27:05. Paula O'Neill was the first woman master and second female finisher, twelfth overall in 28:41. Master runner Madeleine Ely was third in the women's standings and fourteenth overall in 29:13.

168 athletes finished the Flash 12K and another 114 completed the Flash 6K. Gulf Winds Track Club chip-timed both races.

Top Ten Men, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2018 Flash 6K
  1. 22:53, Geb Kiros (M, 51)
  2. 22:57, Eric Houge (M, 37)
  3. 24:34, Michael Martinez (M, 52)
  4. 25:55, Clint Beam (M, 32)
  5. 26:36, Jonathan Kiros (M, 9)
  6. 26:49, William Pafford (M, 32)
  7. 26:58, Jack Schwenkler (M, 10)
  8. 27:29, Erik Andersen (M, 35)
  9. 28:17, Jon Roddenberry (M, 44)
  10. 28:34, Brennan Abramowitz (M, 21)

Top Ten Women, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2018 Flash 6K
  1. 27:05, Christina Linton (F, 37)
  2. 28:41, Paula O'Neill (F, 56)
  3. 29:13, Madeleine Ely (F, 44)
  4. 29:56, Lynn Masimore (F, 39)
  5. 30:35, Kennedy Hall (F, 19)
  6. 31:48, Shelby Varner (F, 23)
  7. 32:01, Leah Kiros (F, 12)
  8. 32:05, Heather Malloy (F, 49)
  9. 32:35, Catherin Jones (F, 58)
  10. 33:50, Cheryl Moore (F, 50)

Gulf Winds Track Club Flash 12K Champions, 1989 - 2018
28 January 198912K39:44, John Devine48:50, Barbara Balzer 155
17 February 199012K44:10, David Rigby54:40, Kathy Weiss 102
26 January 199112K39:36, Jessie Close50:24, Tina Davies163
18 January 199212K39:33, Jessie Close45:24, Paula Johnson132
23 January 199312K42:40, Jonathan Bigg45:43, Linda Nilges134
15 January 199412K38:02, Robin Rogers45:34, Jane Johnson91
21 January 199512K40:49, Gary Droze45:34, Jane Johnson145
27 January 199612K41:10, Gary Droze44:27, Jane Johnson132
11 January 199712K39:25, Brian Erb47:57, Sarah Williams75
7 February 199812K42:57, Clarence Calloway45:12, Sarah Williams164
20 February 199912K44:40, Tim Simpkins46:27, Sarah Williams82
19 February 200012K39:44, Michael Strickland46:06, Sara Docter-Williams107
17 February 200112K43:56, Tim Unger45:38, Sarah Docter-Williams 98
16 February 200212K40:35, Gary Droze47:17, Jane Johnson 148
1 February 200312K42:52, Shawn Patterson52:18, Lisa Whitworth 80
7 February 200412K42:46, Tim Unger52:49, Lisa Whitworth 89
5 February 200512K42:05, Lee Willis45:30, Sarah Docter-Williams 118
4 February 200612K42:49, Vince Molosky50:21, Lisa Johnson89
17 February 200712K44:58, Todd Smoot52:22, Kim Likens74
16 February 200812K43:10, Tripp Southerland50:57, Stephanie Liles131
21 February 200912K42:34, Jay Wallace50:48, Jane Johnson105
6K23:21, Brian Corbin21:36, Jana Stolting30
20 February 201012K41:57, Daniel Lee47:12, Sheryl Rosen176
6K24:43, Ben Kail31:35, Rachel Phipps53
19 February 201112K40:57, Thomas Kunish49:23, Kelly Stevens214
6K23:59, Caleb Harris31:26, Ashton McMurray73
18 February 201212K41:23, Stephen Cox49:52, Katie Showman214
6K24:57, Duane Evans27:39, Nancy Gribble89
16 February 201312K38:41, Kevin Sullivan46:17, Sheryl Rosen268
6K21:54, Michael Martinez25:09, Jessica Gillard70
15 February 201412K39:39, Stanley Linton45:20, Seeley Gutierrez262
6K21:56, Jon Mason28:15, Sarah Taff85
21 February 201512K42:03, Zach Deveau47:33, Sheryl Rosen207
6K23:30, Duane Evans24:20, Katie Gorman98
20 February 201612K40:52, Roger Schmidt50:43, Katie Sherron213
6K23:17, Travis Parks32:26, Leah Kiros87
18 February 201712K43:25, Vince Molosky47:31, Katie Sherron162
6K22:02, Geb Kiros26:02, Katie Sack128
17 February 201812K44:20, Chris O'Kelley48:20, Sheryl Rosen168
6K22:53, Geb Kiros27:05, Christina Linton114
In 1989-2004 the race started and finished in Chaires. (FL88036BH and FL94001DL)
In 2005-2010 the race started and finished at J. Lewis Hall Park in Woodville. (FL05007DL)
In 2011-2017 the race started and finished at Fort San Marcos de Apalachee in St. Marks.


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