Saturday, February 24, 2018

Johnson and Sherron post record runs at the Trailblazer 5K

On Saturday morning, 24 February 2018, Charlie Johnson laid to rest a three-year-old course record at the sixth annual Trailblazer 5K, running a winning 16:45. The previous best on the hilly course around DeSoto Trail Elementary School was 16:54, posted in 2015 by Jack Redwing. Katie Sherron set a women’s course record in that same 2015 race, running 19:39. In the 2018 Trailblazer Sherron bettered that mark, winning the women’s title in 18:55.

Charlie Johnson
Charlie Johnson

The race started shorty after 9:30 AM, with the runners making two sharp turns--a right followed by a left--in the first fifty meters of the race. Tristan Cravello, a first-year student at Florida State University, came out of the zig-zag leading the race, but Charlie Johnson was just getting started. Johnson soon overtook Cravello and was well ahead before the end of the first mile. Meanwhile, Chris O’Kelley had Cravello in his sights.

“It was a hard lesson learned,” said Cravello. “I made the mistake of trying to stay with Charlie. The first mile was 5:10, and Chris caught me on the second mile.”

Chris O'Kelley
Chris O'Kelley

“I knew I couldn’t run with Charlie, so I was racing for second,” said O’Kelley. “I caught Tristan just past two miles.”

Johnson, unaffected by the racing going on behind him, raced home in 16:45, first across the finish line back at the school. Chris O’Kelley took second in 17:11 and Cravello third in 17:39. Paul Guyas, winner of the 2016 Trailblazer, was the first master runner in the race, placing eighth overall in 19:26.

Katie Sherron
Katie Sherron

Three previous Trailblazer women’s champions were on the race’s starting line in 2018--2014 winner Debbie Peters, 2015 winner Katie Sherron, and 2017 winner Alyssa Terry. Sherron ran away from them all, leading the women’s field from the sound of the starting siren to the moment she crossed the finish line, winning the women’s title in 18:55 and placing seventh overall. Brittney Barnes held the second women’s spot early in the race, with Jillian Heddaeus following in third. As Barnes approached the midway point of the race, Heddaeus was closing in. Early in the second half, Heddaeus passed Barnes.

“I thought she was coming back,” said Heddaeus. “She always does.”

Jillian Heddaeus
Jillian Heddaeus

Not that morning. Heddaeus held on to second in the women’s standings, placing nineteenth overall in 20:50. Barnes held off a late charge from the defending women’s champ, Alyssa Terry, to take the third women's spot in 21:12, finishing 22nd overall. Terry was the fourth woman and 23rd overall in 21:13. Angela Dempsey was the first woman master and seventh female finisher, 35th overall in 22:43.

The 2018 Trailblazer Run For Literacy was hosted by the DeSoto Trail Elementary School PTO as a fundraiser for the school's library. 240 athletes finished the 5K and another 131 completed a one-mile fun run. Both races were chip-timed by Gulf Winds Track Club.

Top Ten Men, 2018 Trailblazer 5K
  1. 16:45, Charlie Johnson (M, 38)
  2. 17:11, Chris O'Kelley (M, 24)
  3. 17:39, Tristan Cravello (M, 18)
  4. 18:09, Ryan Truchelut (M, 32)
  5. 18:26, Jim Halley (M, 38)
  6. 18:34, Kurt Dietrich (M, 26)
  7. 19:26, Paul Guyas (M, 40)
  8. 19:36, Filippo Aldrovandi-Reina (M, 13)
  9. 19:39, Michael Martinez (M, 52)
  10. 19:44, Don Smith (M, 38)

Top Ten Women, 2018 Trailblazer 5K
  1. 18:55, Katie Sherron (F, 38)
  2. 20:50, Jillian Heddaeus (F, 34)
  3. 21:12, Brittney Barnes (F, 30)
  4. 21:13, Alyssa Terry (F, 24)
  5. 21:41, Laura McDermott (F, 38)
  6. 22:15, Monica Toth (F, 29)
  7. 22:43, Angela Dempsey (F, 49)
  8. 22:46, Nancy Proctor (F, 57)
  9. 23:24, Clifton Lewis (F, 9)
  10. 23:26, Paula O'Neill (F, 56)

DeSoto Trail Elementary School Trailblazer 5K winners, 2013 - 2018
23 February 201318:53, Tad David23:53, Elizabeth Squires123
11 January 201420:05, Thomas Konrad25:17, Debbie Peters100
31 January 201516:54, Jack Redwing19:39, Katie Sherron278
30 January 201618:35, Paul Guyas22:15, Kate Chunka179
25 February 201718:33, Geb Kiros22:01, Alyssa Terry212
24 February 201816:45, Charlie Johnson18:55, Katie Sherron240