Saturday, March 24, 2018

Duane Evans and Laura McDermott ran best at the Bobcat

It was a chilly morning in Tallahassee, Florida on Saturday, 24 March 2018, the kind of temperatures that make you think of high school or college cross-country season. That comes in the autumn, though, and it was definitely spring, as evidenced by the budding leaves and blooming flowers. Regardless of the season, more than 200 athletes showed up at the Alford Greenway for some cross-country running at Buck Lake Elementary School’s second annual Bobcat 5K Family Trail Run. Crawfordville, Florida master runner Duane Evans was the fastest of the 114 who finished the 5K, the main event, winning the race in 20:07. Laura McDermott of Tallahassee, a teacher at Buck Lake, was the first woman in the race, placing third overall in 21:34.

Duane Evans
Duane Evans

The morning opened with a one-mile fun run at 8:30 AM. The 5K, scheduled for 9:00, started closer to 9:10. A crowd of youngsters charged out into the lead, but their exuberance only lasted them through the first 400 meters. Their pace slowed as they began to realize just how long 5000 meters is. Evans moved ahead of them. With ten years of racing experience, he knew exactly how far he was going.


“I didn’t start running till I was 40,” said Evans. “The competitive bug just kind of bit me. I used to watch my son run at North Florida Christian, and they would have open races. I would see guys my age racing, and thought, ‘Hey, I could do that.’”

J R Alford Greenway
2018 Bobcat 5K

He could, and he did, and ten years later he still was. Halfway through the Bobcat 5K Evans was more than 100 meters ahead of the next runner. By the end of the race he had widened that margin to nearly 300 meters, crossing the finish line in a winning 20:07. Thirteen-year old Connor Edwards was second in 21:24. Seventeen-year-old David Guhl was third in the men's standings and fourth overall in 22:05.


“I like this course,” said Evans. “It’s tough, but I like it. I’ve run the Bluebird 5K out here and I remember the grass being taller.”

Connor Edwards, David Guhl
Connor Edwards & David Guhl

Evans had indeed run the Bluebird Run for Brookie B 5K at the Alford Greenway in 2015, running 20:38. A September race, the grass is usually thicker at the Greenway at that time of year, having had all summer to grow. But the course at the Greenway isn't all grass. There's also crushed oyster shell paths, dirt, gravel, and loose sand.


“There was a lot of variety out there,” said Evans. “But it was all uphill!”

Laura McDermott
Laura McDermott

“It’s really pretty,” said Laura McDermott, the women’s champ, describing the course. “But I’m usually looking at the ground.”


That’s not a bad idea in cross-country, where a root can catch your toe and have you on the ground. But McDermott navigated the tricky footing more than successfully, improving on her performance in the inaugural Bobcat 5K. In the 2017 run, she had been second in the women’s division in 21:49; a year later she was first in 21:34.

Elise Ferguson
Elise Ferguson

When you’re going to the Alford Greenway, just before you arrive you pass by Swift Creek Middle School. It was an eighth-grader from Swift Creek, Elise Ferguson, who was runner-up to McDermott in the women’s standings. Ferguson, a member of the Swift Creek cross-country team, placed thirteenth overall in 25:45. Laura York was the first woman master and third female finisher, nineteenth overall in 27:16.


Gulf Winds Track Club chip-timed the 2018 Bobcat 5K as well as the one-mile fun run.


Top Ten Men, 2018 Bobcat 5K Cross-Country Race
  1. 20:07, Duane Evans (M, 50)
  2. 21:24, Connor Edwards (M, 13)
  3. 22:05, David Guhl (M, 17)
  4. 22:36, Matthew Trager (M, 37)
  5. 23:00, Michael Quiggins (M, 45)
  6. 23:09, Jason Ishler (M, 32)
  7. 23:26, Dan Faulkner (M, 28)
  8. 24:45, Ashton York (M, 13)
  9. 25:37, Stephen Gensits (M, 62)
  10. 25:42, Brandon Griffith (M, 33)

Top Ten Women, 2018 Bobcat 5K Cross-Country Race
  1. 21:34, Laura McDermott (F, 38)
  2. 25:45, Elise Ferguson (F, 14)
  3. 27:16, Laura York (F, 41)
  4. 28:35, Katie Purcell (F, 31)
  5. 28:37, Jennifer Bermudez (F, 22)
  6. 28:49, Stephanie Hurt (F, 66)
  7. 29:37, Annie Prescott (F, 33)
  8. 29:37, Danielle Zemola (F, 39)
  9. 29:39, Kathleen Hamilton (F, 55)
  10. 29:41, Emily Sikes (F, 37)

Winners of the Bobcat 5K Cross-Country Race, 2017 - 2018
DateMenWomenFinishers
25 March 201720:41, Kyle Spratt21:32, Stacie Elliott102
24 March 201820:07, Duane Evans21:34, Laura McDermott114


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