Tuesday, April 3, 2018

In the 1980s, Springtime was Paul Waldron time

Paul WaldronNo one has ever run under 30:00 at Tallahassee, Florida's Springtime Road Race 10K. Larry Greene came closest, running 30:03 in 1984. Only a handful of athletes have gone sub-31:00 in the race. Muchapiwa Mazano went 30:56 in 1999, the first of his three straight Springtime wins. Joseph Zepherinus also ran 30:56, his winning time in the 2003 Springtime 10K. But only one athlete has cracked 31:00 more than once at Springtime, Paul Waldron. Waldron, a three-time Springtime winner, also broke 31:00 in the race three times.


Waldron first ran sub 31:00 at Springtime in 1984, the year Larry Greene went 30:03. Waldron was third in the race, running 30:28. According to prolific course measurer Bill McGuire, the course was slightly short that year.


"When GWTC measurement specialist John Hesselbart certified the new course for the 1985 race, it was found to have been approximately sixty yards short for the preceding two years," wrote McGuire.


But Waldron was back in 1985, this time running a winning 30:30 on the newly-certified course. Waldron got his second Springtime win in 1988, running 31:22. In 1989 Waldron logged his third win and his third Springtime sub-31:00, posting a 30:49.


Paul Waldron arrived in Tallahassee in 1982 as a student-athlete at Florida State University, transferring from Seminole Community College. Waldron led the Florida State cross-country squad and went 29:43.10 for 10,000-meters on the track for the Seminoles.


"He was a very quiet teammate but he was always focused," said Ronnie Treadway, who ran cross-country and track with Waldron at Florida State.


Remaining in Tallahassee after graduating from Florida State, Waldron continued to train and to race. During his sojourn in Tallahassee he won most of the city's major races, winning the 1986 Palace Saloon 5K with a 14:36 and the 1987 Tallahassee Turkey Trot 15K with a 46:26. The latter still stands as the Turkey Trot record. His 14:36 at the Palace Saloon wasn't his fastest road 5K in Tallahassee; Waldron had a 14:28 win at the 1985 Reservation Run 5K.


Waldron was still active in the area running during the 1990s. He won Eglin Air Force Base's Gate-to-Gate Memorial Day Run in 1992 and logged a second-place finish in the 1994 Springtime 10K, running 32:31. Waldron still owns Blakely, Georgia's Crowdis 5K record, the 14:52 he ran in the 1992 race. He eventually left, Tallahassee, though. Today he's an artist living in Tucson, Arizona. But his athletic accomplishments in Tallahassee still color the Capital City's record books.


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