Saturday, April 14, 2018

Paul Hodge and Rory Claussen were the early birds at the Worm Gruntin' 5K

Athletes enjoyed mild temperatures, a gentle breeze, and a flat course in Sopchoppy, Florida on Saturday morning, 14 April 2018, during the annual Worm Gruntin' Festival 5K. Taking advantage of those close to ideal conditions, Tallahassee, Florida master runner Paul Hodge ran 19:04, winning the race by nearly 130 meters. Rory Claussen of Panama City, Florida took the women's title. Claussen, a sixth-grader who runs for the Shaldera Panthers Track Club, placed third overall in 19:43.

Duane Evans finished runner-up in the 5K, running 19:34. Evans, a master runner from nearby Crawfordville, Florida, was fifth in the 2016 Worm Gruntin' race and fourth in 2017. Another Worm Gruntin' 5K veteran, twelve-year old Josiah Chadwell, was the third overall male in the 2018 race, placing fifth overall in 19:59. Chadwell had run 22:20 the previous year, coming in tenth overall.

A few steps behind Claussen, Melissa Luke of Tifton, Georgia finished second in the women's standings and fourth overall in 19:46. Alyssa Langston, a junior on the Wakulla High cross-country team, was the third woman and eighth overall in 21:36. Paula O'Neill of Tallahassee, Florida was the first woman master and fourth female finisher; O'Neill placed twelfth overall in 23:51.

Worm Grunting, also called worm fiddling, is a method of using vibrations to drive earthworms above ground, where they can be collected as fish bait. This is usually done by rubbing an object against a stake driven into the ground. It's a lot neater than digging up your yard with a shovel, and according to Charles Darwin it actually works. Darwin remains silent, though, on whether fiddling the right tune will also get the worms to crawl onto a fish hook for you, or even head down to the river and fetch you a mess of trout.

Sopchoppy citizens practice worm grunting in the nearby Apalachicola National Forest, and celebrate the practice with an annual Worm Gruntin' Festival. Naturally, a festival requires a footrace, thus the Worm Gruntin' 5K.

155 athletes finished the 2018 Worm Gruntin' Festival 5K. Miles and Minutes, LLC, of Tallahassee, Florida timed and scored the race.

Top Ten Men, 2018 Worm Gruntin' Festival 5K
  1. 19:03.86, Paul Hodge (M, 56)
  2. 19:33.81, Duane Evans (M, 50)
  3. 19:58.88, Josiah Chadwell (M, 12)
  4. 20:12.50, Bill Starling (M, 30)
  5. 20:23.03, Andrew Wilber (M, 28)
  6. 21:42.72, David Yorio (M, 41)
  7. 21:57.70, Chase Roberts (M, 15)
  8. 23:27.95, Spencer Claussen (M, 12)
  9. 24:03.46, Spencer Hingman (M, 14)
  10. 24:10.82, Raymond Powers (M, 26)

Top Ten Women, 2018 Worm Gruntin' Festival 5K
  1. 19:42.87, Rory Claussen (F, 12)
  2. 19:45.09, Melissa Luke (F, 36)
  3. 21:35.78, Alyssa Langston (F, 17)
  4. 23:50.79, Paula O'Neill (F, 56)
  5. 24:12.99, Caroline Cummings (F, 13)
  6. 26:00.43, Casey Tozzi (F, 37)
  7. 26:17.70, Morris Davis (F, 61)
  8. 26:44.23, Jessica Pichard (F, 26)
  9. 26:53.01, Catherine Jones (F, 58)
  10. 27:10.27, Debbie Peters (F, 57)

Known winners of the Sopchoppy, Florida, Worm Grunting Festival 5K, 2003 - 2018
12 April 2003
10 April 2004
9 April 200518:36, Mackey Tyndall20:57, Julie Clark59
8 April 2006Karl HempelKarmen Duchon55
14 April 200720:11, Brett TempletonSydney Nutting56
14 April 201217:27, Stanley Linton23:00, Julie Rose Travis111
13 April 201315:56, Stanley Linton21:46, Emily Smith139
12 April 201420:48, Travis Parks21:20, Kayla Webbe140
11 April 201517:45, Chase Savary22:05, Hannah Wheatcraft153
9 April 201617:22, Matthew Phillips20:22, Mariah Tinger154
8 April 201717:49, Stanley Linton21:18, Alyssa Terry146
14 April 201819:04, Paul Hodge19:43, Rory Claussen155


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