Saturday, June 30, 2018

Ryan Truchelut and Amy Hines were swift on the sand at the Paul Hoover 5K

It isn’t true that in 1843, when Wakulla County was created out of Leon County, the dividing line was drawn where the red clay ended and the sand of the coastal plain began. The sand actually starts just south of Tallahassee, Florida before you're out of Leon County. It continues south into Wakulla, and from there all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. So it is true that once you cross the county line into Wakulla, you’ll find nothing but sand, punctuated with the occasional limestone outcropping. That includes Florida's Wakulla Springs State Park, and it also includes the course of the sixth annual Paul Hoover Memorial 5K Freedom Run inside the park.

Geology will tell you why all that sand is there. Ryan Truchelut relied on another science to explain the state of the sand at the race.

Ryan Truchelut
Ryan Truchelut

“The sand was actually pretty firm today,” said Truchelut. “There were a few loose patches but nothing like the sugar sand of past years. It’s due to the wet conditions the last couple of weeks. But as a meteorologist I could talk about the weather and its effect on the sand for quite a while.”

Rather than lecture about the sand on Saturday morning, 30 June 2018, Truchelut raced on it, winning the Freedom 5K in 18:21. Amy Hines was the first woman in the race, placing third overall in 19:10.

Amy Hines
Amy Hines

In spite of the frequent rains that Truchelut mentioned, it was a sunny morning when the Freedom 5K started just after 8:00 AM. Myles Gibson led the early charge off of the park’s paved drives and onto the trail headed to Cherokee Sink, the site of the mid-race turn-around. A crop inspector, Gibson had traveled all the way from his home in Donalsonville, Georgia for the race.

“The tomatoes are done and I switched my sweet corn days because I wanted to run this race,” said Gibson. “I decided to go out hard from the start today. I was in first for about a quarter mile, but my pace just cratered when I hit the sand.”

Myles Gibson, Macon McCord
Myles Gibson

That was where Truchelut took over.

“I passed Myles at about a third of a mile,” said Truchelut. “After that I was running alone, just me and the sand. I tried to work on my form.

“It was pretty uneventful.”

Brad Busboom
Brad Busboom

It was for Truchelut while he cruised home unchallenged in a winning 18:21. Brad Busboom picked off the fading Gibson to take second in 18:40. Mason McCord, a junior on the Wakulla High cross-country team, also overtook Gibson, placing third in the men's standings and fourth overall in 19:44. A few steps behind McCord at the finish line, Gibson was the first master runner in the race, taking fifth overall in 19:48.

With the eye of a cross-country runner, Amy Hines noticed where the good footing was on the course.

Kat Sack
Kat Sack

“It seemed better in the shady spots,” said Hines. “The sand seemed harder packed.”

Perhaps Hines had a gift for finding those shady spots, because her 19:10 was the fastest time ever posted by a woman at the Freedom Run. The previous women’s course record was 19:51, set in the 2015 race by Katie Sherron. No other women have broken 20:00 at the Freedom Run.

After running together early in the race, Kat Sack took the second women's spot over Alyssa Terry, 21:55 to 22:04. Sack and Terry were seventeenth and eighteenth overall. Summer Williams, a senior on the Florida High cross-country team, was the fourth woman and nineteenth overall in 22:16. Angela Dempsey was the first woman master and sixth female finisher, 25th overall in 23:00.

Alyssa Terry
Alyssa Terry

Hines' 19:10 wasn't the only record that morning. There were also a record number of finishers in the race, 213. It was the first time that more than 200 athletes had finished the Freedom Run.

The Freedom Run 5K was established in 2013 as a fundraiser for Coach Paul Hoover's cross-country team at Wakulla High. After Hoover's tragic death in 2017, the Wakulla High Cross-Country Boosters continued the race as a memorial to Coach Hoover. Gulf Winds Track Club chip-timed the 2018 Paul Hoover Memorial 5K Freedom Run.

Top Ten Men, 2018 Freedom 5K
  1. 18:21, Ryan Truchelut (M, 32)
  2. 18:40, Brad Busboom (M, 30)
  3. 19:44, Mason McCord (M, 16)
  4. 19:48, Myles Gibson (M, 52)
  5. 19:49, Daniel Wiedeman (M, 16)
  6. 19:59, Jim Halley (M, 38)
  7. 20:03, Don Smith (M, 38)
  8. 20:21, Michael Martinez (M, 52)
  9. 20:41, Aaron Guyer (M, 43)
  10. 20:44, Duane Evans (M, 51)

Top Ten Women, 2018 Freedom 5K
  1. 19:10, Amy Hines (F, 37)
  2. 21:55, Kat Sack (F, 26)
  3. 22:04, Alyssa Terry (F, 24)
  4. 22:16, Summer Williams (F, 16)
  5. 22:55, Nikky Manausa (F, 36)
  6. 23:00, Angela Dempsey (F, 49)
  7. 23:04, Brittney Barnes (F, 30)
  8. 23:58, Nancy Proctor (F, 57)
  9. 24:04, Nancy Stedman (F, 56)
  10. 24:15, Vaishali Desai (F, 31)

Paul Hoover Freedom 5K winners, 2013 - 2018
29 June 201317:33, Stanley Linton21:12, Madison Harris107
28 June 201419:23, Reikan Lin20:12, Madison Harris82
27 June 201517:36, Zack DeVeau19:51, Katie Sherron173
25 June 201617:48, Wright Calhoun20:00, Madison Harris138
24 June 201716:32, Justin Keefe21:52, Haleigh Martin183
30 June 201818:21, Ryan Truchelut19:10, Amy Hines213


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