Saturday, January 5, 2019

More tales of the Swamp Forest Trail

North of Tallahassee, Florida, most of the 670 acres of Phipps Park is on a slope descending west to the shore of Lake Jackson. It’s not an uninterrupted descent. Streams, swamps, and steepheads punctuate the terrain. There are gullies, too; relics of poor soil management practices back when the land was planted in cotton. The cotton is gone, as are the men and mules that worked it. The park is mostly forest now.

Jim Halley
Jim Halley

There are roads through the trees, narrow and unpaved, leftovers from when the land was a hunting preserve. Cyclists, equestrians, and runners use the roads. Runners are especially active during the fall cross-country season, coming to Phipps Park for the Miller Landing Madness, the Cougar Cross-Country Challenge, and the Red Hills Cross-Country Invitational.

Phipps Park also has a network of hiking trails, separate from the roads but going up and down the same hills. Those paths are frequented by walkers and trail runners. The trail runners are experiencing the same topography as the cross-country runners, but never seeing the same paths. It’s like an episode of “The Twilight Zone,” where aliens occupy the same space as we do, but in a different dimension, so that we never encounter each other.

Laura Sellati
Laura Sellati

More than a few trail aficianados were in the park on Saturday morning, 5 January 2019, for Gulf Winds Track Club’s sixth annual Swamp Forest Trail Races. After Hurricane Michael in October, the park was missing some of the trees from previous years, but nearly all of the damage had been cleared from the trails. Trees don’t need a storm to fall, though. Sometimes it’s just a tree’s time.

“A big one was down on the course this morning,” reported Bobby York, the race director. “It fell after we marked the course.”

Tristan Lanasa
Tristan Lanasa

In addition to the fallen tree, the athletes had to negotiate mud, sand, leaves, gravel, pine needles, tree roots, and terrain that you rarely see this side of the piedmont. It was a trail runner’s dream.

Four races started at 8:00 AM, a quarter-marathon, a half-marathon, a marathon, and a 50-kilometer. The actual distances were a bit longer than posted, being one, two, four, and five laps around a loop that York said was 6.85 miles, while some runners claimed it was seven miles or more.

Alyssa Terry
Alyssa Terry and friends

The first finishers of the morning were in the quarter-marathon, led by Jim Halley. Halley, the director of the Swamp Forest Trail Races in 2017 and 2018, won the race in 52:50. The first master runner across the finish line was Camilo Ordonez, second overall in 1:03:05. Laura Sellati was the first woman in the quarter-marathon, placing fourth overall in 1:04:14. Sonya Dudley was the first woman master and fourth female finisher, eleventh overall in 1:14:10.

Top Ten Men, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2019 Swamp Forest Trail Quarter Marathon
  1. 0:52:50, Jim Halley (M, 39)
  2. 1:03:05, Camilo Ordonez (M, 40)
  3. 1:03:41, Chris Bracken (M, 41)
  4. 1:04:53, Juan Ordonez (M, 44)
  5. 1:08:27, Stephen Gensits (M, 63)
  6. 1:12:25, Taylor Van Winkle (M, 28)
  7. 1:12:43, Frank M McDaniel (M, 30)
  8. 1:15:54, Jack Weaver (M, 63)
  9. 1:17:15, Jon Dropco (M, 41)
  10. 1:17:25, Scott Nelson (M, 25)

Top Ten Women, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2019 Swamp Forest Trail Quarter Marathon
  1. 1:04:14, Laura Sellati (F, 39)
  2. 1:06:15, Sherri Wise (F, 37)
  3. 1:09:00, Kristin Halley (F, 37)
  4. 1:14:10, Sonya Dudley (F, 50)
  5. 1:16:49, Kim Sims (F, 39)
  6. 1:17:44, Brittany Bevis (F, 33)
  7. 1:20:15, Jennifer Gensits (F, 55)
  8. 1:20:56, Sarah Logan Beasley (F, 27)
  9. 1:21:53, Jasmine Spitler (F, 24)
  10. 1:25:52, Megan Jones (F, 22)

Some athletes in the short race were still on the course when Tristan Lanasa won the half marathon in 1:57:14. Will Hanley was the first master runner in the half marathon, finishing runner-up to Lanasa in 2:02:34. Alyssa Terry took the women's title, running 2:07:27 for fifth overall. Lourena Maxwell was the top woman master and runner-up in the women's standings, coming in tenth overall in 2:12:35.

Kevin Hanna
Kevin Hanna

Top Ten Men, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2019 Swamp Forest Trail Half Marathon
  1. 1:57:14, Tristan Lanasa (M, 25)
  2. 2:02:34, Will Hanley (M, 44)
  3. 2:07:00, Joel Piotrowski (M, 49)
  4. 2:07:00, Kyle Kraeft (M, 29)
  5. 2:09:39, David Yon (M, 63)
  6. 2:11:17, Jimbo Smart (M, 49)
  7. 2:11:27, Kevin Malfa (M, 35)
  8. 2:11:52, Alex Braun (M, 21)
  9. 2:14:28, Philip Sura (M, 48)
  10. 2:17:10, Julian Strickland (M, 53)

Top Ten Women, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2019 Swamp Forest Trail Half Marathon
  1. 2:07:27, Alyssa Terry (F, 25)
  2. 2:12:35, Lourena Maxwell (F, 44)
  3. 2:16:17, Laura Reina (F, 54)
  4. 2:16:25, Monica Toth (F, 30)
  5. 2:17:03, Melissa Hooke (F, 40)
  6. 2:27:50, Deirdre McCarthy (F, 39)
  7. 2:29:45, Megan Orcutt (F, 33)
  8. 2:32:20, Martha Guyas (F, 34)
  9. 2:32:25, Karima Anderson (F, 32)
  10. 2:34:43, Shealyn Sullivan (F, 18)

Master runner Kevin Hanna won the marathon by over an hour, running 4:39:22. Master runner Anne Carroll was the first woman in the marathon, placing third overall in 6:04:00.

Anne Carroll
Anne Carroll

Top Four Men, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2019 Swamp Forest Trail Marathon
  1. 4:39:22, Kevin Hanna (M, 41)
  2. 5:41:59, Jeff Bryan (M, 51)
  3. 6:04:30, Jimmy Williams (M, 45)
  4. 6:49:12, Jeff Picker (M, 56)

Top Woman, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2019 Swamp Forest Trail Marathon
  1. 6:04:00, Anne Carroll (F, 52)

The 50K was a new addition to the Swamp Forest Trail Race in 2019, and master runner Zachary Grossman was the first winner of the event, running 5:27:12. Less than three minutes after Grossman finished, Rachel Wombles followed him across the finish line in 5:30:07, the first woman in the race. Monica Judd, last year’s women’s champ in the Swamp Forest Trail Marathon, was the first woman master in the 50K, placing third overall in 5:42:12.

Zachary Grossman
Zachary Grossman

128 athletes finished one of the four events at the 2019 Swamp Forest Trail Run. Gulf Winds Track Club chip timed the races.

Top Two Men, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2019 Swamp Forest Trail 50K
  1. 5:27:12, Zachary Grossman (M, 41)
  2. 7:32:32, Gary Johnston (M, 43)

Rachel Wombles
Rachel Wombles

Top Three Women, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2019 Swamp Forest Trail 50K
  1. 5:30:07, Rachel Wombles (F, 39)
  2. 5:42:12, Monica Judd (F, 44)
  3. 6:52:33, Lisa Homann (F, 48)

Gulf Winds Track Club's Swamp Forest Trail Marathon winners, 2014 - 2019
4 January 2014Marathon4:07:10, Douglas Bell5:26:39, Carla McDonald23
Half Marathon1:54:23, Jon Mason2:02:14, Brook Pace65
Quarter Marathon56:03, David Hill1:05:38, Shelley Yaun35
3 January 2015Marathon4:06:02, Dink Taylor5:04:46, Jamie Harris21
Half Marathon1:43:54, Taylor Buzzard2:17:32, Kenzie Mazziotta82
Quarter Marathon54:34, Jim Halley1:01:22, Angela Dempsey55
3 January 2016Marathon3:59:49, Douglas Bell5:07:47, Danielle Zemola17
Half Marathon1:36:58, Taylor Buzzard2:20:54, Isabel Anderson56
Quarter Marathon54:17, Jose Fernandez1:02:50, Lindsay James68
7 January 2017Marathon3:28:44, Gary Gellin
Half Marathon1:34:17, Charlie Johnson2:08:19, Sandy Johnson56
Quarter Marathon52:34, Eric Sager1:13:24, Sonya Dudley56
6 January 2018Marathon4:24:26, Zachary Grossman5:15:36, Monica Judd25
Half Marathon1:28:44, Charlie Johnson2:04:55, Kat Sack58
Quarter Marathon52:51, Eric Sager59:08, Rachael Stockel70
5 January 201950K5:27:12, Zachary Grossman5:30:07, Rachel Wombles5
Marathon4:39:22, Kevin Hanna6:04:00, Anne Carroll5
Half Marathon1:57:14, Tristan Lanasa2:07:27, Alyssa Terry56
Quarter Marathon52:50, Jim Halley1:04:14, Laura Sellati64


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