Saturday, February 16, 2019

Charlie Kline and Amanda Sava finish a dozen kilometers in a Flash

On the outskirts of Saint Marks, Florida less than fifteen seconds separated four runners racing south on the Saint Marks Trail. It was Saturday morning, 16 February 2019, and Charlie Johnson, Charlie Kline, Michael Rhodes, and Chris O'Kelley were leading Gulf Winds Track Club's 31st annual Flash 12K, just 2500 meters from the finish line at Fort San Marcos de Apalachee State Park. Minutes later it was Charlie Kline who crossed that finish line first, passing Charlie Johnson late in the race to win the 12K in 43:04. Amanda Sava was the first woman, placing twelfth overall in 52:08.

Chris O'Kelley, Charlie Kline, Charlie Johnson
Chris O'Kelley, Charlie Kline, and Charlie Johnson

The race also started from the park, with the runners heading six kilometers north on the Saint Marks Rail Trail before turning around to retrace their route for the second half of the race. Three minutes after the 8:30 AM command to start, Michael Rhodes was leading the 12K field. The Perry, Florida master runner had also led the Flash in 2018. That year he had eventually been overtaken by Chris O'Kelley, who went on to win in 44:20 while Rhodes took second in 45:39. This year O'Kelley was in a group of three runners chasing Rhodes, including Charlie Johnson and Charlie Kline. At two kilometers Rhodes was 80 meters ahead, but the pursuit was closing.

Michael Rhodes
Michael Rhodes

"They passed me right at the water table at the turnaround," said Rhodes.

Johnson led on the return trip, followed by Kline and O'Kelley, then Rhodes. Defending champ O'Kelley fell back, and he and Rhodes began racing for third place. But Kline kept in contact with Johnson.

Charlie Johnson
Charlie Johnson

"Charlie had the lead coming off the bike path," said Kline. "He was still five seconds up on me and I didn't think I could close. But he started waving to me and saying, 'Come on, Charlie!' I passed him with 600 meters to go. I thought he would come back, but he didn't."

No, he didn't. Kline made it back to the Fort first in 43:04, with Johnson second in 43:11. O'Kelley passed Rhodes on the final stretch to take third in 43:23. Close behind in 43:27, Rhodes was the first master runner in the race and fourth overall.

Charlie Kline
Charlie Kline

Twelve kilometers is an unusual distance in the world of road racing, which is dominated by five kilometer races with a sprinkling of ten kilometer events, half marathons, and full marathons. 12K was not a familiar distance for Amanda Sava.

"I hadn't run 12K before," said Sava. "But I ran several 6K races back in college. I ran for FIT in Melbourne."

Amanda Sava
Amanda Sava

Six kilometers is the championship distance for women's cross-country in the NCAA, so she had raced 6K more than once while competing for the Florida Tech Panthers cross-country team. Now studying for a master's degree in meteorology at Florida State, Sava was doubling that distance at the Flash 12K. She trailed Brittney Barnes in the early going, but by the two-kilometer mark Sava was setting the pace for the women's field.

"The course was flat and fast and the weather was great," said Sava. "It was hard after the turnaround, though. There wasn't anyone to run with."

Stephanie Liles-Weyant
Stephanie Liles-Weyant

The long, straight stretches of the Saint Marks Trail may not be physically difficult, but they are psychologically taxing. Sava toughed it out, though, finishing with a 300 meter lead over the next woman in the race in a winning 52:08. About two miles from the finish, Stephanie Liles-Weyant overtook Barnes. Liles-Weyant, the first woman in the 2008 Flash 12K, went on to finish runner-up in the women's standings and fifteenth overall in 53:23. Running 54:31, Barnes was the third woman and 22nd overall.

Brittney Barnes
Brittney Barnes

Top Ten Men, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2019 Flash 12K
  1. 43:04, Charlie Kline (M, 26)
  2. 43:11, Charlie Johnson (M, 39)
  3. 43:23, Chris O'Kelley (M, 25)
  4. 43:27, Michael Rhodes (M, 50)
  5. 46:34, Ryan Truchelut (M, 33)
  6. 48:06, Myles Gibson (M, 52)
  7. 48:54, Don Smith (M, 39)
  8. 49:25, Thomas Murphy (M, 49)
  9. 49:45, David Knauf (M, 54)
  10. 50:07, Bill McNulty (M, 60)

Top Ten Women, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2019 Flash 12K
  1. 52:08, Amanda Sava (F, 24)
  2. 53:23, Stephanie Liles-Weyant (F, 46)
  3. 54:31, Brittney Barnes (F, 31)
  4. 55:31, Lourena Maxwell (F, 44)
  5. 56:22, Sherri Wise (F, 37)
  6. 56:37, Laura McDermott (F, 39)
  7. 56:59, Jillian Heddaeus (F, 35)
  8. 57:55, Laura Sellati (F, 39)
  9. 58:03, Monica Toth (F, 30)
  10. 58:12, Ruffian Tyner (F, 43)

Since 2009, the Flash has included a 6K race, run concurrently with the 12K. Jana Stolting, at the time a Maclay School cross-country runner, won that inaugural 6K, running 21:36. No one had run a faster Flash 6K since.

Gary Droze
Gary Droze

Not until 2019, anyway. Master runner Gary Droze, who had been Stolting's coach at Maclay, hammered the 2019 Flash 6K, leading from start to finish and winning by more than 900 meters in new event record of 21:04. Master runner Michael Martinez, himself the 2013 winner of the Flash 6K, took second in 24:56. Joshua Liles placed third in 25:34.

Eleven-year-old Madison Sims, a sixth-grader on the Fort Braden Middle School cross-country team, took first in the women's standings, placing seventh overall in 28:51. Georgina Hernandez was the women's runner-up and eighth overall in 29:04. Paula O'Neill was the first woman master and third female finisher, eleventh overall in 30:56.

Madison Sims
Madison Sims

181 athletes finished the 2019 Flash 12K, and another 111 completed the 6K. Gulf Winds Track Club chip-timed both races.

Top Ten Men, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2019 Flash 6K
  1. 21:04, Gary Droze (M, 57)
  2. 24:56, Michael Martinez (M, 53)
  3. 25:34, Joshua Liles (M, 19)
  4. 26:22, Kevin Lane (M, 29)
  5. 27:35, William Carter (M, 54)
  6. 28:10, Nathan Rhodes (M, 40)
  7. 29:46, Stephen Gensits (M, 63)
  8. 30:30, Kyle Sill (M, 35)
  9. 31:13, Erik Davis (M, 37)
  10. 31:35, Jonathan Jackson (M, 39)

Top Ten Women, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2019 Flash 6K
  1. 28:51, Madison Sims (F, 11)
  2. 29:04, Georgina Hernandez (F, 28)
  3. 30:56, Paula Oneill (F, 57)
  4. 31:13, Kristina Lamb (F, 32)
  5. 31:16, Mercedes Puig (F, 34)
  6. 31:19, Kaitlyn Lane (F, 26)
  7. 32:12, Holly Otoole (F, 42)
  8. 32:37, Kara Barrentine (F, 37)
  9. 32:37, Andria Achong (F, 34)
  10. 32:41, Kasey Gordon (F, 28)

Gulf Winds Track Club Flash 12K Champions, 1989 - 2019
28 January 198912K39:44, John Devine48:50, Barbara Balzer 155
17 February 199012K44:10, David Rigby54:40, Kathy Weiss 102
26 January 199112K39:36, Jessie Close50:24, Tina Davies163
18 January 199212K39:33, Jessie Close45:24, Paula Johnson132
23 January 199312K42:40, Jonathan Bigg45:43, Linda Nilges134
15 January 199412K38:02, Robin Rogers45:34, Jane Johnson91
21 January 199512K40:49, Gary Droze45:34, Jane Johnson145
27 January 199612K41:10, Gary Droze44:27, Jane Johnson132
11 January 199712K39:25, Brian Erb47:57, Sarah Williams75
7 February 199812K42:57, Clarence Calloway45:12, Sarah Williams164
20 February 199912K44:40, Tim Simpkins46:27, Sarah Williams82
19 February 200012K39:44, Michael Strickland46:06, Sara Docter-Williams107
17 February 200112K43:56, Tim Unger45:38, Sarah Docter-Williams 98
16 February 200212K40:35, Gary Droze47:17, Jane Johnson 148
1 February 200312K42:52, Shawn Patterson52:18, Lisa Whitworth 80
7 February 200412K42:46, Tim Unger52:49, Lisa Whitworth 89
5 February 200512K42:05, Lee Willis45:30, Sarah Docter-Williams 118
4 February 200612K42:49, Vince Molosky50:21, Lisa Johnson89
17 February 200712K44:58, Todd Smoot52:22, Kim Likens74
16 February 200812K43:10, Tripp Southerland50:57, Stephanie Liles131
21 February 200912K42:34, Jay Wallace50:48, Jane Johnson105
6K23:21, Brian Corbin21:36, Jana Stolting30
20 February 201012K41:57, Daniel Lee47:12, Sheryl Rosen176
6K24:43, Ben Kail31:35, Rachel Phipps53
19 February 201112K40:57, Thomas Kunish49:23, Kelly Stevens214
6K23:59, Caleb Harris31:26, Ashton McMurray73
18 February 201212K41:23, Stephen Cox49:52, Katie Showman214
6K24:57, Duane Evans27:39, Nancy Gribble89
16 February 201312K38:41, Kevin Sullivan46:17, Sheryl Rosen268
6K21:54, Michael Martinez25:09, Jessica Gillard70
15 February 201412K39:39, Stanley Linton45:20, Seeley Gutierrez262
6K21:56, Jon Mason28:15, Sarah Taff85
21 February 201512K42:03, Zach Deveau47:33, Sheryl Rosen207
6K23:30, Duane Evans24:20, Katie Gorman98
20 February 201612K40:52, Roger Schmidt50:43, Katie Sherron213
6K23:17, Travis Parks32:26, Leah Kiros87
18 February 201712K43:25, Vince Molosky47:31, Katie Sherron162
6K22:02, Geb Kiros26:02, Katie Sack128
17 February 201812K44:20, Chris O'Kelley48:20, Sheryl Rosen168
6K22:53, Geb Kiros27:05, Christina Linton114
16 February 201912K43:04, Charlie Kline52:08, Amanda Sava181
6K21:04, Gary Droze28:51, Madison Sims111
In 1989-2004 the race started and finished in Chaires. (FL88036BH and FL94001DL)
In 2005-2010 the race started and finished at J. Lewis Hall Park in Woodville. (FL05007DL)
In 2011-2019 the race started and finished at Fort San Marcos de Apalachee in St. Marks.



  1. Herb, thank you so much for maintaining this facts page for the Flash 12k/6k.

    1. It's what I do! See you in Saint Marks at the next Flash on Saturday morning, 15 February 2020!