Monday, March 25, 2019

Speed made the difference for Mike Martinez and Paula O'Neill at the MAD Dash 5K

It could have been a match race on the streets of Tallahassee, Florida between Michael Martinez and Myles Gibson. By the end of Harvest of Life Ministry’s Make-A-Difference Dash 5K, the two master runners were more than 600 meters ahead of the rest of the field, practically in a race by themselves. And when Martinez crossed the finish line at Thomasville Baptist Church that Saturday morning, 23 March 2019, he was a hundred meters ahead of Gibson. Martinez had won the inaugural MAD Dash 5K, running 18:36 to Gibson’s 19:00. Master runner Paula O’Neill was the first woman in the race, placing sixth overall in 23:15.

Michael Martinez
Michael Martinez

The 5K started from Thomasville Road Baptist Church at 8:30 AM, following a one-mile fun run. Martinez and Gibson put a gap on the field right away. Sometimes Gibson would lead, sometimes Martinez.

“He’s a good downhill runner,” Martinez said about Gibson. “He didn’t seem to be feeling well on the uphill, so I would get away from him. But he would come back on the downhill.”

Myles Gibson
Myles Gibson

On a long, uphill stretch near the end of the third kilometer, Martinez got away from Gibson for the final time. Martinez pulled steadily away after that on the way back to the church and his 18:36 win.

“Myles was getting over a cold, so he wasn’t racing like usual today,” said Martinez. “I’ll take it, though!”

Behind Martinez and Gibson, fourteen-year-old Jaze Buchheister took third in 21:43.

Jaze Buchheister
Jaze Buchheister

The MAD Dash wasn’t the first race to be run from the church. The Thomasville Road Baptist Church Road Race had been run in the area annually on the first Saturday in March from 2006 to 2016, and ten of those eleven years the event had included a 5K race. In fact, the course for the MAD Dash was the same as that for the Thomasville Road Baptist Church 5K, but run in reverse. Martinez, though, had never run the previous race.

“I had never seen it before,” he said. “I like the course.”

Paula O'Neill
Paula O'Neill

Unlike Martinez, after the MAD Dash Paula O’Neill had run the course in both directions.

“This was a tougher course that the old 5K,” insisted O’Neill. “It was a lot harder.”

O'Neill started the race with another master runner, Shelby Augustyniak. She was soon ahead of Augustyniak, but never forgot about her.

Shelby Augustyniak
Shelby Augustyniak

“Oh, I knew she was behind me,” said O’Neill. “That was my incentive to keep going.”

O’Neill kept going, returning to the church in 23:15. She was pleased with the performance.

“I don’t know where I pulled that from,” said O’Neill. “I haven’t been doing any speedwork, and I’ve only been able to run every other day.”

Carrie Smith
Carrie Smith

Augustyniak was runner-up in the women’s standings, placing eighth overall in 24:01. Carrie Smith was the third female finisher and thirteenth overall in 26:05.

70 athletes finished the 2019 MAD Dash 5K. Gulf Winds Track Club chip-timed the race.

Top Ten Men, Harvest of Life's 2019 Make-A-Difference Dash 5K
  1. 18:36, Michael Martinez (M, 53)
  2. 19:00, Myles Gibson (M, 52)
  3. 21:43, Jaze Buchheister (M, 14)
  4. 22:36, Jerry McDaniel (M, 65)
  5. 23:15, Philipp Schwarz (M, 16)
  6. 23:37, Adam Hammond (M, 36)
  7. 25:26, Jerry Thornton (M, 55)
  8. 25:30, Zac Wynn (M, 16)
  9. 25:38, David Cox (M, 61)
  10. 25:46, John McConnell (M, 50)

Top Ten Women, Harvest of Life's 2019 Make-A-Difference Dash 5K
  1. 23:15, Paula O'Neill (F, 57)
  2. 24:01, Shelby Augustyniak (F, 42)
  3. 26:05, Carrie Smith (F, 43)
  4. 26:23, Jennifer Hill (F, 59)
  5. 27:10, Debbie Peters (F, 58)
  6. 29:10, Elizabeth Eversole (F, 23)
  7. 30:28, Kim Kumar (F, 36)
  8. 30:36, Deborah Eppinger (F, 24)
  9. 30:33, Julie Gamache (F, 13)
  10. 30:36, Dawn Gamache (F, 44)


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