Monday, June 13, 2022

Chris O'Kelley and Nancy Stedman rush through Phipps Park to get Potluck cross-country wins

Gulf Winds Track Club's Potluck Four Mile is an annual cross-country race in Tallahassee, Florida with a different course each year. You can do that in Phipps Park. Because there is a prediction division at the event, there are no mile marks and runners aren't allowed to wear watches. So when I asked Chris O'Kelley when it was that he broke out into the lead, his answer didn't rely on course markers or clocks, but on his running experience and his knowledge of the Phipps Park trails.

Chris O'Kelley
Chris O'Kelley

"It was about a mile?" opined O'Kelley. "I broke away going up the hill near Gate B, then put in a surge on the downhill to widen the gap.

"I got impatient."

After that, he was in a hurry to get to the finish line. O'Kelley arrived there more than 600 meters ahead of everyone else in the race, winning in 26:15. Tallahassee master runner Nancy Stedman was the first woman in the four miler, coming in twelfth overall in 36:31.

Early Leaders
Early Leaders

Before he became short on patience, O'Kelley had been running in a group with Alex Marshall, Andrew Nix, and Duane Evans. Marshall and Nix were rising juniors on the Wakulla High cross-country team, but it was Evans, the master runner, who hung on to finish runner-up in 29:01. Another master runne, Paul Guyas, took third in 30:55. Nix ended the race fifth in 32:28 while Marshall was eighth in 35:51.

Early in the race, while Andrew Nix was setting the pace for the leaders around the Meadows Soccer Complex, Nancy Stedman was already well ahead of the rest of the women's field. There wasn't a late-race challenge after that, nor a dramatic break-away move. Stedman simply went on to win the women's title by more than 400 meters, covering the course in 36:31. Martha Guyas took second in the women's standings, placing thirteenth overall in 39:11. Master runner Beth Alexander was the third woman and eighteenth overall in 41:19.

Nancy Stedman
Nancy Stedman

The speed winner was known as soon as the first runner finished, but you had to wait till the last runner finished to determine who won the prediction competition. That turned out to be Joe Vega, who run just under 39:31--less than one second off his predicted finish time of 39:30. The second-best forecast was turned in by another master runner, Sarala Hermes, who also had the closest prediction among the women. Hermes ran 52:51 after predicting 53:02.

A brief rain shower soaked the course before the race, but mostly it just settled the dust and made the surface more resilient. True, it also made the air a bit steamy, but rain at Potluck is almost traditional--like the traditions of a new course every year, a post-race potluck dinner supplemented with a low country boil, and the announcement of the Chenoweth awards at the end of the evening.

48 athletes finished the 2022 Potluck Four-Mile. Gulf Winds Track Club chip-timed the race. Potluck will return in 2023 for the 25th running of the race. Look for it in Phipps Park on either the first or second Saturday in June.

Top Ten Men, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2022 Potluck Four Mile
  1. 26:15, Chris O'Kelley (M, 29)
  2. 29:01, Duane Evans (M, 54)
  3. 30:55, Paul Guyas (M, 44)
  4. 32:17, Joel Piotrowski (M, 53)
  5. 32:28, Andrew Nix (M, 17)
  6. 34:37, Kevin Malfa (M, 38)
  7. 35:00, Trent Parsons (M, 13)
  8. 35:51, Alex Marshall (M, 16)
  9. 35:59, John Baughman (M, 45)
  10. 36:10, Brian Pensky (M, 53)

Top Ten Women, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2022 Potluck Four Mile
  1. 36:31, Nancy Stedman (F, 60)
  2. 39:11, Martha Guyas (F, 37)
  3. 41:19, Beth Alexander (F, 58)
  4. 42:44, Rosie Ramirez (F, 65)
  5. 43:53, Jo Lena Bryan (F, 50)
  6. 44:36, Francee Laywell (F, 60)
  7. 45:40, Sonya Dudley (F, 53)
  8. 47:51, Katherine Yaun (F, 42)
  9. 48:40, Amal Ibourk (F, 44)
  10. 52:44, Laura Parsons (F, 37)

Potluck champions, 1998 - 2022
20 June 1998
5 June 199929:29, Zack Heissner32:26, Sarah Docter-Williams58
3 June 200024:42 Paul Hoover25:59, Kim Wynn
2 June 200124:59, Reid Vannoy25:33, Sarah Docter-Williams53
8 June 200222:47, Ryan Deak26:04, Sarah Docter-Williams132
7 June 200325:17, Tim Unger25:36, Sarah Docter-Williams91
5 June 200423:05, Caleb Carmichael25:59, Kara Newell136
4 June 200523:22, Caleb Carmichael27:21, Kara Newell110
3 June 200623:06, Jared Black25:58, Sheryl Rosen155
2 June 200724:26, Tony Guillen27:36, Jane Johnson115
7 June 200823:00, John Robida25:09, Sarah Docter-Williams144
13 June 200922:40, Jay Wallace27:05, Micah Adriani177
5 June 201022:14, Matt Mizereck27:39, Micah Adriani173
4 June 201122:57, Vince Molosky26:33, Summer Calder196
2 June 201222:33, Vince Molosky27:18, Katie Showman232
1 June 201321:17, Kevin Sullivan26:24, Micah Adriani237
31 May 201423:34, Kevin Sullivan32:17, Katie Sherron165
6 June 201525:45, Vince Molosky30:35, Carrie Seiberlich179
11 June 201622:52, Stanley Linton30:02, Ann Centner160
3 June 201732:22, Scott Lloyd35:53, Jillian Heddaeus107
9 June 201823:10, Stan Linton28:47, Sheryl Rosen155
8 June 201925:37, Charlie Johnson27:35, Ann Centner128
5 June 202126:52, Leonardo Canete29:19, Katie Sherron73
11 June 202226:15, Chris O'Kelley36:31, Nancy Stedman48
The race was five miles in 1998 and 1999, and four miles thereafter.


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