With a new starting line and a beautiful morning to run a race, The Springtime 10K, 5K and 1-mile Races made a successful return to the real world of racing this past weekend.
After two years of COVID-19 interruptions, 964 (or so) runners completed one of the three distances to claim a finish time at the 45th Springtime Races. There were 443 participants in the 10K, 442 in the 5K and 79 in the Mile.
Race:Welcome back spring racing! Haynes captures the Springtime 10K for the fourth time in a row
Parade:Spring parade canceled for third year in a row, this time due to lightning; the jubilee continues
That is below the average of the three years before COVID became something we knew about. The number of finalists those years averaged 1,494. But after the COVID roadblocks of 2020 and 2021, the 2022 race was a clear turnaround for the running community. I think of Springtime as the cornerstone of GWTC and running in Tallahassee.
A few years ago I wrote that the Springtime 10K was the “cornerstone” of races and races at Tallahassee and the Gulf Winds Track Club. I noted that Wikipedia referred to the capstone as the first stone laid in the construction of a masonry foundation. All other stones will be placed in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.
As Springtime progresses, so does the running community.
Springtime has had many outstanding race directors. However, directing races is an intense job that requires a lot of time and pays nothing. The high visibility of the race creates stress for the director. After 2 years of COVID interruptions, no one was willing to step up and take the race director job for 2022.
The position remained vacant until December 2021 when the decision was made to form a race committee to run the race. There was no lack of people willing to work, but there was a lack of people willing to take on the responsibility and pressure of running Springtime. And so it happened that a race committee was created.
The Race Director Coordinator job is a position on the GWTC Board of Directors. It used to be mainly about organizing and maintaining the race schedule, so the public had one source of information about race start times, location and fees. Many will long remember serving Charlie Yates. We lost Charlie in February 2020.
The position has evolved a lot since those days. That evolution turned into a revolution when Mary Jean Yon (yes, my wonderful wife and I’m biased) began putting her stamp on the position, encouraging the exchange of ideas between race directors.
Most importantly, Mary Jean slid comfortably into the chair of the Springtime racing committee and began the process of putting together a team to get Springtime back on track. All committee members went above and beyond, but Annie Bowman set a high standard with her efforts to recruit and organize the volunteer force.
The committee consisted of the following people, each of whom did a great job:
Jerry McDaniel, Heather Vickers, Lisa Unger, Rachel Scharlepp, Tom Perkins, Vicky Summer, Peg Griffin, Bill Lott, Annie Bowman, Jon D. Brown, and David Yon.
Ralph Conyers, 15, took first place in the mile race with a time of 6:40. Second place went to 10-year-old Chase Simms (grandson of Mike Simms). He was only 3 seconds behind. The best girl was Robyn Conyers, who ran 7:59. Ryne Cooke ran 8:43 to place second. This year’s race splits the proceeds with the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Big Bend.
However, the goal is not simply to raise funds for the organization, but also to give children the opportunity to participate in GWTC races. This year Tallahassee Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram Fiat stepped up to pay club member registration fees.
the new start
The 5K and 10K races showed a new starting line. That created a very different first mile. After the first mile, the rest of the course was much the same as the course of the previous twelve years. Instead of taking off from the courthouse on Monroe Street and flying down Call Street to Franklin Boulevard at too fast a pace, the runners started on Suwannee Street, next to Cascades Park, near the old finish line.
The 10K and 5K runners took off from the new exit at 8:09 a.m. and turned left onto Lafayette Street and then right onto Franklin Boulevard for the first quarter mile and continued until just short of Tennessee Street. They took the left lane of Franklin Boulevard until they reached Lafayette Street. This time following him to Myers Park.
Instead of a descent that many runners used to ruin their race, the first mile was relatively flat. I’ve only heard good things from racers about the new design.
Chris Haynes blazed the new course with his personal best 10K time of 31:23. It was his fourth victory in the Springtime 10K. Ann Centner also had a solid 10K win. Her time of 34:58 gave her a comfortable victory over second place Katie Sherron, who ran 37:01 to be the first teacher to cross the finish line and seventh person overall. This was Ann’s second win in the 10K. Katie won in 2018. Second place overall was Alberto Mena. He crossed the line at 33:12. Charlie Johnson was the best teacher finishing in 35:52.
Jacob Stamm ran the 5K in 16:33 to hold off Ryan Ziskinder, who ran 16:41, and Leo Rutledge, who finished in 16:44. Finally, 13-year-old Jonathan Kiros ran 18:41 to lead 10 runners under the age of 15 to the top 25 places.
Annabelle Wiktorski, despite drifting slightly off course, took first place for women with a personal best time of 21:12. Annabelle was closely followed by Clifton Lewis, who finished in 21:26. And yes, those numbers are correct, they are 12 and 13 years old, respectively.
The happy smile on the runners’ faces on race day made it clear that spring was on its way back. The cornerstone is still able to withstand the load. The new course was well received by the participants and plans are being made for next year, hopefully COVID free.
David Yon is addicted to running. In his spare time, he is an attorney at the Radey Law Firm.
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