By Nick Yonclas
It had rained all night, and it was still raining hard at 8 a.m., the start time for the Red Pepper 5K Run at St. George Island on March 2, 2002. The tents set up for the 20th Annual Chili Cookoff had blown down during the night, and there was an inch of water covering the starting line. Winds were gusting between 25-30 mph. The rain was falling horizontally, and stung as if it were hail. The weather forecast was for more of same all day. The chili cookoff festivities were moved inside. A road race cannot be treated similarly. 35 runners showed up and expected a race. The show must go on! Proof once again that runners are different!
Tallahassee’s and GWTC’s Jay Silvanima led a finishing field of 34 diehard runners through the elements in a winning time of 18:58, followed by Mike Sims in 19:23 and Hobson Fulmer in 19:38.
Camille Consolvo, a former GWTC member now living in Ohio, and just spending the weekend in the area, lead the women runners with a time of 25:35, with Lori Wilner finishing second in 27:10 and Amanda Harmon third in 28:40.
Hobson Fulmer was, also, the first male Franklin County finisher. The first female Franklin County finisher was Jackie Mossburg, at age 65 and in that weather, doing a 39:30.
One had to be there to appreciate the efforts of the runners. The finish line people, Dick Dowdy and George Palmer, went home with suspected cases of hypothermia. The good news—–the lightning and thunder did not start until after the race!