By Richard Parsons (with thanks to Lynda Pfundstein and Robert McNeal)

The headlines in the Tampa Tribune Feb. 24 read, “Warm weather and high humidity force the slowest winning time ever in the Gasparilla Distance Classic on Tampa’s waterfront.” Although accustomed to warm temperatures and high humidity, the Tallahassee contingent of runners who normally do not experience such sweltering conditions until mid-May, were treated to an unpleasant late February surprise. As the thermometer rose, the flat and scenic course along Tampa’s Bayshore Blvd. proved to be quite challenging for the 10,759 runners who participated in either the 15k or 5k events.

Aside from the heat, the crowded field of runners were entertained along the out and back course with a variety of live music, were refreshed by cheerful volunteers operating a plethora of aid stations, and were encouraged by a throng of enthusiastic spectators lining the streets of South Tampa. There was one report, however, of a runner who presumably forgot her St. John’s Wort, which resulted in a minor physical and verbal altercation with an unnamed GWTC member who was unaware that the “Rubbing is Racing” mentality applies only in NASCAR sanctioned events.

Tim Unger lead all Tallahassee runners with an impressive time of 54:36 (21st overall), but managed “only” a sixth place age group finish, testimony to the strong field of competitors. Second place Tallahassee finisher Allison Eagen (1:00:59) finished 18th overall in the women’s category and captured second place in her age group.

28 year old Muchapiwa Manzano of Tampa captured the overall 15k title with a time of 48:50, and 32 year old Laura Drake of Atlanta captured the Women’s title in both the 15k (54:47) and 5k (17:28) distances to become the first person in the history of the Gasparilla Distance Classic to win both events on the same day. Most of us were too tired to even run a cool-down after the 15k. 16 year old Rolf Steler won the 5k race turning a personal best of 15:37.

The Tallahassee runners are listed below in the order of their “Champion Chip” finish time. Complete results are available on he Internet by logging onto


Tim Unger 0:54:36
Allison Eagen 1:00:59
Richard Parsons 1:11:11
Colleen Smith 1:11:38
Thomas Maureau 1:11:54
Seeley Lovett 1:13:08
Craig Ash 1:18:18
David Hart 1:19:56
Carlos Zapata 1:20:22
Ansley Samson 1:20:30
Barbara McNeal 1:22:24
Jim Dessi 1:23:58
Burt Von Hoff 1:24:17
Niki Jones 1:28:08
Lynda Pfundstein 1:28:09
Robert McNeal 1:28:09
Sam Bell 1:28:53
Marvin Stewart 1:33:22
Jeryl Payne 1:33:59
Nicholas Straits 1:34:26
Lisa Unger 1:35:31
Lisa Hoffman 1:35:56
Shelby Oppel 1:36:05
Melissa Stewart 1:41:43
Barbara Goldstein 1:42:23
John Burke 1:44:28
Janet Mayer 1:45:20
Gustavo Mejia 1:45:41
Jennifer Kresge 2:18:56
Monica Flippo 2:18:58
Kathy Flippo 2:22:27

Philip Homann 24:45
Kelli Holt 27:03
Maas Wesley 30:08
Marion Knight 30:50
Rafael Alverez 33:12
Cheryl Johnson 33:19
Stacy Taylor 35:43
Gloria Zapata 51:36
Dan Tonsmeire 57:54