By David Yon
The Ten Mile Challenge wrapped up the 1999 Grand Prix Schedule and for a number of runners, it was the deciding race. It was, in fact, the deciding event in the men’s overall race. After twelve races, it all came down to number thirteen. Going into the Turkey Trot races, David Ogletree had a seven point lead over Tim Unger. Instead of dodging each other (one running the 10K and the other the 15K), the two runners went head to head in the 15K. They ran side by side for most of the race until Tim pulled away at the end to win the race and 30 points, finishing a little over a minute ahead of David who earned 20 points.
The Turkey Trot victory gave Tim a three point lead and set up the show down at the Ten Mile Challenge. An overall win by David Ogletree would give him the Grand Prix title, regardless of what Tim did. A second place finish by David and a third place finish by Tim would leave them tied. Any other finish place and David would not only have to beat Tim, but would also have to have another runner finish between them. The overall scoring is 30, 20, 17, 15, 13, 11, 9 7, 5, 3, so after second place only two points separate each finish place. When Gary Droze showed up intent on winning Ten Mile Challenge title, the first option was eliminated for Ogletree. That meant David had to finish second among club members or count on help from elsewhere. Once again, he and Tim went out together. Tim was ready though and his 58:12 finish captured second place in the race and gave him 213 total points, enough points to win the 1999 Grand Prix title by six points. David capped off an excellent season finishing second in the Grand Prix standings with 207 points. Gary Droze won the last three Grand Prix races to secure fourth place with 160 points. Mike LaBossiere was Mr. Consistency, running all thirteen Grand Prix races to place third overall with 182 points. Despite missing the Ten Mile Challenge, Doug Gorton rounded out the top five with 119 points.
There was no similar suspense on the women’s side. Sarah Docter-Williams ran nine races and won them all, racking up 270 points. She ran two 17:22 5K’s and a 37:01 on the tough Springtime 10K course. Jane Johnson, the second master and 16th overall female finisher in the New York City Marathon, was second in the grand prix competition with 217 points. Jane won four grand prix races and finished second in four others. Donna Whitworth (169), Julie Clark (157) and Sissi Carroll (145) rounded out the top five. Forty-four women scored in the overall competition and over 150 in the age group competition. The most intense competition was in the age groups from 35-49. Margarete Deckert (65) had the distinction of being the oldest woman to score points, while Lily Williams (4) was the youngest.
The men had 36 scorers in the overall competition and more than 190 competitors in the age group competition. Charlie Yates (73) had the honor of being the senior point scorer, while Jacob Fortunas, Sandy Teaf, and Nathan Kenney were the youngest (7) to score points. There were some close, exciting age group races. The best may have been 45-49 where Mike Sims and Chris Teaf dueled it out. Mike had to win the last two races of the year to secure the age group title. He and Chris ran stride for stride for most of those two races. Mike ran every race during 1999 to earn his point total of 162 points. The closest finish of the year was in the 50-54 year old age group. Jerry Ongley had an outstanding second half of the year. So good in fact he forced Bill McGuire to do something few have ever seen – run 10 miles. Fortunately for Bill, he had a six point lead going into the Ten Mile Challenge. Jerry finished first in the race, but his 20 points left him one short when Bill picked up 15 points for second place. McGuire did not pass Bill Hillison, the third place finisher in the age group, until very late in the race. If Hillison had taken second, Jerry would have had his first age group championship. The final tally was 190 to 189. McGuire won his age group in eight of the ten races he entered. Jerry beat him twice and picked up points by running in twelve races total. Jerry won the last two head to head meetings with Bill, while they each won different races at Turkey Trot.
For complete race by race totals, check out the adobe file at the Grand Prix web page by clicking on the Grand Prix link on the left. The 2000 Grand Prix gets started on Sunday, January 2, with the Apalachicola Bridge Run. Next year’s schedule will offer fourteen races. Hope to see you there. Look for the Year 2000 preview on these.