Running under bright blue skies, Ryan Deak and Mary Jean Yon conquered their respective fields to claim male and female titles at the Apalachicola Bridge Run 10K. Ryan tucked in behind an early rabbit and followed him up to the top of the bridge, then took off well before the first mile and never looked backed. The 15 year old Maclay High School runner claimed his first road race title when he cranked the mile splits down over the second half of the race and finished in the second fastest time ever for this race – 34:05. The only person to run faster on the course is Tim Simpkins, who ran 33:48 in 1999 at the age of 44. Last year Breeda Denney-Willis claimed the overall title with a 34:31 and in 1998 Paul Hough won the inaugural event with a 34:54.
Mary Jean also held back early and then picked up the pace after the first half, finishing in 45:53 to win the women’s race by a wide margin while managing to save some for next week’s half marathon 2001 Grand Prix opener. Bill McGuire turned in one of his best 10K performances in awhile to win the men’s master title and take second place with a 36:20. Marty Kirkland ran 48:18 to win the women’s masters title. The Wizard of Words, Jack McDermott, continued his running assault by setting another PR of 39:05. Jack has blasted away the theory that running too many marathons too close together will ruin your speed. Leon High School runner Gallagher Dempsey turned in strong performance as well. The 17 year old ran a 38:40 to take sixth place.
The weather was outstanding and those with the wherewithal to do so paused briefly at the three mile mark on top of the bridge to smell the gulf air and take in the glittering Apalachicola waterfront virtually ablaze from the sunlight bouncing off the water and buildings. It was just one of many picturesque spots on the course. Hobson and Jan Fulmer gave birth to this outstanding race in 1998 as a way of promoting running in the area and raising over $2500 for the high school cross country program with two races this year. Keith Brand is the new athletic director for Apalachicola High School and he is taking the race director baton from the Fulmers and we hope he will continue the strong support for the running programs in Franklin County. He will be the school’s football and track coach and we wish him the best. By the way, Hobson found a unique explanation for his slower than expected time (41:29). He normally marks the course with a powdery chalk that is very alkaline. He explained that he normally absorbs enough while marking the course to help neutralize some of the lactic acid built up during the race. Well, this year he used some new marking paint that just wasn’t the same!