By David Yon
The trend of slow winning times in Grand Prix races came to a screeching halt Saturday morning as 248 runners chased Girl Scout cookies in the 2002 Run for the Cookies 5K. Lee Willis won the right to a basketful of cookies by running 15:25 or so to win the race in the fastest 5K time of the year (at least that I could find). Gary Droze took second (and first master) with a 16:08 effort. Breeda Dennehy-Willis made sure the Willis home needed a truck for all of their cookies when she took the top woman’s spot and third overall with a Cookie Run record time of 16:18. Tim Unger (17:39) and Steve Barraco (17:37) rounded out the fastest top five in a local race in awhile. Allison Eagan was the second woman in a time of 19:49, while Carrie Weyant was the master’s champ with a 20:12 clock stopping effort.
Forty-one runners dashed (well, some walked) the one-mile race. Dwane Griffths won the event with a time of 5:32, ahead of Casey Fort who ran 6:59. Laura Newsome was the first Girl Scout and girl with a 7:37, just ahead of Erin Kenney who got first non-Girl Scout finisher with a 7:51.
Tom Perkins and Jeanne O’Kon have built an excellent tradition on behalf of the Girl Scouts with this event and added more pounds and inches to GWTC members and their waistlines than any other race directors. The race began in 1994 and circled the parking lot at the Tallahassee Mall until it moved to Tallahassee Community College in 1997. Lee’s time was the third fastest in race history. Second place finisher Gary Droze won the 1997 race in the course record time of 15:17, just ahead of Brian Erb who clocked a 15:18.