Flash 12K – Chaires Elementary School, Capitola, Florida
It always feels good to participate in an event that benefits a worthwhile cause and that is arranged by competent race directors. That’s part of why the annual Flash 12K is such a success. The Flash is a GWTC race and therefore some of the proceeds will go back into the club’s budget. The balance of the proceeds will be banked in an effort to accumulate enough money to purchase a set of race equipment for the exclusive use of area schools. Joe Dexter, the race co-director along with his wife Nadine, is also the equipment manager for GWTC. Frequently he finds there are school and community events that both want to use the club’s equipment at conflicting times. It is his hope to purchase a clock, timing equipment, cones and other items necessary for staging running events to ensure that area schools would always have equipment available for their events. This would definitely be a benefit to the school kids who participate on track and field or cross country teams. While many runners are satisfied by running a race with just the knowledge that their entry fees will benefit kids, others relish the competitive aspect that this well known race draws.
This year (2004) the Flash was decided by just 14 seconds as Tim Unger edged out Tim Bolton in times of 42:46 and 43:00, with Chris Holland following in 44:52. The first lady to finish was Lisa Whitworth in 52:49, followed by Liz Baker (55:09) and Meredith Frazer (55:23). There were 45 runners who completed the approximately 7.5 miles in less than 60 minutes, and another 44 runners to round out the total of 89 finishers. Both Tim and Lisa Unger posted 12k PR’s at the Flash this year. Toma Wilkerson put in a great effort just 4 months after the birth of her daughter and there was chatter heard from several runners about using this race as a tune up for upcoming marathon challenges-both locally and abroad.
The rolling hills of the Flash seem deceptively flat on the way out, but upon turning around they become long sweeping uphill climbs. Fortunately, the course runs along some very beautiful countryside including two horse pastures and a long stretch of wooded area. The greenery provides a great distraction from burning lungs and pumping arms and legs. Jackie McDaniel, Julie Clark and Jan Fulmer were seen on the course calling times and handing out water. Several other volunteers helped with traffic control. According to race co-director Nadine Dexter, six members of the volunteer fire department patrolled the course in an attempt to slow down the passing cars.
Sadly, the traffic in this growing region has become entirely too dangerous to continue running the Flash on its original course. Runners witnessed drivers carelessly speeding past them and in some cases forcing runners off of the road. There was one account of a foolish driver who was too impatient to stay behind the car in front of him and actually passed, nearly hitting one of our own club members in the process. It is very unfortunate that the Flash will have to move in the interest of the runners’ safety. It certainly is no reflection on the race directors that the operators of so many moving weapons cannot control themselves for a few minutes to carefully and slowly drive passed the race participants. However, we all have to respect the organizers’ decision to develop a new and safer course to become the Flash 12k. Next year will be a new Flash, but surely it will still be just as “rave” as it has always been.