By Tim Unger
GWTC’s beautiful team feather was waiting at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds for dozens of faithful runners who helped to defend GWTC’s 2001 15k National Team Titles. The River Run contest proved to be a huge challenge as many runners were reduced to a crawling walk by scorching sun, humidity, plenty of street heat, and of course the huge Hart Bridge (AKA the Green Monster). Despite the rough conditions, GWTC served up another notable team racing success. GWTC focused most of our runners’ talents in the Masters divisions.
The defending 2001 Men’s Masters Team Champions: Jim Frazier, (52:34); Tim Unger, (54:48); Reid Vannoy, (57:54) and Jerry Ongley, (1:01:30) were led to a huge ten minute repeat victory by Gary Droze, (51:34). The team time of 2:38:56 was low enough to have won the entire team competition in 2001. The team time posted was the fastest of any “club” team in 2002, but was only the 4th fastest of the 47 teams entered. Gary, Jim and Tim were also honored as the 2nd, 3rd and 5th individual award winners in the 40-44 division. The GWTC Masters team of Paul Ahnberg, (1:01:13); David Yon, (1:02:10); Mike Sims, (1:02:23); and Dwayne Maddron, (1:02:29) finished as the 3rd place Masters team out of seven entered with a team score of 3:05:46 to round out an excellent day for GWTC Men’s Masters racing.
GWTC’s Women’s Masters teams BOTH defeated the defending 2001 Champions by a combined hour and a half! Ironically, the 2002 15k Women’s team National Champions almost never got started due to illness that kept several outstanding athletes out of the competition. Tallahassee Marathon Champion Carrie Weyant led the winning team with a time of (1:05:48). She was joined by Julie Clark, (1:12:13); and Sue Hensley, (1:18:06) in a MUST FINISH scenario. The winning team time of 3:36:06 was the fastest team time posted by a Women’s Masters team in many years. The competition for the title came from the GWTC team of MJ Yon, (1:13:37); Myrna Hoover, (1:19:22); Jane Cormier, (1:25:05); and Pheona Kaiser, (1:42:21). Their team time of 3:58:03 was good enough for 2nd in the division.
The GWTC Open Women’s team was defending their National title from 2001. First Place Sports had recruited marathon Olympian Kim Pawelek, (52:54); to regain the title lost to GWTC the previous year. The First Place Sports team was very serious about regaining their title and posted a team time better than most of the Men’s teams in 2:52:12. The GWTC team time was 3:18:06 and was fast enough to claim the Runners up team award. Jane Johnson, (1:00:13); Lisa Whitworth, (1:04:13); Allison Eagen, (1:13:42); Kara Newell, (1:16:33) and Vicky Droze, (1:16:44) are the 15k Women’s Open Team National Champion runners up for 2002. Jane was honored as the 3rd fastest individual in her age group. Lisa was awarded the 5th place individual award for her age group as well. A second GWTC Women’s Open team entered in the competition had a great team time of 3:50:52. These women ended up 4th in division, but their team effort was better than at least twenty other teams. Hannah Gerber, (1:09:58) teamed up with Lynn Powell, (1:19:46); Lisa Unger, (1:21:09) and Dena Coukoulis, (1:33:01) to complete the GWTC team results in the Women’s Open competition. Lisa was probably the only runner who was not effected by the warm temperatures, as her chip time of 1:20:43 was a PR and she’s pregnant!
GWTC has now captured the Men’s Masters 15k Team National Championship in 1998, 2001 and 2002. The Women’s team saw to it that GWTC would claim our first Women’s Masters Team National Championship in 2002. The GWTC Feather was the beacon we needed for all of us to get together after the race to exchange our racing war stories. The other clubs scattered around us at the post race party could only envy how well we put our road show together in 2002. GWTC simply stood out in the helter skelter goings on at the Jacksonville fairgrounds as the Club that looked great with our feather and our awesome GWTC racing singlets. This event is the most satisfying experience I have had as the Team Racing Coordinator. It only took a small amount of commitment to make us look, feel, and be true National Champions. THANKS to everyone who helped make this dream a reality.-Tim
The next two team events will be in the Western Florida Panhandle. The Fiesta 10k will be run May 4 in Pensacola. GWTC will need to have a 6 person Co-ed team to compete. The Gate to Gate run held Memorial Day Monday, May 27, on Eglin AFB will have an unlimited entry team competition. There will be limited access to the AFB for non Department of Defense participants. All runners will need to be registered in advance before they will be admitted to Eglin with I.D. Both of these races need all individual registrations sent together as a team to compete. Please call or E-mail me as soon as you can if you are interested in entering either of these great team racing opportunities. I can be reached at 562-2901 or UNGERT@PRODIGY.NET.