By David Yon
The hustle and bustle before the start of Tom Brown Bash is the first tip off that there is something very different about this race. First, you drive into a park and then dip down into the woods for the start. When you get there you will see the largest collection of high school runners you will find in any GWTC race. There are two races – a five miler and a three miler – that do a good job of introducing or reminding participants of what cross country is about. Thanks to the efforts of race director Paul Hiers, the three miler has become a magnet for high school competition – the first of the year, while the five miler remains the race of choice for most of the Older crowd. One of the facts of cross country is that you never know what surprises the course will spring on you. This year it was a major swath cut out of the forest that appears destined to become a road or trail of some sort. It provided an extra challenge, though, as runners has to jump the hay bails strategically placed to slow down run off.
Jane Johnson ran with a Kate Remillard and Mike LaBossiere, with Jeff Bryan close behind for the first part of the race. As they began pounding the second loop and climbing the Soul-Stealing hill in the third mile her strength took over and before long she found herself running alone and joining a small but elite list of women who have grabbed overall titles in GWTC races. Newsletter editor, Mike LaBossiere, finished second to take the male title. Jane finished in 32:41 and Mike crossed the line in 33:26. It was only fitting the Mary Jean Yon celebrated her new appointment to Exalted Leader of Environmental Regulation for Northwest Florida by winning the masters title in 38:05 on this cross country course. She promised to immediately look into “what the heck is that road they are cutting through the park.” Paul Giumont took the men’s masters title with a time of 33:49.
In the three mile race Scott Poindexter (Lincoln) showed he has been working hard during the summer and plans to be a real force in the high school cross country season this year by putting on a very impressive show. Scott won by over a minute while running a 16:20. Brennon Clayton (Maclay) took second with a time of 17:35. On the girls side Allie Hunter (Lincoln) showed she is getting the upper hand in her battle with asthma or breathing problems by winning that race with a 19:27. Lara Hawkes took second with a time of 21:02. Maclay took the team title for both the boys and the girls.