Male Runner of the Year – Vince Molosky

Presented by Gary Griffin January 15, 2011

Jeanne tells me that I only have three minutes up here, though I cannot help but notice that those same instructions have not been given to anyone else tonight. I suppose that is some sort of commentary on my propensity to get long-winded, but I’ll do my best to not take it too personally and get this done in the time allotted. Three minutes is not a very long time though ….

Three minutes. To put that in perspective, our Male Runner of the Year ran 3,232 ft in 3 minutes (that’s about 2 and half laps on the Maclay HS oval) while on his way to a 6th place finish and a 4:54 mile at Breakfast on the Track back in August – his lowest finish of the entire year! But, inasmuch as this dreadful performance came only a day or so after he had flown cross country after hiking 61 miles up and down the mountains on the Pacific Crest Trail, all the while toting a 50 pound pack on his back and surviving on beetles and pine bark, I think he can be excused for only knocking 6 seconds off the sub-5 minute barrier that summer morning. And, although it cannot be confirmed, speculation has it that he went directly from the Maclay Track (after he had stood at the finish of every heat and applauded every other finisher – for that is the sort of person that our Runner of the Year is), to Torreya State Park where he bounded up and down the ravines and across the creeks for another 20 or so miles, as he so often does on Saturdays. I’ve always considered Torreya to be his second home but it was confirmed this past week when Peg told me that his January issue of the Fleet Foot came back undeliverable. She later learned that all future correspondence is to be forwarded c/o that hallowed venue over in Liberty County.

When he wasn’t running at Torreya however, our Runner of the Year stayed pretty busy on the local and area road and trail running circuit. In 2010, he ran 17 local races, winning 10 of them, at distances ranging from 5K to 50K.

He won twice at the 5K distance: Tulip Trot (May) and Women’s Distance (Sept), running both times in the 16:30s. He won twice at 10K (if you consider the Dana Stetson-measured Tails and Trails 10K …. where, by the way, he won for the fourth consecutive year….). And, he ran 34:51 at the Thomasville Rd Baptist Church 10K in March. He won at the 10M Challenge in Dec averaging 5:43/mile over the Ox Bottom hills. He won the 20K Pine Run at Tall Timbers, running sub-6s over that brutally hilly course, a race that he somehow managed to find a Gordon Cherr-marked shortcut on in 2009.

He won the Half Marathon at Boston, GA for the second straight year in late October, running 5:52/mile. He won the Draggin’ Tail 18M for the 2nd year in a row, beating not only every solo runner like a drum but also finishing ahead of every relay team on that November day. He tromped through the mud right out there on Old Centerville Road a year ago, up and down the hills that we both love and hate, winning the 30K for the third straight year (which by the way, he added to with a 4th straight about 10 hrs ago, knocking 5 minutes off his 2010 time of 1:56:14 and running sub-6 / mile PR in doing so!) And finally, in April he won at the 50K distance on the trails that he runs better than anyone, those at Torreya State Park. The Torreya 50K has been run for the last three years. Our Male Runner of the Year is the only winner that race has ever known.

Quite a year, indeed. This kind of running must take an incredible training regimen, huh? Guess again. As you will read in an upcoming issue of the Fleet Foot, this is his basic Monday through Friday routine:

Cycle (or walk) to work (1.9 miles), cycle (or walk) home (1.9 miles), 5-6 miles (road) @ 6-6:15 pace, softball occasionally, cycle to/from dinner (varying distances).

How many “How They Train” columns have you read that include 1.9M walks or bike rides and softball as part of a training routine?
So, I’ve told you about the incredible year our Runner of the Year had on the roads and trails of Tallahassee and the surrounding area, and his secret for such success, but that does not begin to give you a hint of another reason why he is deserving of this award. For you see, in addition to be very fast, he is also an incredibly nice guy, as humble as he is fast. How many times since I have known him since he started racing locally back in late 2005 that I would ask him the standard post-race question, “How’d it go?” Always, the answer is the same: “OK. How about yours?” Eventually after a few minutes of probing during a post-race discussion or during a cool down it will come out that he had won the race. I was with him this morning after the 30K as person-after-person came up to him and asked about his race. You could tell he was uncomfortable talking about it, acknowledging that he ran 1:51 – a lifetime PR, and was fortunate enough to win.

There’s more: At the ultra at Wakulla Springs in December 2009, on a particularly cold and rainy and windy day that had runners bailing out as soon as they crossed the finish line, he stayed and counted laps until the final runner had come in, and then stayed and helped Peg and Bill Lott and I clean up. This year, after running 50M, he did the same thing. One more thing and I’ll get out of here. I selected him for my Fantasy Grand Prix Team this year and sent out an e-mail to him and the other 4 runners on my team prior to the Bowlegs 5K – the kickoff race on the circuit – strongly encouraging my team to kick some serious butt on race day. Shortly thereafter, I heard back from our Runner of the Year, telling me that he hadn’t planned to run the 5K and that he really needed to go to Torreya and get in a 25M run in preparation for the Mountain Mist 50K up in Huntsville next weekend. But, he was being so nice about it – not wanting to come out and tell me, “Too bad, so sad for your 25 bucks but I’ll be out in the woods of Liberty County.” But you know what? The next morning, there he was at the starting line out in Innovation Park, simply because he knew I had him on my team and he didn’t want to let me down. (He won, by the way. Eat your hearts out if you don’t have him on your team!)

And finally (I promise), there is this: When I violated Jeanne O’Kon’s exhortation to keep this award under my hat by telling Dana Stetson who the recipient was going to be (only because I wanted to keep my own streak alive at including a Dana quote very time I get up here), Dana had this to say: “It is so nice when really fast guys are also really nice guys.”

I could not agree more. Please join me in congratulating a guy who is both really nice and really fast, our 2010 Male Runner of the Year, Vince Molosky.