Marathon Day

David Yon, February 2010

Long before the sun made an appearance last Sunday, volunteers were busy setting up the courseand taking care of all the details necessary to make sure runners’ needs were met at the 2010 Tallahassee Marathon.. I would be surprised if race directors Jay Silvanima and Nancy Stedman slept much, if any, the night before. At 10:00 p.m. they were scoping out the course crossing at Capital Circle. At 3:00 a.m. Jay was wide awake stressing over details. The weather was the first thing to cooperate as it was near perfect for the record sized crowd. A starting time temperature around 40 degrees may have been a bit cold for the volunteers, but it was ideal for runners. A somewhat brisk wind slowed runners on their way back to the finish line at the FSU track and kept the conditions from being perfect.

The outcome for the men’s race was never in doubt as Kenyan born James Kiptoo Cheruiyot took a commanding lead early and never lost it. His first half time of 1:10:22 was faster than anyone else ran the half-marathon raceand placed him almost 7 minutes ahead of the second marathoner to reach the halfway point. Cheruiyot was within striking distance of the marathon record of 2:20:30 and a $1,000 bonus. Unchallenged, the Kenyan and Searcy, Arkansas resident slowed in the second half of the race and ran 1:16:28 for that half to capture the first place prize of $750. His final time of 2:26:50, a pace of 5:37, was the 4th fastest time in the race’s history, I believe. Second place finisher Orthinal Striggles nearly matched the winner in the second half of the run with a time of 1:16:59, but was still well behind at the end finishing in 2:34:04. Jack McDermott was the top Tallahassee finisher in a time of 2:56:25, good enough for 12th place. My quick review suggests this would be the first time in the history of the race that a Tallahassee runner did not place in the top 10 finishers. More proof that Nancy and Jay have built the race’s reputation across the country. Fourteen men broke the 3 hour barrier; one more than did so last year and another record for the race.

Beth Moras from Ridgewood, New Jersey won the women’s race in a time of 3:16:05. The 50 year old grandmaster also ran her first half considerably faster than the second – 1:35:01 compared to 1:41:04. It was plenty good enough to hold on for the win though as Melissa Gillette from Berne, Indiana took second in 3:18:37. Olivia Swedberg overcame a cold to finish third overall and take the title of first Tallahassee finisher with a time of 3:29:25.

The race of the day, an international battle, was for the men’s master’s title. Claiming overall spots 4-6, Sergey Kaledin (from Russia, but training in Eugene with a 2:12:00 marathon personal best), Thomas Tisell (St. Paul), and Kostyantyn Zholezov (Ukraine) all broke the old masters’ record (2:38:38) and finished in times of 2:35:29, 2:36:22 and 2:36:34, respectively. Kaledin and Tisell were together at the turnaround and Zholezov was a minute behind, before Keledin pulled away. After Moras’ top performance, Kristin Killius was the top female master with a 3:33:30.

Jonathon Mott was first across the line in the half-marathon. His time of 1:12:31 put him comfortably ahead of second place finisher Daniel Lee who was done in 1:14:55. Kim Pawelek took the women’s title battling Sheryl Rosen for the honor. Pawelek time was 1:23:31 and Rosen was close behind in 1:24:51. There were 514 finishers in the half-marathon, up almost 100 runners over last year’s record crowd.

Race directors Nancy Stedman and Jay Silvanima celebrated Nick Massa’s 30th straight appearance by awarding him the number 1 for the race. A beaming Nick was quick to show it off to the registration crew before going out and finishing the race in 4:56:34. And after handing Nick his number, Nancy demonstrated the advantage of a partnership to direct this event – she road tested the marathon. On a race director’s adrenaline rush, she blasted off to the fastest first half she has ever run (1:42:44). That wasn’t a good thing; race directors don’t get a lot of sleep before their events and it all caught up with her in the second half as she finished in a time of 3:43:19. The marathon continues to grow and attract a significant number of out of town visitors making it a big plus for not just the running community, but the entire Tallahassee area.