Outstanding runners span ages
The Tallahassee area boasts some outstanding runners and some strange demographics among them. Starting with the youth set, Ryan Deak and Kara Newell of GWTC have run outstanding times this year. At the recent Capital City Invitational T&F Classic Deak ran a 4:18:75 1600M, a 2:00 800M and then a 9:45:75 3200M. Newell did her 1600 in 5:10:55 and 3200 in 10:59:17 for a PR. That 3200 time puts her 10th in the nation. Deak and Newell won both the 1600 and 3200. Newell is also listed with the best 10K FL time in her 15-19 age group in 2000, with a 40:36. Moving along to the 20-24 women, Kimberly Winn with 37:42 was 2nd best in FL last year. Lee Willis clocked a 33:02 10K for 11th place in the highly competitive 25-29’s. Breeda Dennehy Wills 25-29) won the Azalea Trail 10K in 33:00!
Now comes some strange demographics, we see no more listed high ranking 10K times until the 35-39 age group is reached with Sarah Docter-Williams in 8th place with 37:19. Tim Unger makes 11th place in the 40-44 with 35:13. Jane Johnson, Kara Newell’s mom checks in with a 38:55 for 4th place in the 40-44 group. Then we get rolling in the 45-49 group with Tim Simpkins, 2nd in 34:55, Steve Barraco, 6th in 36:19, Paul Hoover 8th in 36:24 and Karl Hempel 11th in 37:10! Hoover again scores as top 50-54 with a 35:53 followed in 2nd place by Bill McGuire’s 36:30. Jerry Ongley rings in 12th with 38:46. Judy Kean is 9th 50-54 woman in 47:30. Bill Hillison takes 3rd in the 55-59 in 38:18. Margarete Deckert takes 2nd in the 65-68’s with 56:36. Notably absent are top 50-54 Peggy Simpson and top 60-64 Mae Cleveland, neither of whom I could find 10K times. 10K times were taken from Florida Running and Triathlon March/April issue.
Although these numbers are far from a complete story, since the ubiquitous 5K results aren’t included, they do show a lot of running talent in the community. But, a strange gap from 30-39 with only one ranking female. In a college town one would expect a younger group of competitive runners. There’s another hole from 60 on up with just two females in top competion. That’s easier to explain, since Tallahassee has one of the youngest average populations in Florida.
Of course a study of competitive times means nothing in regard to the popularity of the sport, since the majority of runners are recreational and have only a cursory interest in ranking themselves, except perhaps in their own personal pecking order among friends. It may help your frustration in not placing to realize that you may be up against Florida’s top runners in your age group.