By Lisa Unger
Even though it was freezing cold and the wind felt like it was nearly gale force, GWTC was well represented with many members racing among the 1300 folks entered in the Navarre Beach races on Saturday, January 10, 2004. Jan Starnes and I watched with amazement as the Military color guard presented the flags and the National Anthem was sung before a crowd of runners that packed the roadway and bent around into the host hotel parking lot.
The 5k boasted the largest turnout ever with over 450 entered. The competition was incredibly close, but GWTC’s Bill McGuire came away with another Master’s win by 7 seconds with an 18:44. Julie Clark battled her long distance training, the flu, and three other women who were all within 10 seconds of her 21:23 time to claim the women’s Master’s crown. Myron Herring also put in a great performance, shaving several minutes off of his previous week’s effort. Father and son duo James and Joe Dexter finished in the top 25 of the race as well to put the GWTC racers firmly in front of the crowd in the 5k. Nadine Dexter battled the cold, asthma and a sand spur in her sock to finish one of her best 5k’s to date. Juli and Bill DeGrummond were spotted running together as Bill recorded a 2nd place age group award.
In the 10k, former FSU cross country runner Ryan Albertson overcame a couple of stops to work on his shoes and recorded a 33:12 victory over past champion James Frazier, who took the Master’s award in 34:21. Tim Unger was more than 40 seconds better that last week’s island adventure and finished 4th overall to win the 40-44 age group in 35:50. Mike Sims was the big mover this weekend slicing over two minutes off his 10k time from the week before to win the Grand Master’s award in 40:09. Karen Thomas’ 53:21 and Bob Keller’s 54:28 were both good enough for runners up awards in their age groups.
The Half Marathon Grand Master’s award was won by Quincy’s Terry Presnell in 1:27:35. Hobson Fulmer used his coastal wind training to his advantage to win his age group by 25 seconds in 1:30:27.
Complete results are available at the web site www.runresults.net/.
The Pensacola Runner’s Association put on a great post race party that included food, beer and live entertainment by the Main Street band. There was lots of dancing and a good time was had by all. In the crowd we spotted Joe and Nadine Dexter, Hobson and Jan Fulmer, Julie Clark and Myron Herring, new GWTC member Willow Shanti, Sue Fitzgerald and David Farnsworth, Chuck Davis and Pam Breza, Bob and Stacia Keller, George Palmer, Lisa Purul and David Patrick as well as Dothan runners Larry and Rona Dykes, Piper Stockman and Winston Howell plus many other familiar faces. A small but courageous group of runners participated in the Polar Bear Dip after the party. A case of champagne was supposed to be awarded to the track club with the most “dippers”, but freezing folks were grabbing bottles as they shivered from the water back to the hotel and nobody had the heart to stop them! From an outsider’s perspective, they all were crazy enough to deserve bottles of bubbly. Anyway you look at it the races at Navarre Beach are a blast. Thanks to the PRA and the Northwest Florida Track Club for another great race and party.