Conflicting events such as TOSRV and a walk for MS combined to keep the numbers down for this year’s Palace Saloon 5K. Still, 218 runners found nearly ideal conditions when they toed the line in front of Messer Field. The race was the fifth GWTC Grand Prix event of the year.
The construction woes of last year were history and the road was clear for FSU distance coach Paul Spangler to give a lesson to one of his pupils. The two went head to head with the lead changing hands as they came down the hill on Jackson Bluff Road toward the three mile mark. Paul finished in 15:39 to take the $50 first place prize while Ryan Hicks was second, just two seconds behind in 15:42.
The women’s race saw fast times from the top two finishers as Springtime 10k winner Anna Pichrtova returned for another top finish, this time earning $50. She ran 17:19 to best second place Amy Plechaitis who ran 17:34. Plechaitis is visiting Florida State from Connecticut and will be running for the ‘Noles next year.
The Men’s Masters award went to Tim Simpkins ($50) whose 16:34 earned him 30 grand prix points for being the first GWTC finisher and fourth place overall. To grab the GP points and probably the overall lead he had to beat David Ogletree who ran 16:41 and Tim Unger. Simpkins caught David around the two-mile mark and hung on for the GP and masters titles. Tim Unger was the second master and seventh finisher overall in 16:52. The women’s masters winner also came from behind to win. A patient Fran McLean passed Sissi Carroll near the three mile mark to finish as the first masters, fourth woman overall and first GWTC finisher. She earned the $50 masters prize and collected 30 points for the GP win.
Other notable performances included Jay Silvanima’s personal best time of 17:51. Greg Waddell also showed he was rounding back into form with a 17:44. Finally, Margarete Deckert’s streak of six straight grand prix age group wins came to an end due to foot surgery. I was able to confirm that this remarkable woman was able to win 22 of the last 24 grand prix events contested and I believe 28 of the last 30. Now fairness requires me to note that at many of these races she was the only one in her age group, but it is nonetheless an amazing streak of consistency being there so often! Here’s a wish for a speedy recovery!!