Springtime – A 5K Turn


David Yon,


It is hard to appreciate all the things that can go wrong in a race unless you have directed one. Murphy usually works side by side with most race directors making sure his law – “if it can go wrong it will” – rules the day. If you do something new, such as change a course or add a race, then Mr. Murphy will work even harder to enforce his laws. So race directors have to assume that disoriented oxygen deprived runners will ignore directions, that volunteers will not show up and do the job they were assigned, and that goblins will reorder the results. And directors should take a really deep breath before changing anything. But somehow the good ones, with a little luck, find a way to bring it all together even with Mr. Murphy watching. Husband and wife team, Brian Corbin and Judy Alexander, did just that on Saturday as a record 1377 runners took advantage of an exemplary Tallahassee spring day to be part of the 33rd running of this race.

Judy and Brian sent Mr. Murphy a special “opportunity” this year when they gave runners a choice between 10K and 5K races. The “old timers” in Tallahassee will remember that George West and Donnie Cook (FSU track stars) finished the first running of this event, a 4 mile race, tied for first place with a time of 20:30, but since then it has been a 10K race. (Well, a one mile race was added in 1999.) And while the 5K did create some confusion in scoring results, maybe Mr. Murphy wasn’t quite so intent on creating havoc, figuring maybe the race was just reaching back to its roots.

Regardless, the 5K certainly opened the door for many to participate who were afraid of the 10K. With 417 finishers, it moved passed the Cookie Run and Shamrock Scurry to become the largest 5K so far in 2008. It debuted with more recorded finishers than any other 5K race during 2007, except the Turkey Trot and Palace Saloon 5K’s. While it most likely drew numbers away from the 10K (last year 867 finished the 10K, while 820 finished it this year) maybe even preventing it from crossing the 1000 mark, there is little doubt it brought out many first time Springtime participants. Everywhere I looked there were smiling faces and high fives as people pushed themselves to do more than just watch a parade – certainly also a fine thing to do – and were rewarded with a great feeling of accomplishment. Very few of them probably knew how many hours Brian and Judy had worked to make it happen.

Neither Murphy, nor the 5K did anything to slow down the 10K winner, former FSU coach Joey Zins, who ran the fastest time since 2003, stopping the clock in 31:59 seconds. Zins joined an elite group of four who have won the race three times or more. George West won three, including the first year tie mentioned above; Mazano MacHapiwa drove up from Tampa to win three years in a row (1999-2001); Paul Waldron won in 1985, 1988 and 1989; and of course the king of Springtime wins, Jessie Close, won five titles including 1987, 1990-1992 and 1996. Waldron was the speed king among the multi-year winners with winning times of 30:30, 30:49 and 31:22. Sarah Docter-Williams joined the elite group with her fourth (1999, 2004, 2005 and 2008) Springtime 10K win, grabbing the title with a time of 38:16. If Jessie is the king of Springtime then Janice Hochstein is the queen as she matched his five wins with titles in 1976 (4 mile), 1979, 1981, 1989 and 1990. Paula Johnson is the only other woman to grab three titles (1991-1993).

So if you caught the 5K bug this weekend and were unfazed by Murphy ’s Law, you probably won’t find a better 5K to run than the Palace Saloon 5K, April 12 (see calendar). I can promise you that race directors Herb Wills and Reid Vannoy will work just as hard as Brian and Judy did to attend to Mr. Murphy.