A Quality Event – and Record Numbers
There are a lot of talented and caring people who step in to take really tough jobs in GWTC, but not many are brave enough to walk into something like directing Springtime Tallahassee, the club’s flagship race. It is hard work and there is a lot of second guessing. I suspect if Judy Alexander had known exactly what she was getting into, she may have politely declined. But having directed one of the best run editions of the race this year with a record crowd, I suspect she is hooked now. Of course her resume gave a pretty good indication that she would be a success – a longtime member of the club’s board, a director of the Ten Mile Challenge, a high school track and cross country coach who has put on cross country and track meets, she had done it all. And she had a great co-director she could count on – her husband, Brian Corbin. The results in 2007 were spectacular with a locked down course, no lines at registration, a record crowd and great organization. As all “good” race directors know, you can’t do it all by yourself. So Judy found quality people, delegated and then supported them as they did their jobs!
University of West Florida coach Matthew Dobson brought a couple members the Agros running team over from Pensacola and they took three of the top ten places with two of them grabbing first and third place in the race. Dobson ran 33:27 to take the Springtime title for the third time. He was champ in 1994 (32:17) and 1995 (31:43). UWF runner Eric Mayes took third place in 34:37. Breaking up the Agros party in second place was Wade Beroset who finished in 34:18. Justin Dickieson took eighth in 36:23. On the women’s side Lara Shaw appears completely recovered from an ankle injury as she won in a time of 37:23, 13 seconds faster than last year’s third place finish. Second place went to Lisa Johnson who just missed breaking the 38 minute mark with a 38:03. Sheryl Rosen finished third in a Boston tune up time of 38:52. The masters winners were Jane Johnson in 41:56 and Jay Wallace in 35:43. Janice Hochstein and Hobson Fulmer took the titles of grand masters in 47:49 and 40:42. Janice (as Janice Gage) was the winner of the first Springtime, a 4 mile run, in 1976! She went on the win the overall title a total of five times. Jane Johnson is a two time winner of this prestigious race as well.
The crowd was an amazing sight. The 866 finishers in the 10K were the most since 913 ran the 10K in 1990. It is also the fifth largest crowd to ever run the 10K. The largest, as best I can tell, was 916 in 1984 under the direction of Tec Thomas. But this year’s 325 finishers in the one mile made the race the biggest Springtime race ever. Speaking of quality race directors, in 1993 Superman (sometimes known as Tim Simpkins) flew around Tallahassee and shook almost everyone’s hand in the city and invited them to run Springtime. He had either 758 or 806 finishers (depending on the source you look at) in the 10K and 158 in the newly created one mile event. I believe that 1984 is the only other time that the race had more than 1000 finishers as 843 finished the 10K and 211 ran the one mile with director Jeff Doherty looking on.
It has been a good year for turnout at races as many races have seen a big upturn in participation. For the past three years now, Capital Health Plan has been a major sponsor of both Springtime and Turkey Trot. CHP does much more than just throw in money though. The health maintenance organization preaches physical fitness all year round. I can’t prove it is making a difference, but I can say something sure is bringing out the numbers. Thanks to all at CHP for the efforts to make a difference!