By David Yon
I woke up in the middle of the night with the sound of rain raising a ruckus outside. For most Tallahasseeans, I am sure the first question this sound would create was “What impact will the weather have on The Game.” But for an experienced group of runners, a much more horrifying thought took precedence, “What is the Pine Run course going to be like.” This October race can be dominated by hot muggy weather (last year), cool fall air, or rain. Let there be no doubt what creates the most fear in runners’ hearts – a rainy night that leaves the trails slick with mud. It is this last creation of nature that has branded the real character of this race in my mind. Staying upright quickly becomes the most important challenge. Fast leg turnover resemble spinning car wheels – if you don’t move forward you sink instead. But these rainy days bring the true beast out of the race in International Paper’s Southland Forest and deliver a really unique experience.
Between the rain and the home football game, the crowd was small with only 79 runners finisheing the race. David Yon slopped through the mud to reach the finish line first with a time of 1:24:14, edging out “poppa to be” Tony Guillen who finished in 1:25:35. Matt Minnow, who led through the five mile mark, was third in 1:26:45 to capture the masters title. Lisa Whitworth won the women’s race in 1:37:27. Angela Dempsey and Julie Clark followed in 1:39:04 and 1:40:12, respectively. Julie was the first female master.
Many thanks to all at International Paper for sponsoring this race. If you love it as much as I do, please make sure you drop Janice Baty (Janice.Baty@ipaper.com) a note and thank her. International Paper has gone through a lot of budget cuts and keeping the race alive is not an easy thing. So if you get a chance let her know we support her efforts.