By Fred Deckert
It was a most unusual day! But, all Tallahassee Ultra’s are unusual in one way or another. This time a fireball from Boulder Colorado, Chad Ricklefs, held the spotlight with his 5:24:45 win in the 50 mile event. Jack McDermott ran a more than respectable first 50 miler in 6:35:37, but he was a bit too young to take the Master’s from Dana Stetson’s 8:10:28 effort. Jack’s pacing was amazing for a first effort at the distance. Ann Burke took the female win with 8:41:40.
Bill Hillison made the 50K win look easy, as usual, even at age 60! His 3:50:10 was his 8th win in the event. Bill’s running buddy and protégé, Bud Fennema took the Master’s in 4:23:08. Kelly Murzinsky repeated her 2001 victory with an impressive 4:03:10. Judy Alexander, our local favorite won the female Master’s in 5:19:27. The day was cool and perfect for fast times.
Special thanks to Wakulla Springs State Park, who gave us the usual great support and furnished the facilities that make this event work so well.
We also recognize and thank our most loyal regular participants. Gordy Hawkins competed for the 20th time, Pat Judd, Don McNelly, Nick Mazza and others are close behind. Nick has run 14 straight, 12 in the 50 mile event.
Margarete and Fred Deckert, RD’s
And now, as Paul Harvey likes to say, for the REST OF THE STORY.
I neglected to give our appreciation to Joe Dexter, who even while recuperating from a serious surgery, still entertained us with his costumes. Way to go, Joe!
Greg Waddell kept Bill Hillison company for the first 40K, but found, as many others have, that Bill’s pace is relentless! Greg started to fall back but still managed an excellent 3:52:43 for second place. Master’s winner, Bud Fennema, has run with Bill enough to know that when it comes to a race, it’s best to set your own pace and let Bill go. Bud’s strategy paid off at the end, the last couple of laps were his best of the race. Kelly Murzynsky went with the leaders for a couple of laps, but wisely decided to set her own pace from then on, staying under an 8 minute pace most of the rest of the 50K. Fred Johnson played the tease to a rapidly closing Scott Ludwig, faking a limp a few yards before the finish. Fred, Scott will get his revenge, some year when he hasn’t run 50 miles the day before!
Judy Alexander ran a solid 40K, but was passed in the next lap by Ithel Jones, still finishing in a good 5:19 to win the female Master’s. Donald Stephens opted out just before 70K, after running a more than respectable 4:48 through the 50K.
The 50 mile drama was all in watching Ricklefs run away from the field and wondering if he could keep that ferocious pace. He certainly did, passing the 50K under 3:16! Jack McDermott just picked the wrong day for his inaugural 50 mile, he would have won any of the past 4 events. Jack’s strategy was remarkably mature, his pace was very consistent right to the finish. Dana Stetson had to worry about the Master’s when Donald Stephens passed him on lap 19, but Donald’s withdrawal after lap 20 left the field to Dana, until a closing surge by Jon Anderson worried him enough to make him pick up on the final lap and hang on for a 4 minute bulge. However, Jon’s effort gave him the age 55-59 best for the 50 mile records. Ann Burke had a solid run all the way, passing a hurting Gary Griffin on Lap 16. Gary hung tough to finish under 9 hours. Charles Thompsen, hunting a 10 hour qualifier for Western States came up a bit short, mostly due to a bad patch at the 10th lap.