The Question of the Day for the 2001 Women’s Distance Festival was: “When did you catch James?” James Dexter, that is, who took off flying at the start of the men’s race and grabbed the early lead. For most people, the answer was never. The Lincoln High School sophomore was looking to extend his school’s winning streak at GWTC races to two. (Scott Poindexter won the Prefontaine meet last Saturday.) Reid Vannoy was the first to spoil James’s fun. Reid caught him around the mile and half mark and went on to capture his first GWTC grand prix victory with a time of 18:05. Mike LaBossiere followed next with a 18:43 and Jay Silvanima took the third spot with a 18:45. James Dexter ran a strong race to capture fourth as he continued his very impressive improvement this year. Early in the year James was just hoping to nail down one of the seven varsity spots for Lincoln. He has not only done that, but also become one of Coach Perry Shaw’s top three runners, as his times just keep improving.
The women are the featured performers in this race and they took off through Indian Head Acres ten minutes before the men started. Kate Remillard demonstrated what a good thing marriage is by running away from the rest of the field to win in an unofficial time of 19:14, a very comfortable time for her. The newlywed is preparing for the Jacksonville Marathon. Angela Dempsey was second in 20:56 and Lisa Whitworth, arms pumping, rolled across the finish line in third place with a 21:34.
Nearly 200 runners showed up at Optimist Park to celebrate women’s running and raise money for the American Cancer Society mammography project and GWTC. Comcast, thanks to Cori Edgar, signed on as a five-year sponsor of the event and Kathy Shirley made her debut as a race director. The two made a good combination. This was the 20th running of the Women’s Distance Festival in Tallahassee. The race is part of a national series of RRCA races that were started in 1979-1980 to raise awareness of women’s running and emphasize the lack of women’s opportunities to compete in distance events at the Olympics. I am happy to say that problem as been almost completely resolved, although the IOC and IAAF still need to add the steeplechase to the women’s competition! (Please note all times are unofficial estimates. Official results on their way.)