Sunday, August 19, 2018
News Roundup

Temps warmer, crowd smaller for St. Petersburg Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon

ST. PETERSBURG

When 2013 began, Yolanda Murphy-Johnson resolved to run 13 half marathons, a goal that makes getting a gym membership look wimpy.

On Sunday, Murphy-Johnson of Clermont was one of thousands of runners and walkers who poured into the city for the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon, an event that city officials first welcomed last year in hopes it would provide a major boost to hotels and businesses.

Organizers said 6,500 people were scheduled to compete in the road race this year, which began at 7:30 a.m. at Tropicana Field and wound its way through St. Petersburg, ending at North Shore Park. About 1,000 people registered to run a 5-kilometer (3.1 miles) race — what organizers referred to as the "mini marathon" — but most signed up for the 13.1-mile feat of endurance.

The race also drew about 700 local volunteers to the downtown area, according to organizers.

The Rock 'n' Roll Marathon series, which is put on in cities around the country by the Competitor Group, is known for its pace-setting, fatigue-erasing music.

Band stages were erected at each of the mile markers along the route and local musicians like WhyteBeard, from Clearwater, and the St. Petersburg College Steel Drum Ensemble played popular songs as participants ran past. Jamaican singer Sean Kingston headlined the event.

"It really keeps you pumped up," said Keith Metcalfe, a runner from Windsor, Ontario. "It was so awesome having them play all these familiar songs."

Organizers said attendance this year was down slightly from the year before, when the race had about 7,000 finishers. Participants also noted a smaller crowd.

"I'm going to have to say there are fewer people here this year," said Erin Santella, 43, of Palm Harbor, who also participated in 2012, when it was so cold that some runners remembered seeing band members wearing gloves.

A purple tutu hugged her middle. "It's my talisman," she said.

When St. Petersburg city officials first boasted that the Rock 'n' roll Half Marathon was coming to town, they projected it would draw 12,000 to 15,000 runners. The actual number was closer to half of that estimate, but that has not diminished elected officials' attraction to the race.

St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster attended the event Sunday, as did City Council members Jeff Danner and Wengay Newton.

Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater has a three-year contract for the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon and has pledged to spend $100,000 for each race.

Jon Phillips, a 28-year old from Brooklyn, N.Y., finished first in this year's race, posting a time of 1 hour, 14 minutes, 23 seconds.

Natasha Yaremczuk, 32, of Canada placed first among female entrants, finishing with a time of 1:20:03.

Among the group of runners leading the pack was Austin Dotson, a 15-year-old boy from Land O'Lakes, who finished in 1:34:08, surprising some of his competitors.

Anna M. Phillips can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8779.

Editor's note

This story has been changed to reflect the following correction: Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater has a three-year contract for the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon. A story Monday gave an incorrect party to the contract.

   
Comments
Florida State football getting closer to naming starting quarterback, Willie Taggart says

Florida State football getting closer to naming starting quarterback, Willie Taggart says

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Willie Taggart isn't ready to announce who will start at quarterback when the Seminoles open against Virginia Tech in 15 days.But a decision is getting closer."How close? Closer than we were the first day ...
Updated: 12 minutes ago
A simple way to save millions of lives: Invest in toilets

A simple way to save millions of lives: Invest in toilets

Household toilets, one of the most important medical advances of the past two centuries, may be taken for granted in many parts of the world. But in places where they are lacking, people continue to die needlessly from diarrheal infections. The recen...
Published: 08/19/18
Why wait? Time for Bucs fans to start missing Jameis Winston

Why wait? Time for Bucs fans to start missing Jameis Winston

NASHVILLE — Here in the land of love-sick country ballads where the dog dies, the pickup truck tires are slashed and somebody leaves a note on the way out of town, Bucs fans should already start missing Jameis Winston.Oh, he's not gone, gone, g...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Tom Jones’ Two Cents: Mixed bag for Bucs’ first teamers vs. Titans

Tom Jones’ Two Cents: Mixed bag for Bucs’ first teamers vs. Titans

Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents while tuning in to the WFLA-Ch. 8 broadcast of Saturday night's Bucs-Titans preseason game.It's preseason. And it was just the second preseason game at that, so there's no reason to get too ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Bucs journal: When in doubt, keep throwing to Mike Evans

Bucs journal: When in doubt, keep throwing to Mike Evans

NASHVILLE — Coach Dirk Koetter joked last week that the Bucs' offense consisted mostly of throwing to WR Mike Evans.All kidding aside, it's not a bad plan.Evans is the most reliable weapon among the Bucs' corps of target-rich receivers. He prov...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Red Sox game

OF Carlos Gomez's overall numbers don't look like much (.215, 8 HRs), but he continues to do so many little things to help on and off the field. Saturday, he made a heads-up play by moving up from second to an uncovered third base on an infield pop-u...
Updated: 10 hours ago
New Rays catcher Michael Perez worth wait

New Rays catcher Michael Perez worth wait

BOSTON — If rookie catcher Michael Perez turns out to be as good as Rays officials think based on their initial reviews, they may thank Steven Souza Jr.Well, not Souza directly.But it was in the process of extensively and intensively scouting A...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Rays journal: Tyler Glasnow settles down to pitch well in loss

Rays journal: Tyler Glasnow settles down to pitch well in loss

BOSTON — RHP Tyler Glasnow looked so bad as he struggled through a 28-pitch first inning of the Rays' 5-2 loss to Boston that he knew enough to not look out to the bullpen, which was in action.But after allowing four runs — on two doubles...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Epilogue: Tampa’s Mother Teresa, Delia Sanchez, remembered as child welfare champion

Delia P. Sanchez collected things — purses, shoes, newspapers. She hid them away in a storage unit, out of sight from her tidy husband. She had her reasons. And not one of them was selfish. The extra accessories? Those were for the mothers of...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Woman dead after boyfriend shoots her once, returns and shoots again, deputies say

Woman dead after boyfriend shoots her once, returns and shoots again, deputies say

LARGO — A man faces a charge of murder after firing a shot at his girlfriend as she visited a travel trailer in Largo, fleeing the scene, then returning to the trailer and shooting her again a number of times, deputies said.Nathaniel J. Yates, 32, o...
Published: 08/18/18