Friday, April 20, 2018
News Roundup

Westchase couple amass more than 1,300 running, triathlon events

WESTCHASE — What started as a New Year's resolution and a way to stay in shape has turned into a passion for Frank and Diane Spicer.

And one incredible number: 1,375.

That's how many races the Westchase pair have completed since the two took up competitive running and triathlons at different points in their lives. Frank, a 63-year-old project manager for FIS, a financial company, has run in 500 running events; Diane, a 60-year-old administration assistant for the Wilson Co., a property development firm, has completed 750 road races and 125 triathlons.

The two compete in a variety of distances, though Frank has a special fondness for marathons, having run 89 of them, including at least one in every state. Diane prefers triathlons and 5-kilometer races.

Frank Spicer's running career had an inauspicious beginning. He says he ran in high school, but wasn't fast enough to earn a letter in the sport.

But 30 years later, in 1993, he made a New Year's resolution to run the famed Boston Marathon.

"I didn't even know how far a marathon was," he chuckled.

Two years after that, he ran and finished the 26.2-mile race, which he points out is one of the few New Year's resolutions he's actually completed.

Diane Spicer's first event came in 1990, when she participated in a March of Dimes walk in Clearwater. She realized that the group she was walking with was quite fast, and because of that, she pushed herself so that the next year she could walk and run it.

Soon after, Diane — a former collegiate gymnast — was invited by the same group from the March of Dimes event to run in a Gasparilla 5K race in Tampa, and said it just clicked.

"I got addicted to the races quickly," she said.

The couple, who met at a race in 1997, now plan vacations around races. The farthest they've traveled for an event was Hawaii, in 2003.

Evidence of the couple's passion surrounds their Westchase home, with medals, trophies and photos surrounding their walls. Frank Spicer's marathon finisher medals and his wife's half-marathon finisher medals are their most prized possessions.

The two admit that age has slowed their finishing times. But they say running isn't always about how fast you're going.

"As you get older you do slow down, but the fact that I'm still running at 63 is … great to me," Frank Spicer said.

With 1,375 races between them, both said they aren't shooting for a specific number. It's more about the enjoyment of it, they say.

"I've always done exercise, so to stop is not something I can do," Diane Spicer said.

Her husband, however, does have one target in mind.

"My goal is to run a hundred marathons, and have my 100th to be in Athens, Greece, on the original marathon course," he said.

Then what?

He says he'll likely keep running.

Comments
Clearwater Central Catholic tops Dunedin Spring Tournament host in extra innings

Clearwater Central Catholic tops Dunedin Spring Tournament host in extra innings

DUNEDIN — After losing a four-run lead thanks to a bad sixth inning, it would have been easy for Clearwater Central Catholic to fold against Dunedin in the final of the 49th annual Dunedin Spring Tournament. But quality relief pitching from Gar...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Span, Rays top Twins in 10 innings

Span, Rays top Twins in 10 innings

ST. PETERSBURG — Roughly four hours before taking the field against his former team Friday, Rays outfielder Denard Span spoke admirably about the Minnesota Twins, their organization in general, even hometown icon Joe Mauer.But business is busin...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

BRANDON — Ryan McDonagh blocks shots. He competes for pucks in the corners and wins those battles. He moves the puck up the ice well. He can join the rush. He can shoot from the blue line. He kills penalties."It was a great pickup by (Lightning...
Updated: 1 hour ago

High school scoreboard for April 20

Friday’s scoreboardSoftballSpringstead 15, Central 0
Updated: 1 hour ago
St. Pete says discharge never reached the bay. Its own report says otherwise.

St. Pete says discharge never reached the bay. Its own report says otherwise.

ST. PETERSBURG — The city said not one of the 266,000 gallons of reclaimed water released on Jan. 18 reached Tampa Bay.There was no mention of the waste released from the Northeast Water Reclamation Facility ever reaching the bay in the city’s notice...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Tampa Bay students voice opinions on gun laws during school walkouts

Tampa Bay students voice opinions on gun laws during school walkouts

Nicole Leary and Taylor Redington stood outside St. Petersburg High School on Friday morning with parents and protesters who had gathered with bullhorns and signs. In a few minutes they would lead about 70 students on a walk to City Hall, joining oth...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Deputies: Woman in road rage incident targeted ... a school bus?

Deputies: Woman in road rage incident targeted ... a school bus?

TAMPA — Deputies are searching for a woman accused of blocking a special needs school bus with her car, getting out and banging and kicking on the bus door until she broke the glass.And there were four children inside, deputies said, as she shouted a...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Sami Vatanen a big loss for Devils if he doesn’t play in Game 5

Sami Vatanen a big loss for Devils if he doesn’t play in Game 5

BRANDON – Devils top defenseman Sami Vatanen had not traveled to Tampa as of Friday afternoon, according to coach John Hynes, and his availability for Game 5 Saturday against the Lightning is in doubt.Hynes, however, did not rule out Vatan...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Plan to entice developers to help pay for Rays ballpark hits speed bump

Plan to entice developers to help pay for Rays ballpark hits speed bump

TAMPA — Private developers would bear much of the cost of a new Rays stadium in Ybor City under a plan Hillsborough County officials are putting together.Developers would benefit by cashing in on commercial, retail and other construction around a ne...
Updated: 4 hours ago
St. Pete police search for missing 20-year-old woman

St. Pete police search for missing 20-year-old woman

ST. PETERSBURG — Officers are searching for a 20-year-old woman who they believe to be missing and who could be in danger.Kayla Brandi Boone was last seen at about 11 p.m. Thursday in the 2700 block of Fourth Street S, according to St. Petersburg pol...
Updated: 4 hours ago